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In the final thrilling installment of Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small series ( First Test, Page, and Squire), our sturdy young heroine, Keladry of Mindelan (a.k.a. Kel), has finally been knighted. Never one to rest on her laurels, Kel champs at the bit, ready to tackle the horrific magic killing devices she was shown in the Chamber of the Ordeal during her knighthood initiation. The huge, insectlike machines, "made of iron-coated giants' bones, chains, pulleys, dagger-fingers and -toes, and a long whiplike tail," feed on the souls of dead children and are systematically killing off the citizens and warriors of Tortall.

Thoroughly disgusted to discover that not only is she not going to be assigned a combat post, but she has been placed in charge of a refugee camp instead, Kel, in her usual noble, stoic way, swallows her disappointment and sets out being the best refugee camp commander possible. Of course, destiny has a way of sneaking up on a young woman like Kel, and soon she is fulfilling the ordeal the Chamber set out for her... and then some.

Tamora Pierce once again draws her legions of fans into her story, blending humor, pathos, exhilarating battles, and gripping drama with a very real, very appealing protagonist. It's easy to make war appear black and white, a matter of good versus evil. Pierce finds the shades of gray. (Ages 12 and older) --Emilie Coulter

416 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published August 27, 2002

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About the author

Tamora Pierce

93 books82.9k 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 groups, I'm going to turn them all down. I just don't have the time to take part, so please don't be offended if I don't join your group or accept an invitation. I'm not snooty--I'm just up to my eyeballs in work and appearances!

Also, don't be alarmed by the number of books I've read. When I get bored, I go through the different lists and rediscover books I've read in the past. It's a very evil way to use up time when I should be doing other things. Obviously, I've read a lot of books in 54 years!

I was born in South Connellsville, PA. My mother wanted to name me "Tamara" but the nurse who filled out my birth certificate misspelled it as "Tamora". When I was 8 my family moved to California, where we lived for 6 years on both sides of the San Francisco peninsula.

I started writing stories in 6th grade. My interest in fantasy and science fiction began when I was introduced to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ by J. R. R. Tolkien and so I started to write the kind of books that I was reading. After my parents divorced, my mother took my sisters and me back to Pennsylvania in 1969. There I went to Albert Gallatin Senior High for 2 years and Uniontown Area Senior High School for my senior year.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, I wrote the book that became The Song of the Lioness fantasy quartet. I sold some articles and 2 short stories and wrote reviews for a martial arts movie magazine. At last the first book of the quartet, Alanna: The First Adventure was published by Atheneum Books in 1983.

Tim Liebe, who became my Spouse-Creature, and I lived in New York City with assorted cats and two parakeets from 1982 - 2006. In 2006 we moved to Syracuse, New York, where we live now with assorted cats, a number of squirrels, birds, raccoons, skunks, opossums, and woodchucks visiting our very small yard. As of 2011, I have 27 novels in print, one short story collection, one comic book arc ("White Tiger: A Hero's Compulsion") co-written with Tim, and a short story anthology co-editing credit. There's more to come, including a companion book to the Tortall `verse. So stay tuned!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,049 reviews
Profile Image for Kogiopsis.
759 reviews1,454 followers
September 2, 2011
I'm going to make a statement which I probably will contradict in the future (because I'll forget) and which likely contradicts something I've previously said (and forgotten).

Keladry of Mindelan is my favorite Tamora Pierce heroine.

I thought for a long time while reading this book about that statement, and how true it was, and eventually decided that it was accurate. I love them all, of course, but with most of them there is an aspect I just can't sympathize with. Mostly (Sandry, Tris, Daja, Alanna, Daine) it's the magic factor. Pierce does a really good job of writing plausible magic, but as a result it's such an integral part of her characters' lives that it is difficult for me to empathize. The underlying themes are just fine, but the tangible day-to-day stuff of their lives is inherently fantastic just because of who they are.

Kel is significant to me for the same reason she's significant to other Tortallan girls: Lady Alanna proved that women could be knights, but she had magic to help her; Kel proves that anyone, so long as they have the determination, can win their shield. Because she has no magic to help her along, a lot of her troubles are similar to those faced by students in the real world - challenging classes, unfriendly classmates, strict teachers, conflict of ideas. This is a school story in a way that few people write them anymore, where the school part is linked to the plot and not just background. It's also a good way to shore up worldbuilding, because whenever Pierce shows a fragment of a class she's telling us something about Tortall as well as creating a sense of realism to the education her characters are undergoing.

But that's not the only thing that makes Kel my favorite. After all, the school setting was only a part of the story for the first two books; though Squire was still education-centric in a way, Lady Knight is far from it. So at this point, when Kel has been knighted and is off serving the realm, far outside my personal knowledge/experience base, what is it that makes her still sympathetic?

