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First Test (Protector of the Small, #1)
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First Test (Protector of the Small #1)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  35,339 ratings  ·  852 reviews
In the medieval and fantastic realm of Tortall, Keladry of Mindelan (known as Kel) is the first girl to take advantage of the decree that permits females to train for knighthood. But Kel is not a girl to underestimate...
Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages
Published by Turtleback Books (first published June 7th 1999)
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Jul 18, 2008 Allison rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: basically anyone.
Recommended to Allison by: fond memories.
Recently I decided to reread all of Tamora Pierce's books, because, well, it's been too long since I read them. For her Lioness Quartet, Circle of Magic books, and The Immortals series, I was refreshing my memory, but with the Protector of the Small series, it was almost like reading them for the first time. I read this series only once, when I was a preteen, and I had honestly forgotten just how much I love Kel.

At first glance, the story of Keladry of Mindalen seems like a rewrite of Tamora Pie
Rachel E. Carter
No review I could ever write would do this book (or series) justice. *reread w/Monica 1/24/15


This series to me is the pinnacle of Tamora Pierce's career. She had many wonderful books but the emotional and physical turmoil her protagonist Kel goes through to earn her knighthood is nothing that I have ever experienced in another YA book. Kel perseveres against every trial imaginable, and while at times she can seem a bit too mature (she's only 10 in this one!), she is unique and refreshing in a wo
Dichotomy Girl
Edit: Raised this up to 5 Stars, because after discussing it with Rachel E. Carter, I've decided that yes, Kel is the awesomest. :)

I had forgotten how good this series is. It's hard to decide which is my favorite, this one or Alanna.

2nd Read: 7/20/2015
Original Read: 11/11/2012
I started this series with the thought that it was going to be a do over of Pierce's previous, successful Alanna the Lioness Quartet, which followed a girl (named Alanna, of course) who dressed like a boy and took her twin brother's place in page training while he took her place in magic school (not dressed as a girl). The four books of that quartet follow her progress from page, to squire, to knight and king's champion--with her sex being discovered along the way. I was pleasantly surprised to ...more
May 28, 2015 Amy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: basically everyone, but especially young girls/woman
Recommended to Amy by: my Aunt
First Test by Tamora Pierce Review

“What if custom is wrong? Demanded the part of her that believed in the code of chivalry. A knight must set things right.”

How do I even begin to describe how much I love this series? It’s impossible to do a real review because as far as I’m concerned this is one of the best series ever written, and it is my favorite series out of Tamora’s Pierce’s amazing books. Keladry of Mindelan is one of my all-time favorite female characters, and trust me when I say that it
I am going to save my reminiscing about this series for the third book. Or at least I'm going to try. Some might creep in unnoticed.

First off:
Spidrens were, actually, the first Immortals I ever read about, because I went straight from the Lioness Quartet to this series. So in the first chapter or so, when Kel finds a spidren biting the heads off kittens, I was deeply disturbed. I still am. What I love about that scene is Kel's react
Lucy Ralston
This book changed my childhood. I had read stories about lady knights before--about women dressing as men, fighting the odds, and changing the world. But this story is different. Kel doesn't dress in drag, she doesn't hide herself, she doesn't try to change the world. She just wants to be a knight, and will do whatever it takes to achieve her goal. She is my number one female character in a YA novel, and that has not changed in a long long time.

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone
Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm)
This and my other reviews can be found at

First Test is about Keladry of Mindelan, the first girl who wishes to become a knight since Lady Alanna. She has been accepted for knight training, however, unlike the boys she will study and train beside, she has been given a First Test, one year to prove to the conservative training master that she is able to withstand the rigors of page training.

The storyline of this book progresses in a very good yet predictable
After King Jonathan took the throne, he decreed that women could train as knights as well. But more than a decade has passed since Alanna was unveiled as a female knight, and still no other female member of a noble house has come forth to be trained. No one--until Keladry. The daughter of ambassadors, Kel spent her childhood in lands where women were trained warriors, and intends to become one herself. Jonathon's hide-bound nobles aren't pleased with this change of tradition, and to placate them ...more
I recommend this book to two (not mutually exclusive) groups of people: kids who love Harry Potter and are looking for something to read next, and girls looking for a heroine who is not just a badass, but an Interesting Person to boot.

