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The third book in the New York Times bestselling series from the fantasy author who is a legend TAMORA PIERCE.

The path to knighthood is full of surprises. . . .

Keladry of Mindelan dreams of becoming squire to the famous female knight Alanna the Lioness, but she worries that she will not be selected by her hero—perhaps not by any knight master. When Kel is picked instead by the legendary Lord Raoul, the unexpected honor shocks her enemies across the realm. Kel must quickly prove herself up to the task, mastering her fighting and leadership skills while discovering what it takes to be part of the royal guard. A new romance is blossoming as well, bringing with it the rush of first love and the unexpected challenges of balancing knight work and a relationship. All the while, Kel prepares for her biggest the infamous “Ordeal,” the last challenge that stands between her and knighthood.

More timely than ever, the Protector of the Small series is Anti-Bullying 101 while also touching on issues of bravery, friendship, and dealing humanely with refugees against a backdrop of an action-packed fantasy adventure.

"Tamora Pierce's books shaped me not only as a young writer but also as a young woman. She is a pillar, an icon, and an inspiration. Cracking open one of her marvelous novels always feels like coming home."
— SARAH J. MAAS , #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Tamora Pierce didn't just blaze a trail. Her heroines cut a swath through the fantasy world with wit, strength, and savvy. Her stories still lead the vanguard today. Pierce is the real lioness, and we're all just running to keep pace."
— LEIGH BARDUGO , #1 New York Times bestselling author

432 pages, Paperback

First published May 22, 2001

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About the author

Tamora Pierce

106 books83.5k 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 1,005 reviews
Profile Image for Kogiopsis.
772 reviews1,498 followers
August 24, 2011
This was supposed to be the one where I let myself reminisce, and I had all sorts of ideas for things I wanted to say, but now they all sort of sound like oversharing and I don't feel like making you uncomfortable, so I'm not going to do that.


It has come to my attention that certain people don't think this is a particularly 'moral' book. Not to name any names, but there are only two one-star reviews for it so I think you'll be able to find the one I mean pretty easily. I don't believe in trolling, and I'm not sure I could respond to that review without trolling, so I choose to write my rebuttal here.

Point One: Kel knows too much for her age.
First off, she isn't fourteen for the entire book; by the end, she's had her eighteenth birthday. Second, the world she lives in and the life she's chosen to lead mean that she sees a lot of nasty things, but the way Pierce presents it is in no way gratuitous; it's wrapped up in maturity, which is one of Kel's strong points.

Point Two: She has crushes on multiple boys.
OH THE HORROR. I mean, MY GAWD, who ever heard of a girl who liked more than one boy? We all find our ONE TWU WUVS in our teens and live babies ever after, right?
I doubt I'm the only one who finds it refreshing to read about a heroine who has more than one love interest. I mean, how many crushes have I had in the past four years? Apparently, an immoral amount. Go figure.

Point Three: Kel has no intention of marrying anyone, but she does have relationships.
If I remember right, Alanna made the same declarations and, well, there are two books about her daughter now so...
But anyhow, in this day and age? Women get to have relationships that don't end in marriage. Just as they get to have crushes on multiple guys. And for the record, at no point in all four books does Kel have a sexual relationship. The closest she ever gets is kissing Cleon.

Point Four: Ilane, Kel's mother, buys her an anti-pregnancy charm.
Which is actually inaccurate - Lady Ilane tells Kel that she might want one, but Kel's the one who makes the decision and purchases it.
And I quote:
"Kel wore the charm anyway, as a declaration that she could decide some things for herself."

Clearly, my multiple crushes have made me immoral anyway, so maybe my opinion doesn't count for much, but I think that's one of the most empowering ideas of our time. That's what contraception is about, after all: giving a woman the freedom to choose when she has children.
(And seriously, DID YOU MISS THE MEMO? Kel's dedicated years of her life and ridiculous amounts of effort to becoming a knight. If her choices were either complete abstinence or babies and giving up her dreams, I would be pissed, personally.)

