This book came from the library, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Lioness Rampant, Wild Magic, Trickster's Choice, Trickster's Queen, Wolf-Speaker, Emperor Mage, Realms of the Gods, First Test, Squire, Lady Knight, Terrier, Bloodhound, Mastiff, Daja's Book, Sandry's Book, Tris's Book, Briar's Book, Magic Steps, Street Magic, Cold Fire, Shatterglass, The Will of the Empress, Melting Stones.
Second in the Protector of the Small fantasy series for children revolving around Kel of Mindelan, only the second girl to want to become a knight of Tortall. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Tortall books on my website.
We get all the rest of the years Kel spends as a page in this one story. She matures and has all the complications which that entails including coping with falling in love with Neal and some of her school friends starting to see her in a more romantic vein.
Kel continues to set the moral tone with support from her friends. Well, those who haven’t graduated into squires and gone off with their teaching knights.
Kel certainly fulfills the series’ promise as it begins with Kel rescuing a dog from one of the kitchen apprentices about to lay into him with a meat cleaver when he steals a string of sausages. Nor does it seem that Joren and crew have stopped their harassment of the younger ones. Although Vinson seems too interested in Lalasa. Interested enough that Kel insists her maid learn how to protect herself. Her study group continues and the younger ones are starting to come to Kel for weapons training.
The hazing has spread to Kel and her friends, particularly at the banquets when the pages are serving. It’s enough to result in punishment details and a compromise. The summer camping trips result in Kel’s taking command during a surprise attack—it sure frosts Wyldon that Kel is so competent! Although he does takes advantage of Kel’s fear of heights as he intensifies her training. And Kel continues to lead and win. In spite of the nasty tricks, the kidnappings…
The odd bit, Joren starts sucking up to Kel…and Kel’s mysterious benefactor continues to send the most amazing gifts.
Keladry “Kel” of Mindelan is our heroine and she has survived her first year as a probationer in spite of Lord Wyldon’ s restrictions. Nealan “Neal” of Queenscove was one of her first friends at the school. Other friends include Seaver, Cleon of Kennan of the poetic address, Merric of Hollyrose, Faleron of Kin’s Reach, Esmond of Nicoline, Prince Roald, Owen of Jesslaw, Iden of Vikison Lake, and Warric of Mandash.
Baron Piers and Ilane are her parents. Adalia and Oranie are her older sisters. Innes is her second oldest brother and he takes Cleon on as his squire.
Joren of Stone Mountain is a fellow student; he and his cronies hate Kel, partially because she refuses to accept their particular brand of hazing. The cronies include Vinson of Genlith, Zahir ibn Alhaz who seems to be moving past this childishness, Garvey of Runnerspring, and Quinden.
Salma Aynnar is in charge of the pages’ wing. Lord Wyldon is the training master in charge of the school and tried very hard last year to prevent Kel from being admitted as a student. Gower is the servant in charge of cleaning her rooms and fetching her water; Lalasa is his niece and he requests Kel hire her for her personal servant to keep her safe from the other servants and pushy nobles. Hakuin Seastone and Eda Bell are combat instructors. Now that she’s old enough, she’s serving in the banquet room — Master Oakbridge is the master of ceremonies. Sir Myles is their history and law instructor. Lindhall Reed. Numair Salmalín. Stefan Groomsman continues to manage the stables.
Daine has a cameo appearance. Queen Thayet and King Jonathan give Kel a bit of help. Uline of Hannalof is one of Kel’s admirers and Neal’s first crush.
The Cover and Title
The cover is primarily mellow oranges and grays as a casually clad Kel aims a spear from atop a cliff, her sparrows swirling around her and Jump between her legs on guard.
The title is short and succinct as it covers Kel’s years as a Page.