First Test (Protector of the Small Series #1)

First Test (Protector of the Small Series #1)

by Tamora Pierce
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Overview

First Test (Protector of the Small Series #1) by Tamora Pierce

Kel will not allow this first test to be her last. Her adventure begins in the New York Times bestselling series from the fantasy author who is a legend herself: TAMORA PIERCE.
 
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.

More timely than ever, the Protector of the Small series is Anti-Bullying 101 while also touching on issues of bravery, friendship, and dealing humanely with refugees against a backdrop of an action-packed fantasy adventure.

"Tamora Pierce's books shaped me not only as a young writer but also as a young woman. She is a pillar, an icon, and an inspiration. Cracking open one of her marvelous novels always feels like coming home."
SARAH J. MAAS, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Tamora Pierce didn't just blaze a trail. Her heroines cut a swath through the fantasy world with wit, strength, and savvy. Her stories still lead the vanguard today. Pierce is the real lioness, and we're all just running to keep pace."
LEIGH BARDUGO, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375829055
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 08/24/2004
Series: Protector of the Small Series , #1
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 51,102
Product dimensions: 5.56(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.52(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

TAMORA PIERCE is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over eighteen novels set in the fantasy realm of Tortall. She captured the imagination of readers with her debut novel, Alanna: The First Adventure. Since then, her bestselling and award-winning titles have pushed the boundaries of fantasy and young adult novels to introduce readers to a rich world populated by strong, believable heroines. She has been the guest of honor at numerous conventions, and her books have been translated into many languages and are available on audio. She is the winner of the Romantic Times Book Reviews Career Achievement Award, the Skylark Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction, and the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature." Pierce lives in Syracuse, New York, with her husband, Tim, and their cats, birds, and occasional rescued wildlife. Visit her at TamoraPierce.com and follow her on Twitter at @TamoraPierce.

Read an Excerpt

Decisions

Alanna the Lioness, the Kino Champion, could hardly contain her glee. Baron Piers of Mindeldan had written to King Jonathan to say that his daughter wished to be a page. Alanna fought to sit still as she watched Wyldon of Cavall, the royal training master, read the barons letter. Seated across his desk from them, the king watched the trainig master as sharply as his Champion did. Lord Wyldon was known for his dislike of female warriors.

It had been ten long years since the proclamation that girls might attempt a page’s training Alanna had nearly given up hope that such a girl- or the kind of family that would allow her to do so-,existed in Tortall, but at last she had come forward. Keladry of Mindelan would not have to hide her sex for eight years as Alanna had done. Keladry would prove to the world that girls could be knights. And she would not be friendless. Alanna had plans to help Keladry through the first few years. It never occurred to the Champion that anyone might object.

Alanna, half turned to see Wyldon better. Surely he'd read the letter at least twice! From this side the puffy scars from his battle to save the younger princes and princess were starkly visible; Wyldod’s right arm was in a sling yet from that fight. Alanna rubbed fingers that itched with the urge to apply healing magic. Wyldon had the idea that suffering pain made a warrior stronger. He would not thank her if she tried to heal him now.

Goddess bless, she thought tiredly. How will I ever get on with him if I'm to help this girl Keladry?

Wyldon was not flexible: he'd proved that to the entire court over and over. If he were any stiffer, Alanna thought wryly, I’d paint a design on him and use him for a shield. He's got no sense of humor and he rejects change just because it's change.

Still, she had to admit that his teaching worked. During the Immortals War of the spring and early summer, when legendary creatures had joined with the realm’s human enemies to take the kingdom, the squires and pages had been forced into battle. They had done well, thanks to their training by Wyldon and the teachers he had picked.

At last Lord Wyldon returned the letter to King Jonathan, who placed it on his desk. "The baron and the baroness of Mindelan are faithful servants of the crown,” the king remarked. “We would not have this treaty with the Yamani Islands were it not for them. You will have read that their daughter received some warrior training at the Yamani court, so it would appear that Keladry has an aptitude."

Lord Wyldon resettled his arm in its sling. "I did not agree to this, Your Majesty."

Alanna was about to say that he didn’t have to agree when she saw the king give the tiniest shake of the head. Clenching her jaws, she kept her remark to herself as King Jonathan raised his eyebrows.

"Your predecessor agreed," he reminded Wyldon. "And you, my lord, implied agreement when you accepted the post of training master."

"That is a lawyer's reply, sire,” Wyldon replied stiffly, a slight flush rising in his cean-shaven cheeks.

"Then here is a king's: we desire this girl to train as a page."