Yes, this is the future of 'heroine-ism', or at least it should be. Maybe some people would prefer Bella Swan to take up that standard, and I'm not going to outright say that they're batshit crazy but I'm going to think it. The fact is, Kel is the heroine modern girls should be looking up to - she knows who she is, what she believes; she fights for her dreams; she takes control of her personal life and her sexuality; she is smart and brave and flawed and human. She is the kind of woman I want to be when I grow up.

Some choice quotes:

Lady Ilane: "They know a woman's body belongs to herself and the Goddess, and that's the end of it."

Kel: "Maybe I'm the same whatever I wear, she thought. It's just easier to fight in breeches."

(Now, I will grant that this book is a little light on plot. The main point is showing how Kel gets to the Chamber of the Ordeal to become a knight, and the experiences that help determine what kind of knight she is. That's the arc of the novel; most of it feels fairly episodic.)

By the way, Veronica Roth: Chamber of the Ordeal > fear simulator. Times about a gazillion. You should have read these books and taken notes.
Profile Image for Bridget Mckinney.
251 reviews44 followers
May 1, 2013

Squire is basically everything I could ever want in a Tamora Pierce book, and if this series ended here, I would be okay with that. Kel really is a wonderful heroine, and I loved getting to see her finally achieve her dream in this novel.

Things about Squire:
- I was very happy that the trial for Lalasa's attackers wasn't forgotten, and I really liked the way that played out.
- King Jonathan is a great character, and it's been really interesting to see how he has grown and changed over time through the eyes of multiple different heroines (Alanna, Daine, and now Kel) who all view him from very different perspectives.
- I love Raoul. I also love how right he is as a mentor for Kel.
- I have mixed feelings about the Cleon/Kel romance. However, I like that we get so many of Kel's thoughts on it all. I also like that Kel models responsible behavior by thinking of and obtaining birth control even though she's not sure if she wants to or plans to have sex.
- I was happy that Raoul talked with Kel in such a non-judgmental way about her relationship with Cleon and how that might affect her career. Raoul's giving her advice and information that she needs to be able to make the decision that's right for her, and I like that he was willing to do that since she doesn't have access to women who might be able to tell her what she needs to know. Also, Raoul's awkwardness about talking to Kel about sex was adorable.
- Kel's discussion with her mother about sex is really interesting and gives a fuller picture of what Tortall's sexual mores are like.
- I have never cried so much over birds before.
- Kel finally gets to meet Alanna and it's everything I hoped it would be. Their conversation is so perfect in so many ways, and there were more tears.
- Kel's shield sounds awesome.
- The Chamber of the Ordeal is an asshole.

Profile Image for Rachel E. Carter.
Author 9 books3,513 followers
January 27, 2023
Buddy Reread 1/29/15-1/30/15 w/Monica (the other Tamora Pierce lover who thinks Alanna is still more legendary, hmmph!)

Read this series. If you love fantasy and action and light but worthwhile romance with a strong protagonist and amazing worlds and believable characters and awesome friendships and epic pets and straight-out-of-a-movie battle sequences then read this series.


Profile Image for Minli.
359 reviews
July 21, 2011
It's 2 am and I'm writing reviews.

I rarely revisit books I read in my childhood, partly because I'm deathly afraid they'll be visited by the suck fairy and partly because I rarely have time to re-read. Not so with these books. I began reading Tamora Pierce when I was eleven, and unlike so many others, I started reading her Circle of Magic books first. While I enjoyed them, I didn't understand why she inspired such fervent love in other fans--until I read her Tortall books.

And yes, I enjoyed the Alanna and Daine books, but until I got to Kel I did not love them. Alanna and Daine had their own, very powerful brands of magic--Alanna had the Gift and Daine had wild magic, and Kel? What did she have? Blood, sweat and tears, dammit!

