First Test: Protector of the Small Quartet by Tamora Pierce
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Keladry of Mindelan is the first girl who dares to take advantage of a new rule in Tortall—one that allows females to train for knighthood. After years in the Yamani Islands, she knows that women can be warriors, and now that she’s returned home, Kel is determined to achieve her goal. She believes she is ready for the traditional hazing and grueling schedule of a page. But standing in Kel’s way is Lord Wyldon. The training master is dead set against girls becoming knights. He says she must pass a one-year trial that no male page has ever had to endure. It’s just one more way to separate Kel from her fellow trainees. But she is not to be underestimated. She will fight to succeed, even when the test is unfair.
If you have read my other book posts you will know that Tamora Pierce is a particularly special author to me. Her books were what sparked my interest in reading and simultaneously made me want to be a writer. Her unique writing style and amazing ability to spin a tale never fail to inspire me.
Protector of the Small Quartet is the third of three series’ set in the medieval and magical realm of Tortall. Although the third installment, this series can be read entirely on its own. With a mixture of knights and magic this tale is filled with intrigue and adventure while also impressing on the reader important life lessons about bullying and fighting for one’s dreams.
The story follows main character Kel as she attempts to become the second lady knight in the past hundred years of Tortall’s history. Kel must fight against the other page’s and even the instructor’s prejudices as well as nasty bullying to prove that she has what it takes to become a knight. This story provides a strong example of female empowerment to any reader, young or old. When the world is fighting to push her down, Kel refuses to lie down and give up and instead fights back with all that she has. Kel is a main character that any reader can love and admire.
A fast paced adventure, this book draws you in from the very first page. While the plot could keep your attention in and of itself, the characters and their relationships will keep you emotionally invested till the very end. Tamora Pierce’s unique storytelling abilities shine through in this tale of bravery and friendship.
I highly recommend this book, as well as all of Tamora Pierce’s books, to anyone and everyone. First Test is an amazing story and a perfect book to get lost in this summer. The best part, when you finish reading First Test you get to look forward to three more books following Keladry as she grows up to become the knight we readers always knew she would be.