And that is that, Alanna thought, satisfied. She might be the kind of knight who would argue with her king, at least in private, but Wyldon would never let himself do so.

The training master absently rubbed the arm in its linen sling. At last he bowed in his chair. "May we compromise, sire?"

Alanna stiffened. She hated that word! "Com—-" she began to say.

The king silenced her with a look. "What do you want, my lord?"

"In all honesty," said the training master, thinking aloud, "I had thought that our noble parents loved their daughters too much to place them in so hard a life."

"Not everyone is afraid to do anything new," Alanna replied sharply.

"Lioness," said the king, his voice dangerously quiet. Alanna clenched her fists. What was going on? Was Jonathan inclined to give way to the man who'd saved his children?

Wyldon's eyes met hers squarely. "Your bias is known, Lady Alanna." To the king he said, "Surely the girl's parents cannot be aware of the difficulties she will encounter."

"Baron Piers and Lady Ilane are not fools” replied King Jonathan. "They have given us three good, worthy knights already,"

Lord Wyldon gave a reluctant nod. Anders, Inness, and Conal of Mindelan were credits to their training. The realm would feel the loss of Anders-whose war wounds could never heal entirely-from the active duty rolls. It would take years to replace those who were killed or maimed in the Immortals War.

"Sire, please, think this through,” Wyldon said. "We need the realm’s sons. Girls are fragile, more emotional, easier to frighten. They are not as strong in their arms and shoulders as men. They tire easily. This girl would get any warriors who serve with her killed on some dark night.

Alanna started to get up. This time King Jonathan walked out from behind his desk. Standing beside his Champion, he gripped one of her shoulders, keeping her in her chair.

".But I will be fair," Wyldon continued. His brown eyes were hard. “Let her be on probation for a year. By the end of the summer field camp, if she has not convinced me of her ability to keep up, she must go home."

"Who judges her fitness?" inquired the king.

Wyldon’s lips tightened. "Who but the training master, sire? I have the most experience in evaluating the young for their roles as future knights."

Alanna turned to stare at the king. "No boy has ever undergone a probationary period!" she cried.

Wyldon raised his good shoulder in a shrug. "Perhaps they should. For now, I will not tender my resignation over this, provided I judge whether this girl stays or goes in one year's time."

The king weighed the request. Alanna fidgeted. She knew Lord Wyldon meant his threat, and the crown needed him. Too many great nobles, dismayed by the changes in Tortall. since Jonathan’s coronation, felt that Wyldon was their voice at court. If he resigned, the king and queen would find it hard to get support for their future changes.

At last King Jonathan said, "Though we do not always agree, my lord, you know I respect you because you are fair and honorable. I would hate to see that fairness, that honor, tainted in any way. Keladry of Mindelan shall have a year's probation."

