Third in the Protector of the Small series within the overall Tortall series. It revolves around Keladry of Mindelan, the second girl in the kingdom who wants to become a knight.
Parents, you really do want your girls to read this whole series. It promotes equality for girls and boys and shows the pluses and minuses of one’s reception when pursuing a dream. There are good and bad people in this series, just as there is in real life and Pierce provides plenty of examples of some good ways to meet the challenge.
The empathy and friendship between Kel and her animals, her friends is just lovely.
I do love Kel’s twirling her glaive to demonstrate her abilities to Raoul and Flyn—Flyn is a bit gobsmacked by its weight, especially after seeing Kel manipulate it so easily.
There’s a very nice treatment of alcoholism in this. Very subtle, but it comes through.
Kel’s romance with Cleon becomes a bit fraught. It’ll be interesting to see how it develops in Lady Knight.
The most critical point, at least from Alanna’s point of view, is that little girls throughout the kingdom are asking questions about becoming pages themselves. Kel is showing them that girls can do this. And we have the opportunity to see some of Kel’s future command skills appear.
It’s a busy four years for Kel. The knight who has taken her under his wing is in demand all over the kingdom fighting battles, brokering treaties and trade agreements, rescuing and rebuilding villages destroyed by nature or man. And Kel is soaking it up, learning for all she’s worth, fighting in tourneys as the more conservative knights try to prove her lack of worth. And through it all, Raoul of Goldenlake supports Kel with advice, training, and simple approval. It’s her actions that prove her worth.
A worth that simply becomes more obvious when some of the bullies of her page years don’t survive the Chamber. When her skill proves her merit. The knights of the King’s Own slowly come to approve of The Girl and what she learns in the Chamber on her night of nights will confirm that worth.
Keladry “Kel” of Mindelan is growing in leaps and bounds and has advanced to being a squire. Now if someone will just choose The Girl…! Jump and the sparrows also become a part of Kel’s new unit along with Peachblossom and she gets a second horse, Hoshi.
Her old friends include Nealan “Neal” of Queenscove who’s horrified to learn who wants him as a squire. Other friends include Seaver, Cleon of Kennan of the poetic address is her brother Innes’ squire and the truth about his attraction to Kel is finally out in the open, Merric of Hollyrose, Faleron of Kin’s Reach, Esmond of Nicoline, Prince Roald, Owen of Jesslaw, Iden of Vikison Lake, and Warric of Mandash.
Raoul of Goldenlake and Malorie’s Peak, knight and Knight Commander of the King’s Own Guard likes how Kel handles herself and he appreciates her knowledge of the language and customs of the Yamani Court. He’s very anti-formal occasions—for a very particular reason—and quite easygoing with his men. It’s that anti- bit that grates King Jonathan. Good thing there are so many jokers and pranksters in the Own. Captain Flyndon Whiteford is in charge of Third Command in the King’s Own and second-in-command to Raoul. Buriram Tourakom is the commander of the Queen’s Riders.
Qasim ibn Zirhud is a corporal in Volorin‘s squad. Domitan of Masbolle is one of Neal’s cousins and is an instant friend. Sergeant Osbern is another friend.
Some of the men who are very anti-The Girl including Lerant of Eldorne and Captain Glaisdan of Haryse, the Commander of First Company.
Old enemies include Joren of Stone Mountain and his cronies Vinson of Genlith, Zahir ibn Alhaz who seems to be moving past this childishness, Garvey of Runnerspring has been taken on by Sir Jerel, and Quinden. One of whom goes on trial for soliciting Lalasa’s kidnapping. Several of whom don’t survive the Chamber. It may not have been instant, but Karma certainly got ‘em.
Baron Piers and Ilane are her parents. Adalia and Oranie are her older sisters. Innes is her second oldest brother and he takes Cleon on as his squire. Alanna the Lioness finally appears at Court and attends the Grand Progress with her husband George Cooper, Baron of Pirate’s Swoop. Lord Wyldon is the training master in charge of the school and discovers faults within himself. Lalasa opens her sewing shop and is in high demand. Master Oakbridge comes along on the grand progress in his position as the master of ceremonies. Numair Salmalín has a cameo mention. Duke Turomot of Wellam was the judge for Kel’s page testing and he is the presiding judge for the kidnapping trial. His sense of honor causes him to offer his services to Lord Raoul on the night. Sir Myles is still the spymaster.
Daine the Wildmage is quite useful when Kel rescues a baby griffin. Queen Thayet and King Jonathan give Kel a peek at the checks and balances required in running a kingdom. Thayet is particularly interested in the Yamani fighting skills as practiced by the women!
In Kel’s four years of squire training, she meets a wide variety of people and Immortals: Chief Graystreak is the nasty centaur who tried to weasel while his brother Maresgift and the rest and several human cronies Macorn and Gavan are Kel’s first experience with execution. Fortunately, the centaurs who came to help track them down were much nicer with better sense! You’ll love how Peachblossom and Raoul’s horse Drum helps out on this first mission!
The Yamani Entourage:
Her Imperial Highness Princess Shinkokami “Shinko” is Prince Roald’s new betrothed—and Kel’s childhood friend Cricket—while her attendants include Lady Yukimi noh Daiomoru “Yuki”, and Lady Haname. Prince and Princess Eitaro are nominally in charge. Kel is worried when Prince Roald and Princess Shinko don’t appear to have anything to say to each other until she comes up with a brilliant plan.
The cover is shades of green and focuses on Kel’s chest where she appears to have scraps from a galvanized bucket wrapped around her torso and acting as straps over her shoulders. I do like the choice of fonts for the author’s name and the title, providing a cleanly Gothic touch.
The title is the chronology as it covers Kel’s years of being a Squire.