Review of entire series:
I read this series so many times in my teenage years, I nearly wore out the library copy. I was never over-impressed with Pierce's writing, but Keladry's quiet strength got under my skin and fascinated me. So many literary heroines are more
Oct 27, 2011 Katie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young girls
As part of a personal project of mine, I have taken to reading some of my childhood favorites again. Some of them will stand the test of time, while others will be remembered fondly but aren't quite up to par anymore.

I can safely say that First Test has stood the test of time. It is much better than the The Song of the Lioness Quartet. The writing is much improved along with the characters and plot.

For most of the book, I was upset with Lord Wyldon but (view spoiler)
Bridget Mckinney

Before starting to read the Protector of the Small quartet, I read that Kel was just another Alanna and that the books are basically Song of the Lioness all over again. I was actually okay with that going into this series, since I love Alanna and think that there are far worse things Kel could have been than just like her. I'm happy to report, however, that although there are similarities between Alanna and Kel, their experiences are extremely different and Kel's story expands upon and continues

(re-read on May 26, 2013, the occasion of this review)

May I say first that whoever thought this cover (trendily cropped photograph of a conventionally beautiful young woman with her lips parted and wearing some sort of floating veil) was an improvement over this cover (painting of a ten-year-old child with an androgynous haircut, looking out optimistically at the world through her black eye, holding a kitten and surrounded by little birds) should be smacked with their own portfolio?

Thank you.

Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌

Being immersed in this world once again brings back all of these dear and familiar feelings-- love, affection, amusement and the all too familiar indignation from the brilliantly frustrating portrayal of sexism that seems to be a prevalent theme in her of her books.

The premise is much like that of the series Song of the Lioness, but that's just about the biggest similarity. There are a lot of distinguishing factors, especially with Keladry's character. It was wonderful and heart warming
This book was pretty fantastic. It concerns Keladry, the first girl to try for her knighthood since Alanna became a knight and a proclamation was issued that any girl may become a page. Despite the proclamation, many are still resistant to the idea of women being knights, and Kel does not have an easy time of things.

It's fascinating to compare Kel's and Alanna's experiences and how different they are. Kel's family is supportive of her decision to try for her knighthood, and Kel's mother is a for
When I was 13 years old, I discovered the glorious Tamora Pierce through her "Song of the Lioness" quartet, which were, at the time, the only books she had published. "The Immortals" quartet came out while I was in high school, but I never connected with Daine as a heroine in the visceral way I did with Alanna, though I can appreciate why other people enjoy her. I never even touched "The Protector of the Small" until I was an adult in grad school.

The first couple of times I read the series, I re
Tessa Binetti
I am enchanted with this book! It's outgoing, different to usual characters often remind me of my much loved series by John Flanagan, "Rangers Apprentice"! I can't wait to find the second one and continue!!
I liked this book but I have always been a sucker for books about kids who go away to boarding schools and face insurmountable obstacles. Yup, It was one of those.
The only thing I had a bit of a hard time with is that the story is about a ten year old girl and it felt like she was a lot older than that.
Otherwise it was worth the three hours it took me to read it.
Michael Martin
It's highly derivative of a lot of things that preceded it, but dumbed down to a juvenile level. It didn't bore me (it was a book club selection), but neither will it leave much of a dent in my memory. Think of it as Game of Thrones meets My Little Pony.
Some people, I think, ashamed to be caught with "juvenile fiction". I, however am not one of them. Some of these stories are just too good to pass up, and are full of great lessons and amazing worlds.

For the most part though, they are taken up by strong male leads and, well...not as strong girl leads. But that is okay because this is where authors like Tamora Pierce step up and take charge.

In the third series installment, First Test follows Kel, a ten-year old girl who takes up the allowance fo
The first time I read this book, I was in elementary school. Once I had finished, I begged my mother to buy me the next book because I had absolutely loved it. I was afraid that I wouldn't enjoy it as much again because I was no longer in the target audience, as with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but I was glad to see that it was still an enjoyable read.