Without a doubt, it is her strength.

You will be hard-pressed to think of a heroine in recent YA who is as strong as this girl. There are some good ones out there, though most of the barrel seems to be bad apples, but Kel trumps them all. Her strength is not just physical or even mental, but in her convictions. She has an absolutely stunning sense of duty and justice that just blows me away every time. She has integrity. And she is also honest with herself: even though she believes in abstract concepts like duty and justice, and fights for them, she doesn't glorify the act of fighting nor pretend like her decisions have no consequences.

"You all know why we're here," she told them. "You know the enemy. He will be on us soon. When he comes, we will fight not for some glorious cause, but to survive."

And do her decisions ever have consequences. I wouldn't dream of spoiling it, but let me just remind you that, as we saw in the finale of Page, Kel will risk anything for people under her protection.

Speaking of the people under her protection, the side characters in this book are just fantastic. Even the ones who get just a sentence or two feel like real people. That's important, because the cast of this book is huge and keeping track of people is pretty crucial. Also, it's nice that only two characters (well, and one who's off-screen the whole time) are unmitigatedly evil; the rest, even the unpleasant ones, are in some way likeable eventually. Also, they are badass.

She thought the battle flags and shields take n from those Scanrans who had attacked her people that summer gave the walls a nice, homey touch.

This book makes me really, really want more Tortall series - not just the Daughter of the Lioness duet, but more after that. There is in particular one little girl who had better show up again, else she'll seem like she was just tossed in to give the quartet its name and that's sort of sloppy. Pierce is not very sloppy, so I'm sure it will be dealt with.


There is one other thing which is rather tangential that I wanted to remember to mention. I really, really like the way magic is handled in this quartet, and in this book in particular, since Tortall is at war. It is a limited resource, after all, and that's made clear here. Those who have scads of power (particularly Numair and Daine) are treated with a nice combination of respect and fear, which I really like. The ordinary people understand how important they are to the war effort, of course, but that doesn't mean it's comfortable to be around someone who can summon boulders from ten miles away!


If you enjoyed the rest of the quartet, you're pretty much guaranteed to like this one. Also, if you're tired of heroines whose happily ever after consists only of ending up with the right guy, check these books out - it's not too much of a spoiler to say that Kel winds up contentedly unattached.




(By the way, I almost forgot this part: I love having a heroine who's tall, strong, muscular, and proud of it. No delicate waif, our Kel!)
Profile Image for Catie.
77 reviews3 followers
November 23, 2015
If Alanna is Dana Scully (petite, sharp-tongued, redheaded; quick with a weapon, and with a penchant for shadowy corners and impossible quests), Kel is a (much less exuberant) Leslie Knope: hardworking, dedicated to civil service, willing to put in the work to make a difference in her community. I'll always love Alanna, but there was something particularly special about this latest comfort-re-read of Kel's story. I'll never be as selfless or stoic as Kel, as willing to stubbornly pursue injustice and stand up for those who can't—but I wish I was. It might be a problem with the novel that Kel has very few character flaws: while Alanna has a temper and Daine is shy and scarred, Kel is hampered only by her gender and the inflexible standards of the men in power. But I don't really care if this is bad writing or poor characterization, because what's important about Kel is that all of her achievements are driven through pure, sweaty, hard work. Alanna had the Goddess's hand on her; Daine had wild magic and a divine lineage. Kel has a powerful moral compass and an indefatigable work ethic and clear-eyed determination toward her goals. Kel has grit.

And I guess this resonated with me because those are the qualities most valuable to me right now, the ones I most wish I could embody: grit. Hard work. Putting in the time. The clench-teethed refusal to accept power imbalance and the mistreatment of those who cannot defend themselves. In another context, it's easy to imagine Kel as a doctor. Protector of the small, carer of the sick.

It's funny how many fierce, bookish women I've met over the years who cop to a childhood fondness for Alanna. We were special, we were strong, we took up our own swords in her likeness (literally, for my best friend Hannah, a collegiate fencing champion). But I wonder if, now, at 27, Kel isn't a better role model. To bring this back to Leslie Knope: in the Parks series finale, Leslie gives a commencement address at the University of Indiana. She tells the class about the virtues of public service, and ends with an exhortation: "Find your team. And get to work." It's a phrase that's echoed around in my head since I heard it, because it seems like the most important thing I can with my life at this point. Kel has a team too: she would not have made it through knighthood, to Scanra, without a solid core of people and animals willing to go to bat (and war) for her. And she did the work: she ran when she could have walked, she fought when she could have looked the other way, she faced her fears when she could have accepted defeat. I want to be more like her, and more like Leslie. Where's my sword?
Profile Image for Rachel E. Carter.
Author 9 books3,473 followers
Read
January 27, 2023
Buddy reread w/Monica 2/1/15-2/4/15.

