The Protector of the Small Quartet by Tamora Pierce

First Test

Can you believe we haven’t written about Tamora Pierce yet? Neither can we! We’ve been talking about celebrating fictional girlfriends since we celebrated Fiction Boyfriends Month.First Test

NOW IS THE TIME! We’ll be spotlighting our favorite fiction girlfriends all through May–and you can too!

When I think of fictional girlfriends, I think of the many wonderful characters written by fantasy guru Tamora Pierce. While some people automagically think of Alanna (Song of the Lionness Quartet), my girl is Keladry of Mindelan from the Protector of the Small Quartet.

Kel’s story picks up several years after Alanna disguised herself as a boy to become the first female knight the kingdom of Tortall has seen for centuries. Alanna used her brains, strength and magical abilities to overcome enemies great and small and now serves as King Jonathan’s Champion.

And now here’s Kel! She’s a tall, no-nonsense girl with dreams of following her brothers’ path into knighthood and service to the King. She is accepted as the first female page since Alanna was knighted. She doesn’t have magical powers. She does possess a great ability to stay calm and impassive–which earns her the unflattering nickname of “the lump” on her very first day.

Kel could exist quietly under the radar as a page, but she takes the Code of Chivalry seriously. Why shouldn’t she stand up to bullies as a page, when she will be expected to as a knight? So, that’s what she does, even when it results in nightly brawls and punishments.

Lady_KnightKel also takes a wide range of animal and human friends under her wings throughout the books: a horse destined for the “pasture”, a mutt, a griffin, and an abused orphan. As she rises through the ranks from page to squire to knight, she learns that the gods have marked her for a mission to save the people of her country from an unimaginable horror. For practical Kel, putting her faith into mythical prophecies is difficult indeed.

But she’s not all work and no play. Her first boyfriend turned out to be a dud (we can relate, am I right?). Over the years, she grows close with hunky Sergeant Domitan. Who can blame her?  When they first met, Dom gives her a warm turnover to eat for breakfast. HE GIVES HER FOOD. And accepts her as part of King’s Own without blinking one of his very blue eyes.

One of the sledge guards, a tall, broad-shouldered young man, dismounted from his horse. Bright blue eyes blazed and a broad grin flashed in a face splattered with mud…Kel almost ran to the newcomer as well, remembering just in time that a commander couldn’t throw herself at an old friend….Kel reached out her hand; they clasped forearms, Dom squeezing hers tightly before he let go.

                                                                                           -Lady Knight, Book 4

I love Kel. I adore her. I would be her squire in a heartbeat, if only she would have me. She is a great leader, quick, decisive and fair. She’s funny. She’s loyal. She cares about those around her, whether human or animal. I considered writing a leadership treatise based on her story alone.

She also wouldn’t take forever to get ready for the ball. MY KIND OF FICTIONAL GIRLFRIEND.

If you like YA fantasy with magic, adventure and a spark of romance, you’ll love this series. In fact, you’ll love the entire shelf of books available about the lands of Tortall.

If you’ve read any Tamora Pierce books, which are your favorites? Or, who would you like to suggest as a fictional girlfriend? 

Comment below to enter our monthly giveaway for a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Receive one entry for each blog post you comment on during the month. Entries will be accepted until midnight CST on the last day of each month. Winners will be notified by email.

Interested in reading First Test, book 1 in the Protector of the Small Quartet? Add it to your Goodreads, find it at your local library or one of the retailers below.

In print: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powell’s

E-book: Kindle | Nook

3 Responses

  1. One more thing! You can totally read Kel’s quartet without reading the other Tortall books. Enough is summarized to catch you up. However, if you are a series purist, you will want to start with Alanna’s Quartet. Either way, you can’t lose! Enjoy!

  2. Yay! You reviewed my favorite Pierce series! I love Protector of the Small Quartet and Lady Kel even more than her patroness, Lady Alanna. I totally agree that you can read Kel’s story without having to start with The Song of the Lioness books. My boys love Kel and her coterie of animals, particularly the sparrows :). Thanks for reminding us of how wonderful these books are. I highly recommend them too.

    1. Yay Pamala! Reading these books, or listening to the audiobooks, is like visiting old friends! I like that you mention that these are great reads for boys or girls. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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