Reading it now, after so many years, I found that I understood a lot more than I did back then. Unfortunately, it isn't possible to enjoy a book t
I tend to go on a Tamora Pierce binge: once I've put my hands on one of her novels I have to keep reading them. I'm not seeing this as a problem, though. More of just a simple, observable fact.

Because, First Test? I can tell I am going to love Kel and this series as a whole. This could be Pierce's best series yet.


No girl had taken up the king's decree that girls had the same right to train to become a knight as boys. The decree was passed after Alana, The Lioness, became Tortal
I'm just going to write one review for all four of these books. My main problem was not really in the books themselves, but in the author. I've read almost all of Tamora Pierce's books, and I have to say that they are all the same or very similar. And all of them are attached in one way or another. I had just finished this series when I found that there were books that were connected to this story, before this book took place. After I read those, I found that there were characters involved in th ...more
The book "First Test" by Tamora Pierce would interest readers who like mythical adventure books like the "Eragon" series or the "Harry Potter" books. This book is about a little girl named Keladry or Kel who is fighting all odds in her quest to become a knight. If she succeeds she will only be the second female to become a knight. However, the first female knight had the luxury of hiding her sex until she was done with her initiation. Kel has to face the boys against her head on. I thoroughly en ...more
It's been ten years since Alanna the Lioness disguised herself as a boy in order to became the first lady knight in the realm of Tortall, ten years since the king decreed it lawful for women to train to be knights without having to resort to trickery. And Keladry of Mindelan wants to be the first to do so. Ten year old Kel was raised abroad, the child of a diplomat, and has a very different way of looking at the world as a result. Trained in the ways of the Yamani warriors since the age of 6, to ...more
Deva Fagan
It's been many years since I first read the Alanna books as a young teen myself. I loved the story of Alanna, daring to pretend to be a boy and seek the honor and responsibility of becoming a knight of the realm. It was so wonderful to see a girl out there kicking butt, doing magic, and being a hero.

So when I discovered there was a series about another girl trying to become a knight, some years after Alanna's success, I was hesitant. Hadn't I already read that story? Would it really be engaging
Notes While Reading: (view spoiler) ...more
Mark Dewey
This book was all right. The characters and things in it were pretty interesting. It was written fairly well. The story didn't seem like anything new, especially after reading the first book of the previous series (I think I preferred that one, although the books do have quite a different character to them).

The narration of the audiobook was good.

That thing about the spider-creature eating kittens seemed a little galling. I mean, why was it doing it? I doubt if it was just hungry. Kittens don't
Mark Philpot
My word of warning: I'm probably far from Tamora Pierce's intended audience for these books set in the Tortall universe. I read the Alanna quartet a long time ago and rather enjoyed them. Pierce has obviously spend a long time researching medieval combat and society and it shows in her writing. I liked the characters from the Alanna quartet, so when I saw Immortals and Protector of the Small series on the shelves focusing on different characters, it didn't entice me enough to pick them up.

This story was really interesting. This particular book by Tamora Pierce is about a girl who wants to become a knight, and is given half a chance to prove herself. I like her headstrong attitude and her die hard will, she really doesn't give up and she can realize what needs to be done. She did not back down on what she thought was right, even when it would have been easier to do. She took the punches thrown her way and dealt a few of her own to those who bullied others.
This book was not as good
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Hey, folks! I just discovered that apparently I have given some very popular books single-star ratings--except I haven't. How do I know I haven't? Because I haven't read those books at all. So before you go getting all hacked off at me for trashing your favorites, know that I've written GoodReads to find out what's going on.

I return to my regularly scheduled profile:
Though I would love to join gro
More about Tamora Pierce...

Other Books in the Series

Protector of the Small (4 books)
  • Page (Protector of the Small, #2)
  • Squire (Protector of the Small, #3)
  • Lady Knight (Protector of the Small, #4)
Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1) Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness, #4) In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness, #2) The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness, #3) Wild Magic (Immortals, #1)

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“I'd like to find whoever taught the Stump that extra work builds character and push him down the stairs," Neal told Kel at lunch.” 223 likes
“You know, ogres only sound stupid. Most are pretty smart."

"And it's a shallow person who judges anyone by the way they sound. I'm so shallow I'm surprised I don't reflect myself.”
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