This book was a beast.

description

You cannot top Tamora Pierce in YA fantasy. I don’t care what anyone says, they are wrong. Now you can argue which series of hers is best –or even which protagonist (the constant debate between Monica & I: Alanna or Kel?)- but you cannot argue her brilliance.

This final book had almost zero romance. Which would normally make me cringe, but in true Tamora fashion you are so involved with her characters you just don’t care. I rooted for each and every one of them & her side characters have purpose, not merely artificial compliments to her main character.

My one itsy bitsy issue with this one: Cleon.

But the action? And everything Kel stands for? And her struggles as a commander? And the battle scenes? Epic. Although I will admit (and I’m sure Monica will rejoice on this): 1) Alanna fight scenes and conclusion better were better in her final book than Kel’s. 2) Enemies in Daine books were more compelling (Ozrone was the perfect villain) than King Maggur or Blayce the Gallan. I was only introduced to either as a villain in this book (if there were previous hints I don’t remember them) so I just didn’t hate them with the same fiery passion I felt for Duke Roger or Emperor/Stormwing Ozrone.

That said this book still has 5 stars. I don’t have to think every little thing is perfect. Tamora knows what she is doing and the story kept me glued to the page (believe me when this was my first reading I had it done in one night!).

I was sobbing when I got to the end.

And the last scene? It was beautiful. A promise for the future as she rides off with her best friend.

"Kel!" shouted Neal. "Are you going to dream all day? She's waiting for me!"

Lovers, Kel thought, rolling her eyes. At least there was one headache she didn't have. She was about to tell her friend he could wait when she remembered that she'd get to see Dom while at Steadfast. It would be nice to be able to sit and chat for a while without kidnapping, flight, or war to distract them.

She urged Hoshi to a trot.


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Profile Image for AziaMinor.
404 reviews50 followers
August 22, 2022
Overall Rating : A-

What an amazing finale!!! Kel is what everyone should aspire to be, and in this book, that's exactly what happens.

The world of Tortall is one of the few places where it captures you in. I definitely need to read the other books in Tamora's gritty midevil world😍
Profile Image for Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~.
1,520 reviews97 followers
September 22, 2020
Lady Knight is a good end for this quartet. We get to see Kel and her ridiculously intelligent animal companions (so intelligent, in fact, that I started wondering why the humans were even necessary), taking on an usual task for her first assignment as a knight - commander of a refugee camp. On top of this, she's also worried about the task that the Chamber of the Ordeal told her about at the end of the previous book, tracking down a piece of pond scum using the spirits of children to animate killing machines.

Kel proves herself up to the task of commander, even though she often feels she has no idea what she's doing. Her strong moral code and sense of empathy helps her win over the people of Haven and when the crap hits the fan, as it does, her friends rally around her.

It's nothing spectacular at this point in the series. There are no last-minute surprises and the main showdown was over just a little too quickly . But I did like that for once, our MC doesn't have a great love interest in this book and doesn't end up married, engaged or otherwise heading off to an HEA at the tender age of 18. She got her life ahead of her and her knightly duties to keep her busy and satisfied, and that more than anything else is why I'm giving this four stars. Girls need to know that romance doesn't fix everything and doesn't even need to be pursued as a life goal if that's not where they see their lives headed.
Profile Image for Elaine.
32 reviews20 followers
July 27, 2020
I am not here to write a book review. I have read this book too many times and I love the characters too much to give a level-headed assessment of the writing or the plot. I'm here to talk about what makes Keladry one of the greatest female protagonists in YA literature. I hope you enjoy my love letter to Keladry of Mindelan, Protector of the Small.

Growing up, I remember tearing through Tamora Pierce's books. First the Alanna series, then the Trickster series, and finally the Protector of the Small series. (I never got to The Immortals). Keladry was always my favorite. Most of my friends preferred Alanna, and I could never articulate why I found Keladry more compelling. After all, Alanna is incredible, and The Song of the Lioness is more popular than The Protector of the Small. But there's something about Kel that struck me as different. Now, at age 26, having just re-read both series, I finally have the words to explain why Keladry is so special to me.