Table of Contents

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First Test (Protector of the Small Series #1) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 256 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. It had action, adventure, fantasy, and even a touch of romance in the series. I was impressed by these books and loved every second reading it. From the start, kel is shown as a strong, independant girl. You fall in love with her bravery and determination as she's tested by the crown and by her peers. You watch her grow throughout the story and the series. She makes friends in odd places and enemies along the way, but its worth the read to follow kel down the dark and dangerous road of adventure. She is truely a Protector of the Small
STORE NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
i recomend this whole series and anything else written by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tamora Pierce weaves stories about girls and women in Tortall and the lands near Tortall so beautifully, so fully. The stories and the characters envelop you until you understand them in their entirety. The plot is interesting and the characters really give the girls and women and the people in general of today and tomorrow something to look to, something to aim for. The character range is broad enough to match pretty much everyone. I really reccomend Tamora Pierce's books and series' based in Tortall.
LadyHester More than 1 year ago
Keladry wants to be a knight! Not an easy goal in a man's world. Book one is year one as a page. She must deal with terrible prejudice and violence from almost every side and every moment. She is exceptionally determined to succeed. Very cool and inspirational!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing series filled with strong likable characters. Ive read it several times now, first at 16 and now at 21. I still love. I highly recommend reading this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For anyone who has been dying for more lady knight action, this is your book. With characters, we know and love, and more new ones, i highly recommend this to any of Pierce's fans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a great read and perfect for any young adult. I re-read Tamora Pierce's works all the time. She is an amazing author. My favorite series by far is The Song of the Lioness, but the Protector of the Small comes in second!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A quick read to capture your heart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one of my favorites !!!!!!! First Test is about a girl called kell,a girl who wants to be a knight .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I kel the charter and the story of all of her charter kel is my favs
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tamora Pierce is a favorite. I wish her series would come in digital sets though instead of one book at a time.
TheLiteraryPhoenix More than 1 year ago
Keladry, I have been missing you all my life. First Test is about Kel of Mindelan, the first girl to apply for pageship since Alanna the Lioness became the first lady knight. Kel is allowed to enter the program on a one year probation to prove herself – not as an individual, but to prove that girls can do whatever boys do. She trains hard, works hard, and suffers hazing just like the boys – but she is not without her allies. I cannot believe I waited twenty years to read this book. Yes, twenty. My first Tamora Pierce book was Wild Magic when I was eight, and I’ve read all Pierce’s other Tortall books. I have Tempests and Slaughter pre-ordered. I’ve read quite a few of her Emelan books as well (and I own all of them). I’ve been actively avoiding The Protector of the Small for years, figuring Alanna, Aly, and Daine were good enough… and I have fooled myself. First Test far surpasses both Alanna and Wild Magic. The prejudice Kel faces as a girl in a boy’s club is so much different than Alanna’s experience. Kids can be cruel. But it’s not just the kids – many of her own teachers don’t believe a girl belongs in knighthood training, and are sure the Lioness cheated with her magical abilities. Watching Kel react to this and her inner monologue as well as her incredible discipline, is wonderful. Additionally, Pierce has added a whole new layer of culture to Tortall. Kel was raised among the Yamani as an ambassador’s daughter. These islanders believe in a culture of deep respect and obedience, reminiscent of ancient Japanese culture. It’s an interesting mix with the brutish medieval culture at the palace, but it’s also refreshing. And also proof that Pierce is a master worldbuilder. I love, love, loved this book. Kel’s a deeper character than the other girls – driven by a sense of virtue rather than her passions – but we still get all the delights of the palace. There are cameos by Daine, Numair, Alanna, and King Jonathan as well as others. The side characters are fantastic (I love Neal). There’s nothing to dislike about this book and my new goal in life is to get my friends’ daughter to read it. Keladry is an amazing role model for young girls. Except for the picking fights bit? But she does it for all the right reasons.
TheLiteraryPhoenix More than 1 year ago
Keladry, I have been missing you all my life. First Test is about Kel of Mindelan, the first girl to apply for pageship since Alanna the Lioness became the first lady knight. Kel is allowed to enter the program on a one year probation to prove herself – not as an individual, but to prove that girls can do whatever boys do. She trains hard, works hard, and suffers hazing just like the boys – but she is not without her allies. I cannot believe I waited twenty years to read this book. Yes, twenty. My first Tamora Pierce book was Wild Magic when I was eight, and I’ve read all Pierce’s other Tortall books. I have Tempests and Slaughter pre-ordered. I’ve read quite a few of her Emelan books as well (and I own all of them). I’ve been actively avoiding The Protector of the Small for years, figuring Alanna, Aly, and Daine were good enough… and I have fooled myself. First Test far surpasses both Alanna and Wild Magic. The prejudice Kel faces as a girl in a boy’s club is so much different than Alanna’s experience. Kids can be cruel. But it’s not just the kids – many of her own teachers don’t believe a girl belongs in knighthood training, and are sure the Lioness cheated with her magical abilities. Watching Kel react to this and her inner monologue as well as her incredible discipline, is wonderful. Additionally, Pierce has added a whole new layer of culture to Tortall. Kel was raised among the Yamani as an ambassador’s daughter. These islanders believe in a culture of deep respect and obedience, reminiscent of ancient Japanese culture. It’s an interesting mix with the brutish medieval culture at the palace, but it’s also refreshing. And also proof that Pierce is a master worldbuilder. I love, love, loved this book. Kel’s a deeper character than the other girls – driven by a sense of virtue rather than her passions – but we still get all the delights of the palace. There are cameos by Daine, Numair, Alanna, and King Jonathan as well as others. The side characters are fantastic (I love Neal). There’s nothing to dislike about this book and my new goal in life is to get my friends’ daughter to read it. Keladry is an amazing role model for young girls. Except for the picking fights bit? But she does it for all the right reasons.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book just as intriguing, if not more so, than the Son of the Lioness quartet. Her writing style leaves little to be desired. I read this before the Immortal series, so some references were lost on me, but I still highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Set Mina on a blanket.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best books I've EVER read, and I've read alot of books. Kel wants to be a knight. She has to start as a page. Kel is tortured (literally) by some boys. Yet she does NOT quit. I think Kel is the sort of girl I'd like to be (but I'm not). This is a good book for you if you are intrested in midevil times.
Alaskan_Jenny More than 1 year ago
Awsome highly reccommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago