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Mary Sue Preissner (Children's Literature)
When Keladry of Mindalen, daughter of a noble family, enters the king's service as a page she hopes that some day she will become a knight. This seems a reasonable goal as the king's champion is another female known as Alanna the Lioness. Kel discovers that while the work and training is grueling, her biggest obstacle is that of overcoming stereotypical attitudes exhibited by the young men and instructors who go out of their way to set her up for failure and expulsion from the program. Her determination, foresight, and ability to take a stand prove to be her most valuable assets, along with a few gifts from an anonymous benefactor. "Protector of the Small" series. 1999, Random House, $16.00. Ages 9 to 14.
Christopher Moning (Children's Literature)
Ogres and strange creatures threaten the Kingdom of Tortall. It has been decided that girls should be allowed to become knights. Ten-year-old Keladry wishes to pursue the arduous training toward knighthood. But the training master, Lord Wyldon, insists that Kel endure a one-year probationary period. What follows is a sort of medieval boot camp, replete with rugged training, ruthless instructors, and hazing pages. Kel is determined to survive her probation. She finds a friend in Neal, a fellow knight in training. When Kel and her classmates are confronted with real-life attackers, Kel proves her worth to Lord Wyldon--and to the Kingdom of Tortall. This is the first episode in the "Protector of the Small" fantasy series. 1999, Random House, $16.00. Ages 10 to 14.
Janice M. Del Negro (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July/August 1999 (Vol. 52, No. 11))
Ten-year-old Keladry of Mindelan wants to be a page (in preparation for becoming a knight) and, according to a ten-year-old yet-to-be-tested royal proclamation, she has that right. Despite the doubts of the royal training master and his public dislike of female warriors, Keladry is given one year’s probation to prove herself. She endures hazing by the older boys, unfair treatment by teachers and trainers, homesickness, and doubt but in the process makes friends and proves her worth to her male counterparts. While this opening title for a new series stands firmly on its own, those readers familiar with the Song of the Lioness Quartet (Lioness Rampant, BCCB 2/89, etc.) will recognize some recurring characters. Pierce spins a whopping good yarn, her plot balanced on a solid base of action and characterization. Keladry is a promising continuing character--a girl and proud of it, she has no desire to disguise herself as a boy or to pretend to be one; she believes in and acts on the ideals of chivalry all knights are supposed to hold sacred, and, although she has a strong sense of justice that is ultimately educational to those around her, she manages not to be a pompous prig. Readers with a soft spot for heroines the like of Menolly from McCaffrey’s Dragonsong trilogy will warm to Keladry and, while waiting for the sequels, may be inspired to seek out other of Pierce’s notable heroines. (Reviewed from galleys) Review Code: R -- Recommended. (c) Copyright 1999, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1999, Random House, 224p, $16.00 and $17.99. Grades 5-8.
Marsha Harper (The Lorgnette - Heart of Texas Reviews (Vol. 12, No. 3))
Tamora Pierce has proved herself a prolific and skillful author of fantasy novels for young adults. Having already written three "quartets" of novels set in her imaginary kingdom of Tortall, Pierce now launches another series, "Protector of the Small" with FIRST TEST. Known for her strong heroines, Pierce here tells of Keladry of Mindelan, a young feminist who becomes the first woman (woman-child) to enter training to be a knight. All the predictable obstacles are set in her way: prejudiced instructors, persecutors among the other students, a punishing schedule, a location far from home with no other kinsman or countryman near. Still, Keladry perseveres. She makes a friend of Nealan, one of the older boys, and gradually earns the respect--even liking--of the others for her open defense of honor and morality, including protection of weaker creatures. She finds help and sympathy from her maid and some of the teachers. She even befriends a flock of birds who fly to her rescue at a time of danger. The milieu is reminiscent of medieval Europe; even some of the characters seem familiar. The heroine, however, is unique. Young women will be thrilled by Kel's success in a very strenuous calling in which she remains true to her principles. (Protector of the Small) Fiction. Grades 6 and up. 1999, Random House, 216p, $16.00. Ages 11 up.
Betsy Fraser (VOYA, June 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 2))
Ten years after the proclamation that girls could train to be knights, there is finally a willing candidate. Keladry of Mendelan is determined to follow the example of her brothers and become a knight. Kel is told that she must undergo a probationary year to be allowed to fulfill her dream. The training master, Lord Wyldon, well known for his dislike of female warriors, has decided to do whatever is necessary to change her mind. Kel is a very different type of heroine for this author. Unlike Alanna, whom readers met in the Song of the Lioness Quartet (Random, 1989-1997), Kel is not masquerading as a boy, and she has no magic, wild or otherwise, as Daine employed in the Immortals Quartet (Random, 1997-1998). She is an attractive, well-rounded character in her own right. The world of Tortall has evolved in Pierce's books, and Kel is much closer to most of the general population--she lives without any magical abilities in a country full of hideous and dangerous immortals. Kel survives on strength of character, determination, and hard work. Familiar faces from the earlier series do appear but are tangential to Kel and her trials in this initial book in the Protector of the Small series. Pierce's familiarity with her setting means that she can concentrate on plot and character, without spending a great deal of time explaining the background to the story. Unlike Circle of Magic: Sandry's Story (Scholastic, 1997/VOYA December 1997), there is a much more fluent storytelling. Pierce's fans will relish a new series, and first-time readers are in store for a treat. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 1999, Random, 216p, $16. Ages 11 to 15.
|Language||Call Number||LCCN||Dewey Decimal||ISBN/ISSN|
|English (eng)||PZ7.P61464 Fi 1999
0679989145 (lib. bdg.)