Alanna is your prototypical hero. She is brave, fiery, and chosen. From the first page, she dares to do the impossible, heedless of the danger. She doesn't think things through; she jumps in with complete faith that she'll be able to figure it out. As just 10 years old, Alanna uses her Gift to save the Crown Prince, convincing the God of Death to let him go. That is just the beginning of her heroism. Despite having no training, Alanna's raw magical power is already greater than that of experienced mages, and she is watched over by the Gods. Alanna of Trebond is not bounded by ordinary rules or laws. Over and over again, Alanna does the impossible, blazing a legendary path through history as a lone warrior. She has a few close friends who recognize her brilliance, and who aid her as best they can. But ultimately, Alanna always faces down the big bad alone.

Keladry is nothing like Alanna. I don't mean to say that one is better than the other. But Alanna's story has been told many times; it is the story of most badass female protagonists. Keladry's story, on the other hand, is one that I rarely encounter. Unlike Alanna, Keladry does not have magic. She is not fiery, she is not chosen, she does not do the impossible. Keladry is a deeply practical character, a stubborn girl who toils away to acquire skills that do not come naturally to her. She follows orders that she dislikes. She does not seek glory. She uses her wits to out-think opponents. She is a meticulous planner. Since nothing comes easy to Keladry, she learns how to harness the mundane powers of routine and habits to succeed. She wakes up every morning to do her glaive routine, she trains with weighted weapons, she runs up and down hills, and she fails a great deal. Throughout the series, we watch her overcome obstacles with steadfast determination and a grueling work ethic. Hers is not a story of raw talent or divine intervention; hers is a story of perseverance.

Keladry doesn't just overcome obstacles. She takes each new obstacle and uses it to strengthen herself. When Wyldon, her training master, forces her to climb high trees as an attempt to scare her off, Keladry uses it as an opportunity to overcome her childhood fear. When Joren adds lead weights to her lance, Keladry decides to add weights to all of her weapons. When Merric lashes out at her for helping him, Keladry practices emotional intelligence and chooses to understand his frustration. Keladry does not have a big ego, which means when people doubt her, she doesn't respond with angry defiance. She does something far more difficult and productive: she calmly uses what they've thrown at her to become better. Alanna is the type to call out the injustice and publicly fight against it. And while we need those people, I cannot help but feel particularly impressed by Keladry's ability to take the constant discrimination transform it into something awe-inspiring. She doesn't just endure; she uses what's thrown at her to become stronger, more empathetic, and more human.

However, Keladry's grit is not her most extraordinary quality. What truly sets her apart are her relationships. Alanna is a loner who chafes under the needs and expectations of others. Keladry, on the other hand, builds community wherever she goes. As a page, Keladry forms a strong group of friends who patrol the halls at night to prevent hazing. As a squire, Keladry slowly wins the respect and camaraderie of hundreds of veteran soldiers. As a knight, Keladry successfully trains and leads a camp of 500 plus refugees. She does this by being down to earth, by listening to people's troubles, and by truly caring. Throughout the series, we see her connect with people across borders and social hierarchies: nobles and commoners, soldiers and refugees, the young and the old. Even animals flock to her. Keladry has a rare skill: she knows how to navigate the complicated waters of human behavior and bring out the best in people.

To put it in simple terms: Alanna is a Hero, whereas Keladry is a Commander. Lord Raoul summed it up perfectly in the third book of the series. He taught Keladry that there are four kinds of warriors: heroes, knights, soldiers, and commanders. "Heroes find dark places and fight in them alone...Commanders have an eye not just for what they do, but what those around them do. They know where someone will shine and where they will collapse." That knack for command is exceedingly rare. To be a good commander, you must first understand people, then gain their trust, you must be confident enough to lead, and later practice enough humility to learn from your mistakes. On top of all this, you must hold within your mind the strategic, tactical, and mathematical skills necessary to wage war. Keladry can do this and more. She can also stand up in front of a hundred hostile faces and crack a joke to put everybody at ease. She can break up a fight between two brawling men and shake sense into them. She can ignore the whispers of judgmental onlookers and focus on building connections, one person at a time. She can win the respect of those who hate her. She can look at an old problem and approach it in a new way. I could go on and on. Don't worry, I won't. So allow me instead to introduce the final nail in the coffin of Keladry's greatness.

Keladry is real. I am impressed by Alanna, but I am inspired by Keladry. Just like the young girls who wanted to become knights after watching her joust, I am inspired by Keladry because she is flesh and blood. She reminds me of some of the incredible women I've met in my own life. My own mother possesses a similar kind of quiet strength. There is nothing mystical, magical, or transcendent about Keladry; anybody can be Keladry. And we need more people like Kel in our world. Her particular brand of strength and leadership brings people together and makes people better. It's easy to be the hero that everybody loves, but far harder to be the commander who must be many contradicting things at once. Keladry is a shining example of what it means to be a good friend, a strong leader, and a motherfucking badass. I hope that young girls everywhere continue to read this series. Keladry was and still is who I want to be when I grow up.
Profile Image for Beth.
1,133 reviews109 followers
July 3, 2017
It's been a very Tamora Pierce week. I reread all the Kel books, two of the Alanna books, and now I'm filling in the gaps between post-earthquake Tortall and Kel's Tortall with the first Daine book.

