Sunday, January 16, 2011

Protector of the Small: Tamora Pierce

The heroine of this set of four novels, Keladry of Mindelan is my new favorite.

I should have started reading Pierce's books with the Lioness Quartet (because that seems to be her reader's favorite), but I was looking for something to listen to on the way home in the cold snowy slippery winter traffic. Something to take me far far away. These are perfect for that.

The books are First Test, Page, Squire and Lady Knight. They follow Keladry through eight years of hard physical and scholarly training towards becoming a knight of the realm. Though she has no personal magic, she establishes valuable relationships with sparrows, a beat up but loyal little dog, and a warhorse who has been mistreated by others.

As the first girl admitted to knight training, she faces many challenges and the hatred of some who do not think a girl should become a knight. She practices harder than everyone else, and refuses to give up.

Despite her own travails, she steps in and works to stop bullying and hazing of younger pages. She gains loyal friends and over time proves herself to be a strong leader, gaining the grudging respect of most of her former enemies.

Kel moves forward by hard work, determination and a deep commitment to seeing that the right thing is done.

The books are full of humor and drama and by the end of the series, heartrending sadness.

So many kids have come to me after reading these over the years wanting more books like this. I finally have a good idea of what this is. For me, a young person who fights heroically against nearly impossible odds is a start.

I might recommend:

The Blue Sword and the Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

Incarceron and Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Visit Tamora Pierce's website, buy and read all of her books and be a better, happier person for it :)

She will be in the Twin Cities in June, 2011.

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