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

(Protector of the Small #1)

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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  46,794 ratings  ·  1,302 reviews
In the medieval and fantastic realm of Tortall, Keladry of Mindelan is the first girl to take advantage of the decree that permits females to train for knighthood. Up against the traditional hazing of pages and a grueling schedule, Kel faces only one real roadblock: Lord Wyldon, the training master of pages and squires. He is absolutely against girls becoming knights. So w ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 23rd 2000 by Random House Children's Books (first published June 7th 1999)
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Gabi Berry She's ten in First Test. it takes place beginning the September after the Immortals War and around 14-15 years after the conclusion of the Alanna…moreShe's ten in First Test. it takes place beginning the September after the Immortals War and around 14-15 years after the conclusion of the Alanna books. Page focuses on ages 11-13; Squire on ages 14-18; and Lady Knight begins 2 months after the end of Squire(less)
Cassandra If you mean all the fighting, then it's because they started when they were young and had LOTS of practice.

Community Reviews

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Allison
Jun 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Rachel E. Carter
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: have-paperback
No review I could ever write would do this book (or series) justice.

description

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 world of cliche. She is wh
...more
Lola
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is my first book/series from Tamora Pierce, meaning that I did not read her Song of the Lioness series prior. However, although Alanna, and as I discovered, multiple other characters from the author’s other books in the same world are mentioned, I did not feel as though there was something I was missing to enjoy this particular story.

Actually, because Alanna was mentioned so many times, I now feel very interested in picking Pierce’s Song of the Lioness up. Though it’s true there are some sp
...more
Dichotomy Girl
3rd Read: 12/16/2016
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
Fafa's Book Corner
Mini review:

Trigger warning: Animal abuse

Minor spoilers ahead!

DNF

Tamora Pierce is an author I have heard off. On a whim I decided to try on of her books. Unfortunately this book didn't work for me.

In the beginning (the first chapter) Kel stops these boys from drowning kittens. While attempting to rescue the kittens a monster comes. And starts to eat them. I couldn't make myself read anymore. I felt sick to my stomach.

I do still recommend it. As Kel's a very strong character and I have a feeling
...more
Kat
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
Emily
May 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I liked this book - listened to it as an audio book. It was a quick, fast read. I was mostly interested, but the story was entirely predictable. My biggest problem was that Kel is a 10 year old girl, but at no time did she actually act like it. She was way too mature for her age - both in how she acted, her physical abilities and even how she spoke. It was in no way believable that she was a child. My other gripe is: (view spoiler) ...more
Kogiopsis
Oct 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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:
I HATE SPIDRENS I HATE SPIDRENS I HATE SPIDRENS I HATE SPIDRENS.
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
...more
Beth
Alanna clenched her fists. What was going on? Was Jonathan inclined to give way to the man who'd saved his children?
And with that, possibly the stupidest line Pierce has ever written, Kel's story begins. I'm big on details lately, and the introduction is shaky on them. Here are more places the writing is less than precise:
The training master absently rubbed the arm in its linen sling. At last he bowed in his chair. "May we compromise, sire?"
Maybe that first line is here to show Wyldon's hesitati
...more
Lucy Ralston
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Bridget Mckinney
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013

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

...more
Cassandra
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
...more
Belinda
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adults
4,75 stars - Audiobook - I have dyslexia -
Girls try to be knight, a theme brought up many times before. The heroïne of this book puts it to another level. Keladry of Mindalan's first year at the school for knights is discribed with trouble, wisdom, hardship,and humor in this book. Next to the battle against good and evil. Adventure spatter of the pages. But this heroïne also honors her former teachers. Afraid of hightech but not of combat. A special girl indeed. One point was a bit to much.... t
...more
Dorothea
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
(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.

All
...more
Jackie B. - Death by Tsundoku
Ten years after Alanna becomes King's Champion, a female of Tortall finally wants to become a page-- and eventually a knight of the realm. What sounds at first as a repeat of the Song of the Lioness quartet is quickly revealed to be much more. While our protagonist, Kelandry of Mindalen, is following the same path as Alanna, the road the walks is completely different. Tamora Pierce takes what could have been a copycat novel and turns a parallel story into something refreshing and new.

From the st
...more
Wealhtheow
Jul 06, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya
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
Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm)
This and my other reviews can be found at http://amethystbookwyrm.blogspot.co.uk/

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
...more
Connor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Arielle Walker
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite books from my childhood, along with the Lioness quartet. Will review properly later when I don't have a detailed essay (on the use of moving image/film as an art form to explore social media and psychosis) to conclude.