Anyway, I don't have a lot to say about this. I first read it years ago, and it was never my favorite Kel book. There are really great moments, like when Raoul gets angry at Wyldon - little character asides that rise to the heights of previous books - but mostly this is a book where Kel is beloved by everyone worthwhile, and she almost single-handedly wins the war. She's too perfect here. It's frustrating.

I love this world, I really do. And I love how Pierce paints with strokes just fine enough to suggest an entire world of detail outside her descriptions, because that gives Tortall a richness beyond what she actually depicts. But her strength lies in plots where characters are challenged, and Kel isn't challenged much here.

The Numair series has a release date now, and I have to say I'm nervous about it. Pierce hasn't done all that well with fill-in-the-blanks books until now (see: Melting Stones) and I don't want past books as much as future ones. That's so much more compelling: what does happen next in this constantly-changing realm?
Profile Image for Kim Clifton.
374 reviews2 followers
February 10, 2017
Given the past week's events, it's been especially nice to escape into a fantasy realm where knights risk their lives to defend refugees.

Side note: I wish Goodreads had a way to track re-reads of books, because I've been returning to this one since... sixth grade.
Profile Image for Michael Campbell.
392 reviews49 followers
August 15, 2019
This was all set up to be a wonderful conclusion. The pacing was quick, Kel has developed into my favorite Tamora Pierce character thus far, and we had easily the most evil villain Tortall has produced thus far for our heroine to vanquish.

Everything up until the last few chapters, I really liked. I enjoyed her new command, what she made of it, and how she disobeyed orders to go after captured innocents, disregarding their station as peasant class individuals(Very in keeping with her character as the girl who saved her maid, risking her own advancement of her dream).

It's not that I hated the last few chapters, they just felt a bit lame. Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't the last book in the series, but I didn't feel it was the thrilling conclusion Kel deserved. Everything wrapped up nice and neat in a couple chapters, and everyone got to live happily ever after. No real sense of suspense or drama, just put the sword(glaive, actually) through the bad guy and ride off into the sunset.

I appreciate the complete disregard of the love triangle earlier in the series, and the focus on Kel as an individual coming into adulthood on her own. Kel as a character is the best and most smoothly developed I've read from Tamora Pierce. I think she warranted a better ending.
Profile Image for AziaMinor.
404 reviews50 followers
March 11, 2021
Overall Rating : A

"It is your time, Keladry of Mindelan, Protector of the Small."

I think what I love most about this series is that Kel is the definition of normal girl becoming something greater. No magical gifts, no blessing by the God's to boost her up, no talisman to grant her abilities. She pulled herself up on her own to become what she wanted to be - a Knight of the Realm. Everything about her that made her unique, was because she never gave up on herself.

With her friends beside her and her unwavering resolve for what's right, she accomplished what she set out to do : protect those that need it. Tamora Pierce created a beautiful way to show that just because you aren't societies view of special, doesn't mean your aren't special at all.
Profile Image for Erin.
577 reviews28 followers
July 5, 2016
This book was pretty unputdownable; pretty action packed from beginning to end. Thinking back, there actually wasn't that much action at the beginning per se, but there's a sort of divine prophecy that starts to book off, so even when not much is happening there's still this level of expectation. I had so much empathy for Kel and everyone around her throughout the story (Jeez, why is no one sending her backup when she's got hundreds of civilians to defend and weekly raids from the enemy??) The little spurts of action left me nettled and on edge for all the characters.

Kel is definitely a kick-ass fighter and strategist, but she's kind of dense to how other people are going to react/respond. Kind of a standing trait for heroes, though; I feel like I'm in a constant eye roll in regards to heroes have the "no, I'm the only one who can be risking life and future; go home the rest of you" argument over and over again. But of all of Ms. Pierces main characters, she's the one I'm most curious about for what the rest of her life is going to bring. She's the only one so far without a firm romantic interest developing by the end of her books (which was also kind of refreshing; because what are the odds that you'd be sent away from everyone you know, focused on heroics and war, and still have time to fall for someone new?), and we didn't get a whole lot of epilogue for her.

ETA: On rereading I realized actually how violent this book is. Not that Ms. Pierce ever dwells on the details, but it is a book about war in an age of swords and battle axes and they're fighting against monsters. There are a lot of deaths in this book and they aren't drifting away in their sleep. I think watching Game of Thrones has maybe added some new entries to my mental image bank to pull from or something, but all the deaths in this book struck me as far more gruesome than they did on first reading. And Kel now suddenly reminds me of Brienne of Tarth.
Profile Image for Alex Black.
606 reviews46 followers
July 23, 2019
I was just the tiniest bit disappointed by this book. I really loved it, but not quite as much as Squire and not enough to be a full five stars. It's only a little longer than book three, but it felt so much longer while reading it. The ending was exciting and there were numerous exciting things that took place during the book, but the first two thirds dragged a bit for me. I was still interested, but it took a concerted effort to keep picking this book up. I didn't fly through it the way I did the first three books.

There wasn't a pacing issue in this one since it wasn't taking place over a specific period of time. The events just happened as they happened, no need to skip long months of time. It takes place over the course of less than a year, making it the shortest time period of any book in the series. I think that helped the pacing, but it did make the book drag just a little.

Beyond that, my thoughts are the same as for the first three. I love Kel's character. The feminism is great. It's a fantastic ending. I absolutely recommend this series. You don't technically need to read Alanna or the Immortals first, but I would recommend at least picking up Alanna. I think it explains a lot about the world and helps with appreciating the books overall.
Profile Image for Anna 'Bookbuyer'.
665 reviews78 followers
December 11, 2017
Sadly this book is not my favorite of the series. But it deserves an extra half a star or so since the series in general is strong.

I love Kel and her compassion for the 'small'. I love her nickname 'Protector of the Small'.

I always am incensed when I read about the No Name Man and Stennum. I can't believe that so many people are willing to condone the deaths of children to win a war! -.-

I find the amount of war a bit tedious in this volume. I don't mind the fighting but it's just got a bit repetitive. :/

I'm sad that Cleon and Kel didn't work out. I really hope that Dom and Kel end up together. I think they make a cute couple. ^-^

I'm glad that Wyldon didn't have to send Kel to traitor's hill. He has really grown since the first book.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sakina (aforestofbooks).
371 reviews119 followers
April 9, 2019
Goodreads sucks, this got deleted from my shelf somehow???

I LOVE THIS BOOK MORE THAN I LOVE LIFE.

According to my wrap-up on my blog from 2017: I AM DEAD. I REPEAT I AM STILL DEAD BECAUSE OF THIS BOOK
Profile Image for Ella Gilzean.
37 reviews1 follower
August 2, 2022
I think one of the best feelings is rereading a childhood favorite and discovering that it's even better than you remember. I will forever love Tamora Pierce's works.
Profile Image for Connor.
370 reviews17 followers
June 29, 2017
Okay, let's see if I can explain how much I love this book without giving away the plot.

I frequently tell people that I can't choose a single favorite book in this quartet: each is dear to me in its own way, for its own reasons--each is different enough that, really, I can't quite compare them. Lady Knight is one of my favorite novels not for the kickass fight sequences (which are awesome) or for the fact that it's the ending of the quartet and, as you'll know if you stick around me long enough, I tend to hoard favorite endings.

Lady Knight is one of my favorite novels because it gives me an incredible story line for one of my all time favorite characters. Keladry is given amazing opportunities, yes; but she is worthy of those, as you know if you've read the other three books, and she bears the weight of responsibility well.

Lady Knight is one of my favorite novels because it gives me an amazing array of detailed, vivid friendships and mentor/mentee relationships. Kel's relationships with Neal, Owen, Raoul, Dom, and Wyldon are all fantastic, and I love seeing them explored further. Her relationships with newcomers Tobe and Fanche and others are likewise detailed, weighty things that are given space to grow and develop.

Lady Knight is one of my favorite novels because it is, really, a story about goodness. Like all of Kel's books, this is a story about doing what is right because it IS right, and because it needs doing and you are capable of doing that. It is a story about how doing good influences others; how brains can be turned into brilliance; how humility, not just bravery, makes a good knight what she (or he) is. Kel is not flashy. She's not a show-off. She is diligent, courageous, and skilled... but she is also curious, and clever, and kind.

