2013 Reads: Forty-Eight (Page - Tamora Pierce}

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I still think that Kel might just be my favorite of Tamora Pierce's characters, ever.

While not my favorite book she's written, I completely enjoyed this one of this series.


Keladry of Mindelan, the first girl to apply to train as a knight since Alana the Lioness, is finally a Page. She's finally on equal footing as the rest of her class - equal to the boys in all things. However, she still has three years before she can become a squire and train at the side of an established knight.

Those three years? They're not going to be easy for Kel: A lot of the other pages still want her to fail and go home. In this second installment of The Protector of the Small, Kel continue to stands up to bullies, mean older sisters, and her training master.


One thing I really appreciate about Tamora Pierce as an author is her commitment to her story. She brings together such a fun and interesting story, but tells it in such a simple way that there is a certain honesty that comes from her prose. You never have to stop and think about what's going on in the story, instead you become completely wrapped up and absorbed by the tale. It's the mark of a wonderful author, in my opinion, and especially for an author focused on a younger audience.

I still think Kel is a brilliant character.  Yes, this falls into the framework of your standard hero tale - Kel has to battle the odds to achieve her goal of becoming a knight of Tortall. She has to continually prove herself above and beyond any of her classmates simply because of her sex. And she does it gracefully and with an effort to show anyone who may question her that she is deserving of her rank. She is kind and compassionate and one of the most selfless heroines I've read in a long time. Kel is an admirable hero to any young reader. Or any not-so-young reader.

Lasalla is a wonderful addition to Kel's life; such a means to highlight Kel's goodness and her devotion to those around her. Lasalla had a difficult past and is tentative and shy around everyone in the castle - even Kel at the beginning of the book. It was lovely to watch her open up to Kel and to see their friendship bloom over the course of the story. Similarly, you can't help but love the addition of Jump, the mangy, ugly dog, and the birds who become a part of Kel's life. And her friends who we get to spend more time with from the last book. Particularly Neal, who is still hilarious and all sorts of wonderful.

Joran still gives me the creeps - especially since he seems to be acting all proper and reformed. As an adult this was a total neon sign pointing at him saying "this guy is totally going to be trouble later on!" I'm not sure if I had read this at the targeted age if I would have picked up on it - I think I would have, but who knows. But he was also such a jerk in the previous novel that you go into this book completely inclined to hate him not matter what - even if he truly had reformed his opinion on Kel's presence.

The major drawback of the novel for me was pacing. This book covers the entire four years of Kel's training as a page - a section for each year of her time at court. I understand that it has to be this way to move the story on (as the next book covers her time as a squire and the last book is about her time as a knight). The other option was a book for each year - and while I love Kel, that would not have been the most exciting or interesting series of books. While I understand and appreciate why it moved at the pace it did, I couldn't help but want it to slow down.

Despite that, it's an excellent addition to an amazing series. The Protector of the Small is still, in my opinion, the best series I've read from Tamora Pierce so far. She is not afraid to confront difficult topics in her books, but she approaches them with a tender hand. In Page we see abuse, bullying, death, and discrimination - but they're all discussed in a way that a younger reader can process and learn something from them instead of being slapped in the face by them. It takes a talented writer to handle tough issues in such a positive way.

If you haven't read this series, you really ought to get your hands on these books. 


Title: Page (Protector of the Small #2)
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy
Medium: Hard Cover, 272pp
Publisher: Random House Books For Young Readers (23 May 2000)
Date Read: 23 December 2013
Source: Borrowed From The Library
Recommended For: Middle School +, Fantasy Lovers, Those Who Love Strong Female Protagonists
Challenges: Goodreads,

First Line: Fall that year was warm. 
Favorite Line: If arrogance were shoes, he'd never go barefoot.
Last Line: Her mysterious benefactor had written, "Gods all bless, Lady Squire." [whited out, for spoiler's sake]

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