Came across my 2003 school reading log, and I think my ten-year-old self actually describes this book best. In my own ten-year-old words: "Excellent, I like the idea that girls are at least as good as boys, if not better!"
Kay
I've read this book (this series) over a dozen times over the last decade and a half. Kel has been my rock (stone), and Tamora Pierce has been my strength. The Protector of the Small series has taught me feminism and fairness and strength and how to overcome it all.
Tortall is one of my happy places, and I'm so happy to return and find it unchanged after all these years.

Tamora Pierce is a FANTASTIC writer, a great world-builder, and a master of character development.
MrsJoseph
3.5 stars

It was cute. I really liked the MC and the way she looked at treating others. Even though I enjoyed it...I wasn't caught by it. She's no Daine. I'm in no hurry to go to book 2.


Jakk Makk
Mar 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, audiobook
Five characters mentioned in the first sentence. Clearly this is not intended for people ignorant of the earlier series. My first attempt at this author, because it was the first number one in a series to became available. Ever seen "Minority Report" where he does the hands out thing to interact with the computer? After the third restart, I had to sit still and do that, just to track the sentence. Of Course, Tamora is on Overdrive like black on wild rice, so maybe she writes these in her sleep. ...more
Ashley
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am very excited because my big reread has finally gotten to the Kel books, and Kel is my *FAVORITE* Tamora Pierce heroine. She doesn't have magic powers, so she gets everything done on her own. She's stubborn, she works incredibly hard, and she always stands up to a bully. I also have always loved Neal and his dramatics, even though this time around I couldn't help wondering, what kind of 15-year-old is perfectly happy to spend so much time with 10 to 13-year-olds? Doesn't he ever want to talk ...more
Allison
I enjoyed this, but I had a hard time envisioning Kel as a 10-yr-old. She seemed at least 12 or 13 to me, especially considering the size of her war horse and the heft of her lance. I know pages start young, but it didn't seem right somehow.
Elaine
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
I remember not liking this quartet very much when I first read it. I thought it was a less interesting retelling of Alanna’s quartet (which starts with Alanna: The First Adventure), which is also by Tamora Pierce.

However, this series has grown on me over the years. It’s better written than Pierce's previous quartets, and the side characters are more fleshed out. Kel stills seems far too wise beyond her years to me, and her lack of emotion is annoying, especially in the earlier books. I don’t min
...more
Rachael (RedRchlReads)
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads, fantasy
4 Stars!

What a great start to the next Tortall series by Tamora Pierce. I've loved revisiting old haunts and familiar faces throughout the realm!

First Test was a really fun a cute book, with a lot of similarities to Alanna: The First Adventure, yet with enough differences to make it unique and fresh. I absolutely loved Kel. She is the first female to try for knighthood since Alanna, and the first to do so openly as a girl. (Alanna kept herself disguised as a boy throughout her training.)

Kel is s
...more
Kayla Edwards
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Oh these books, every time I read them it's like visiting a best friend. I adore Kel today as much as I did when these books were first published; I will forever be grateful to Tamora Pierce for creating this fantastic heroine because "bless [her], [she is] real." Kel doesn't have the Gift or any wild magic to help her. She gets everything only through grimy, hard work and persistence just like the rest of us and I admire her so much for it. I reread these books ALL THE TIME because I need that. ...more
Lori S.
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As good as I remember!
Robin
I freely admit: I am a sucker for stories set in some sort of academy or boarding school. I adore the literary equivalent of the training montage, preferably as detailed as possible, with lots of excruciating challenges, stern but wise teachers, and a clear and compelling purpose. Ideally, we see it all from the perspective of a scrappy, smart female overcoming the odds to grow into inevitable awesomeness the likes of which no one ever could have expected (except for the reader because we know h ...more
Sarah Ames-Foley
I read this quite some time ago, but only owned the first book and never continued with the series. For Christmas, I received books 2-4 and decided to re-read this so that I could jump into the rest. I had forgotten most of the plot, although all of it felt familiar to me. While I couldn’t have predicted anything that happened, once it happened I thought to myself “oh yeah, I remember that.” Luckily, I enjoyed it just as much as Tammy’s other books and am very excited to finally finish the serie ...more
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62,308 followers
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

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)
“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.” 237 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.”
211 likes
More quotes…