Look, I could ramble about this series--about this book--for weeks without stopping. Kel's a fave, and this book is a fave, and everyone should probably read it because I want to talk to more people about the incredible character arcs in this series.
Profile Image for Hannah.
651 reviews52 followers
June 17, 2009
Reasonable finish to the series. Not quite the "perfect" ending that Pierce usually delivers for her heroines, but perhaps slightly more realistic. The final test also seemed unreal (more like a confusing dream sequence), and the neat pairing-off of the side characters, while Kel seems to have walked away empty-handed, was a bit anti-climatic. That's nit-picking, though, but that aside, the one thing that truly annoyed me was the extent to which Kel seems to have won everyone's hearts and magically transformed the society from fearful and dismissing of a "woman trying to do a man's job" to one that largely approved of and even depended on her existence and skills. A surprising and rather unbelievable change; there is no way people around her can change so quickly, even if she's managed to impress them. Squire and Lady Knight were unfortunately a far cry from the awesome first two books.
Profile Image for Wealhtheow.
2,406 reviews534 followers
April 30, 2021
Kel goes through her Ordeal, and comes out a knight--but a knight with a mission. She's been given a vision of the abominations being created to attack Tortall, and she wants to pursue the vision immediately. Instead, she's ordered to command a refugee camp. She hardly knows where to begin, but her years with Lord Raoul pay off, and she quickly gains the respect of the soldiers, refugees, and convicts through her organization, quick thinking, and hard work. But Kel can't stay off the front lines forever, and eventually she must face down the man who kills children and uses their souls to power war machines.

I loved reading about Kel's time running the refugee camp/fortress. She considers so many options, and works herself so hard; it's inspiring. I wasn't so thrilled by her climactic battle at the end--I felt like she got so much help from cats&dogs that she hardly did anything.
Profile Image for LibraryCin.
2,204 reviews46 followers
December 16, 2022
It’s the 4th (and last?) book in the series. Kel is now a knight. There is a war on. Kel is (disappointingly) put in charge of a refugee camp. She does need to train the refugees and has some “convict soldiers” (criminals who choose to fight in a war instead of going to prison) to help defend the camp, if needed. Although the training is going well, things go very wrong when Kel has to leave for a short time to provide updates/reports to her superiors.

I’d rate the majority of the book ok, though there were some parts where I got a bit more interested and would up the rating to “good”. Overall, though, I’m leaving it at ok. I do think the second half picked up a bit more over the first half.
Profile Image for Carrie.
Author 14 books39 followers
June 4, 2019
Once again, I was going to give this four stars, but the ending (the last hour or so in the audiobook) pushed it up to five. Really loved seeing Kel come into her own as a knight while still demonstrating her stubborn heroism and courage. I particularly liked the addition of Toby and learning exactly where "protector of the small" comes from. I'll definitely be reading more Tamora Pierce!
Profile Image for Courtney.
151 reviews33 followers
May 26, 2013
Wow! What a finale for such an amazing series! Lady Knight had to be my favorite book in the Protector of the Small series (although Squire was right up there too). The rest of the series interlaced the positive with the negative, offering the ups and downs of a kingdom on the brink of, and eventually in the midst of, war with the Scanrans (Tortall's barbaric neighbors in the north). Yet Lady Knight was the darkest read of the entire series, offering an eye-opening view of the war and its casualties. I was not surprised in the slightest when my friend Amanda, from Late Nights with Good Books, informed me that Pierce's writing was influenced by the 9/11 tragedy (which occurred during the creation of Lady Knight). The darker scenes made more sense to me after realizing the influence.

While Lady Knight had its dismal parts, this did not decrease my enjoyment of the final installment. I still enjoyed it immensely. Where there is war, there is going to be suffering and loss, and Pierce's depiction of Tortall was very realistic. Throughout the whole book, I was cheering for Tortall, and my faith in humanity was rekindled when even the weakest of individuals wanted to defend their home. Kel was placed in charge of a refugee camp, and while she was unhappy with her assignment, she made the best of her situation. She encouraged the refugees to fight, showing them how to defend themselves with weapons and training them just like she had done with her maid Lalasa and the younger pages. She was an inspiring heroine, as she cared for her charges and felt responsible for their well-being.

Once again, I loved all of the old characters, such as Neal, Owen, Merric, Dom, Lord Wyldon, Jump, Peachblossom, and Raoul. I especially loved the children in Lady Knight, including Kel's new servant Tobe. As always, Kel is driven to help the small, vulnerable individuals that cannot defend themselves from bullying and abuse (hence the title of the series). I was able to sympathize with Kel because she is such a compassionate leader who never takes advantage of others. She cares deeply for animals and others, and I appreciated her selflessness and devotion.

There were a few unsavory characters in this book, but there always has to be a villain. The reader can't help hating Blayce and his dog Stennum. Lady Knight reveals the darker side of humanity, a side that is willing to sacrifice so much for a shameful end, and a side that can hardly be called human. The book shows how war can never be divided neatly into black and white, the bad guys and the good guys. Even on the Scanran side, many of the soldiers are just following orders and it leaves Kel's forces torn when they must take action. It is hard to clearly define right and wrong in this book. It is all a matter of opinion. There is a similar issue with the immortal Stormwings, magical creatures with human faces and metal wings that urinate on fallen men in the battlefield, cake them in dung, and then roll in the mess. Kel is sickened by this behavior, even when it comes to the Scanran corpses. But the Stormwings cannot help their behavior because it is their nature. Lady Knight certainly raises some disturbing, thought-provoking questions.

