Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 6-9-In this third installation in the series, Pierce at last relieves fans' concerns about who will take on young Keladry as a squire. After hanging tough with the page program, she is at last ready to take the next steps down the road to knighthood, accompanied by her friends and her faithful mutt. To her sorrow, she is not selected by the Lady Alanna, who taps Neal for her squire. Kel is chosen by Lord Raoul, commander of the King's Own, and she quickly discovers that she has landed the better situation. She soon finds herself fighting centaurs, cleaning up after floods, and caring for a baby griffin. Kel's nemesis, Joren, fails quite badly in the Chamber of the Ordeal, which will leave readers nervous about her own designated time there. What she faces in the Chamber nicely sets up the next book in this series. Pierce continues to create a broad range of fully realized characters, even if Raoul is a little too good to be true. Her plotting is sometimes a little rushed and Tortall often seems more like background scenery than a real place. However, the author has created a strong female protagonist who accomplishes her goals with her integrity, sense of humor, and her self-esteem intact. She faces decisions about sex, her relationships, and the effects both will have on her personal life and her future career as a knight and commander. Kel's fans will delight in seeing the parallels to their own lives, and Alanna and Daine's fans will enjoy seeing their favorites, if only in cameo roles.-Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 6-9. In Pierce's third book about Keladry, the 14-year-old knight-in-training has made it to the rank of squire. Although she is disappointed when Lady Alanna (of Pierce's Lioness series) doesn't select her, she is gratified to serve as squire to Lord Raoul, knight commander of the King's Own Guard. At more than 400 pages, this new book fleshes out Kel's world: she is still very much a woman of action, but here she has time for introspection, sorting out puzzling feelings about her new romance, and making decisions about when she'll "bed a man." Jousting, battle, and enemies from within the ranks, as well as an ornery fledgling griffin to nurture, add plenty of excitement to balance Kel's emotional development. A thorough glossary and list of characters at the back make this accessible even to readers unfamiliar with the other books in the series. --Susan Dove Lempke
Horn Book Review
(Middle School) Those who have read the previous books in the Protector of the Small series (First Test, Page) will already be familiar with Keladry of Mindelan, the first girl to enroll openly in Tortall's rigorous training program for future knights. Now a squire, Kel accepts a position with Raoul, Knight Commander of the King's Own guard. While accompanying the royal family on an extensive tour through the country, Kel accepts numerous challenges in the tournaments and proves her jousting abilities to even her most vocal critics. Raoul and Kel, who both prefer action to ceremony, relish each opportunity to leave the procession in order to pursue criminals, or battle invaders, or assist villagers in crisis. Kel faces down rampaging centaurs, cares for a wild baby griffin, and confronts her nemesis in an unfair courtroom trial. The novel expertly juxtaposes outward action and introspection, as Kel matures in both her knightly skills and her personal outlook. Squire brings together many of the characters from the previous volumes, wraps up some plot lines, and introduces a serious love interest for the young warrior. Building on the previous books but not dependent upon them, the novel is the strongest entry yet in the series. Kel's determination to succeed, her compulsion to stand up for those weaker than herself, and her exploration of what it means to be both a knight and a woman make her a compelling character. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.