Review: Page by Tamora Pierce ( The Protector of the Small)

If we pick a fight, then we’re just as bad as them. Combat should be used just to help people who can’t defend themselves, period.

This seems to officially be a Terry Pratchett and Tamora Pierce stan account these days (more on the Discworld Project next week). I picked this up directly after finishing First Test so you can imagine how much that shows I’m enjoying this series.

As the only female page in history to pass the first year of training to become a knight, Keladry of Mindelan is a force to be reckoned with. But Kel’s battle to prove herself isn’t over. She must master
her paralyzing vertigo, the gruelling training schedule and the dark machinations of those who would rather she fail.

But in times of danger, Kel shines.

The kingdom’s nobles are beginning to wonder if she can succeed far beyond what they imagined. And those who hate the idea of a female knight are getting desperate – they will do anything to halt her journey.

A powerful classic that is more timely than ever, the Protector of the Small series is about smashing the ceilings others place above you.

For some reason and I can’t place why, this book reminds me a lot of reading Assassins Apprentice by Robin Hobb. Now this is nowhere near the level of grimdark that Farseer reaches but I think it might be that this time, the time scale of Kel and her training is sped up significantly. First book of course did cover that year of probation that Kel had to suffer through and this book covers from her second year as a Page to when she is finishing her exams to progress to a Squire.

As a result of that, we get to see Kel as she matures into a teenager. Within a world like Tortall, you wouldn’t expect to see in depth about the joys of puberty and every thing that a young girl might experience during that. But you forget, this is Tamora Pierce. This books are different. I was so relieved that there was a good detailed discussion about periods. Yep, this book has details about getting periods among other details. What a relief! I don’t think I can think of one fantasy book that details this without the value being around virginity/purity. Nope, this is your normal, inconvenience of having one when you really don’t meed one. And there is a discussion about them with Kel and her maid Lalasa which needs to be more common. Something small, I know but anything that will destigmatise basic bodily functions is fine with me.

Since there isn’t a lot of world or expansion of the world building of the previous book, this book functions mostly as both a character study and a coming of age story for Kel and her friends. We obviously get the period stuff I mentioned but just other small things that add to the other characters growth too. Her changing feelings for Neal being one and her discovery of a solid, female friendship with Lalasa as well. This is probably the part I loved the most. Lalasa is a welcome addition to the story and watching Kel teach her physically how to defend herself while reminding her that harassment is never okay and has to be challenged, well, it felt very relevant to be honest. Even more so at the moment.

As far as the story is concerned, it is as tight and concise as the first. I felt the climactic point of the plot was both obvious while also kind of being a thing that I didn’t think would happen. That Keladry succeeding threatened others that much and that they had to be so malevolent about it. The last few chapters were so gripping that I was getting worried while reading it and even if it does seem like she is always going to make it sue to the quartet existing, I still had my doubts for a second. That to me is great plot work.

I can’t move on without the mention of best boy Jump. A dog is a welcome addtion to any story, especially such a good boy like him. I really liked seeing even Lord Wyldon make a tiny fuss of him and agree he was vital to the entire castle. Thank you Tamora Pierce for not having the dog die as well. I don’t care if that spoils the book, I know others will want to know.

I haven’t picked up Squire yet just due to some mood reading and blog tours but that and Lady Knight will be up next on my TBR very soon. I will have considerable space after recent revelations. Thanks for reading this review and happy reading. Most of all know, I hope everyone is safe, practicing self care for their mental health and is doing okay.

★★★★.5/5

Bookish Resolutions and 2019 in Review

Happy new year readers! I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday period and you are all ready for the year ahead, reading happily and have summoned the strength to go back to work.

2019 as a year was a wonderful and wild year, life wise. Reading wise though, it was absolutely fantastic. I finally started this blog, I attended World Con, I made some wonderful friends, met many authors I loved, saw Amanda Palmer live and just so many more wonderful things. So I have some resolutions for my reading this year that I want to share with you. I have quite a few but I am super excited to start them, starting with;

  • Goodreads Goal: So for 2019 I set myself the goal of 100 books and I met that and beat it by 105%. This is my first time doing a proper goal of getting a quantity of books read and actually monitoring the books I am reading. This was hugely helpful and it is nice to track these things. For 2020 I am setting my goal for the same amount since I now have a commute to read on also.
  • Back to the Backlist: In 2019 I held back a bit from the previous year of picking up new and hyped books and this year, I’m actually making it my mission to do this. I have kind of had it with over hyping books, buying books on an impulse that they are new and just because I’ve seen tweets about it. I am not currently aware of the amount on my physical TBR or my Kindle TBR but just know it’s big. I’m going to focus on reading these this year and particularly backlisted SFF titles.
  • Continue with Tortall and the Discworld Project: As many of you know I discovered the fabulous world of Tortall this year and read the entire Immortals quartet. I have since bought the many more of the books that are set in Tortall and this year I intend to complete my journey, probably with The Protector of the Small or The Lioness series next.

    The same goes for my ongoing Discworld Project. As of the end of 2019 I have read 6 of the books, having read the first 5 in the publishing order. Next up is Wyrd Sisters so watch this space.
  • Using the library and owned TBR: I am not doing a book buying ban because they have been futile in the past. I am however going to focus on books I currently own (a lot) and also anything I have on Kindle (many) as a priority. I just renewed my library membership before Christmas and will be using this as my main source for reading books I hear about but may not want to own yet.
  • Weekly comics and comics in general: I have fallen SEVERELY behind on my weekly comics due to my old job. I am currently trying to fix this while also catch up and read the comics/trade paperbacks/ grpahic novels etc that I own. Comics are a big part of my life and I will be bringing more of them to this blog in 2020.

There you have it, some small but significant goals for the year ahead. I think these are very manageable and aren’t going to overwhelm me, especially with my new job and some other personal goals I need to work on also.

Have you guys any bookish resolutions? Are you going to make any changes to your reading for 2020? Do share them with me please. Happy reading you guys.