As for the ending, all I will say is that it ties up all loose ends and was a feel good ending. The end provided closure. It left me feeling happy and upset all at the same time. I was happy because I loved this series and was grateful that I had finally read it. But I was upset that it had to come to an end. There were many touching scenes, and the reader gets to see how many people truly love Kel. Throughout the series, Kel has developed a following, and in Lady Knight, many of Kel's friends proved how much they really care.

If you have yet to read this series, I would recommend it to people of all ages and to fantasy lovers especially. Tamora Pierce is a wonderful writer, and while this was not my favorite series of hers, I still loved it. Now, I just need to read the Immortals series.
Profile Image for Debbie Barr.
345 reviews29 followers
January 9, 2021
Overall I really enjoyed this series! I wish I'd read Tamora Pierce when I was younger, I would have been OBSESSED.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
83 reviews
September 3, 2008
Kel ... is a knight. And as her first glorious duty, she is sent off into the field of ... babysitting?

As the war with Scanra blooms into all out strife, Kel is sent to the borders to head a refuge camp. Not her favorite place in the world, but then again, Kel is anything but a complainer.

Taking the reins as more old friends come back, and new friends join the mix, this adventure might prove to be just too much for Kel.

Just how much is she prepared to lose in the face of the ultimate evil? Can she even come back from that pit of horror and hell unscathed?

As 'Blace the Nothing Man' becomes SO much more than nothing, Kel learns who is friend, who is foe, and who she is willing to die for in the end. Even if it is not herself.

A thrilling conclusion to Kel's story.
Profile Image for Kylara Jensen.
787 reviews34 followers
September 20, 2019
This series is one of my favorites by Tamora Pierce. I think Kel is her first REAL heroine. Kel doesn't have any magic powers and she's not some tool of the gods. You can see how hard she works and when she fights the Big Bad and when she does, it's all the more satisfying because she does it by herself with all her friends.

I love the character interactions and the new characters. I love the end scene.

Also, while I usually love Tamora Pierce's character romances, I find it interesting that I am eager to see more of these characters.

Overall this is a great book and a very satisfying end to a great series.
Profile Image for Andy.
2,354 reviews176 followers
May 18, 2018
Ugh I love these characters so damn much. But like this book kinda killed me a little, . I think I liked the ending of Squire more than this one, I was happier with that one hahaha.

I loved seeing Kell in this as a Commander in the war efforts rather than just as a lady knight. She still gets her hero moments, but I loved seeing a woman in charge of so many people, gives me hope. I think the struggle between Kell wanting to stay and lead at Haven was contrasted really nicely with her desire to run off to Scamron and rid the world of the evil Blayce. Also,Kell knows how to shut down the haters.
Profile Image for Tanvi.
190 reviews21 followers
June 9, 2020
The first half of this book was endless rounds of “refugees come in to Haven, they complain to Kel, Kel has to settle them.” A lot of admin. The second half picked up the pace.

Kel continued to develop in this book, but I wish she’d delegated a bit more. A lot of it was her close POV and her getting involved in everything. I sort of got the sense of a prodigy. Not quite, because she clearly struggled, but I wish she’d seen that, say, other people were better at solving disputes, or that she’d picked up the habit of praying for the dead from another culture or another person rather than the narrative having to point out that she was the only person who prayed.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Allison.
737 reviews11 followers
October 3, 2022
Added 2018: I still think this is largely true! The first Alanna book is just perfect, but as a series this is stronger. There's also a lot of really good stuff about the practical realities of being a woman in command.

These are much better than the Alanna series. Better written, really solid on the horrors of war/the problems with the setup of the Tortall universe, and it's interesting to see Pierce go back to Alanna and Jonathan and show that they are imperfect, not necessarily likeable people.
Profile Image for Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen.
1,681 reviews595 followers
January 2, 2017
What a way to end a series....but as I finish, I want more of Kel and Neal and Owen and Jump and Peachblossom and Merric and Tobe and all the others in this series.

I know they are grown now but I just feel that something is missing ---- like the rest of Kel's story.

Does she ever find love? Or does she spend her life with the commoners and the children as her family?

I would love to read more about her even if she only shows up in another series like Alanna did in this series.
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,670 reviews1,269 followers
October 4, 2021
3.5 stars
This was pretty good, and even though Kel wasn't impressed when she was put in charge of a refugee camp, it was pretty obvious that she was such a good fit for it. She cared so much for those people and always put their safety and welfare first.
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