2013 Reads: Forty-Five {First Test - Tamora Pierce}

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I tend to go on a Tamora Pierce binge: once I've put my hands on one of her novels I have to keep reading them. I'm not seeing this as a problem, though. More of just a simple, observable fact. 

Because, First Test? I can tell I am going to love Kel and this series as a whole. This could be Pierce's best series yet. 


No girl had taken up the king's decree that girls had the same right to train to become a knight as boys. The decree was passed after Alana, The Lioness, became Tortall's first ever Lady Knight after years of pretending to be a boy. 

But after ten years after the decree this is about to change. Keladry of Mindelan is the first girl to follow in the Lioness' footsteps. Or, at least, she is the first girl to try, as everything and everyone seems to be aligned against her. Including a probationary year at the brginning of her training; something which a boy has never had to face in their training.

But Kel is going to do everything in her power to show Tortall exactly what girls are capable of. Together with her band of friends - knight, animal, and mysterious benefactor - Kel sets out to help pave the way for female knights. 


I thought I loved Alana most as a leading female, and then Daine came along. And then I thought I loved Daine most as a leading female, and now there's Kel. It's going to be hard to oust Kel from that spot though. One of my friends has repeatedly told me that Kel was her all-time-favorite of Pierce's characters, and I can completely see why.

As a whole, this story was a good one. It wasn't great, but it has laid a remarkable foundation for the rest of the series to stand upon. At first glance it seems like a very blatant rewrite of Pierce's first quartet about Alana. But then, it's not. And Pierce does this in such a brilliant way. Because Alana had everything going for her - her magic, the Goddess, and more. And she doesn't struggle through her training because of her sex - to her peers she's just one of the guys. The Protector of the Small is nothing like the Lioness Quartet.

Because we have Kel. And Kel is a brilliant and stubborn character who I totally get her in ways that a lot of Pierces' other characters have escaped me. Kel is vulnerable because she is female and because everyone knows that she's female. The old ways of Tortall are against her - men are knights, and that is that. Where the guys have to prove themselves once, Kel has to prove herself ten times (or more). She is bullied and hazed and many are trying to force her to leave. However, Kel quickly proves that she is as good, if not better, than the boys.

I cannot wait to continue on with this series. I'm excited to watch Kel grow up and to see what becomes of Neal and the rest of her friends. I can tell this is going to be a great series, and I'm excited for that. 


Title: First Test (Protector of the Small #1)
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Young Adult
Medium: Paperback, 240pp
Publisher: Random House (7 June 1999)
Date Read: 16 December 2013
Source: Borrowed From The Library
Recommended For: Middle School +, Fantasy Lovers, 
Challenges: Goodreads, 

First Line: Alana, The Lioness, the King's Champion, could hardly contain her glee. 
Favorite Line: "Romance? Isn't that love stuff?" she asked finally. "It's more than just love. It's color, and fire. You don't want things magnificent and filled with grandeur," he said, trying to make her understand. "You know, drama. Importance. Transcendent Passion."  
Last Line: On it was written, "Goddess bless, lady page." [whited out, for spoiler's sake]

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