I remember being thirteen and waiting, waiting for Lady Knight to come out. The Kel books were my books, and I will defend them to the death. If you don't want to hear about why I think the Kel books are the best Tortall books EVER and Kel is the best heroine EVER, then you probably want to skip this.

- I love how Kel sweats. She doesn't have a goddess helping her, nor is she a demi-goddess herself (ahem!), she has NO MAGIC WHATSOEVER. Her only magic is hard work and a huge capacity for compassion.

- This girl has got the strongest moral core I can think of, and she's so internally solid that, when faced with a dilemma, I sometimes think: What would Kel do?

- I'm a pretty tiny person, but I have read so many girl heroes who are runty and svelte, and I love how Kel is tall and muscled.

- The big one--this book is about openly being a girl in a male-dominated field. While I don't pretend Alanna's path was easy, I can't imagine anything more difficult than facing the same challenges as a knight-in-training with your sex exposed to everyone. Conservative politicians. Asshole boys. And worst of all, other women. And these people say so many nasty things, and get under your skin in all the most horrible of ways that can never go reported, that hit harder than punches and cut deeper than swords. It's the same hit you feel when you hear you can never be good enough because, well, you'll never be a physical match as the boys, and you must only be doing this to get a husband, right? It's facing all the other invisible things--like your hair or your period or people whispering that you're a slut--that boys don't have to think about because they're the neutral default.

My junior year of college, I went from a male-dominated field of study to a field with a lot more females. I now work in an office of almost entirely women, which I really enjoy. But a big part of me remembers what it feels like to be the token girl. Even though I was never overtly harassed, the "under your skin" insults don't get reported... much.

- Yet, despite the obstacles, Kel ultimately triumphs. Duh. But she has a lot of help--very important help--along the way. Her family is amazingly supportive, which I loved reading about, and she had a best friend who stood behind her from day one. While she had to deal with ornery Lord Wyldon, she also had the nurturing and easygoing Lord Raoul, two wonderful instructors that both shaped her into the kickass warrior she became in the end. There are the parts where she triumphs and defeats the bad guys, and then there are the parts that she can't do anything about, because people are so ingrained in their beliefs and will always believe what they believe, and it sucks out loud.

- Also, this book is so contemporary because it's one of the few high fantasy YAs that is about leadership, and not a hero from the darkness or the Chosen One, etc. I shan't ever forget the speech Lord Raoul gave Kel about commanders, or Wyldon giving her the bum job because she's the only one who really--really!--cared about refugees. Kel is both a warrior and a social activist.

- And finally, I love how, while there's some romance and swoonytimes, it's not the main focus and Kel is very determinedly unattached at the end of the series. (Oops, sorry, spoiler.) I'm pretty sure this is what turns a lot of people off of these books, and they are LAME. Because LOOK AT ALL OF THIS OTHER AWESOME STUFF.

This review is attached to Squire but is meant to be for the entire Protector of the Small series. I love every book in it, especially Page for the majority of academy training, but Squire is my favourite for the Grand Progress and Lord Raoul. And the crazy griffin.
Profile Image for Kayla Edwards.
486 reviews32 followers
June 25, 2022
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. I need to know that I can crawl out of the mud and be my own hero - no magic required.
Profile Image for AziaMinor.
471 reviews58 followers
March 7, 2021
Overall Rating : A

"So long as there are nobles and commoners, the wealthy and the poor, those with power will be heard, and those without ignored. That's the world."

"I don't except that."

Everyone should aspire to be like Kel. To stand up for what's right, even when it seems like the world is against you. I love ya girl!
Profile Image for lisa.
551 reviews17 followers
March 5, 2017
04/13: it doesn't matter how often i read these books, i inevitably spend half the time clutching the book to my chest and declaring my love for all of the characters and crying about how much i love everyone.


09/10: oh my god raoul, there aren't enough heart-hands IN THE WORLD. he is so good and smart and funny and amazing! he has such faith in kel and in the system, and i mean, seriously, people with stupid amounts of honor are such a turn-on for me, and hfurevhreu RAOUL.

neal telling kel who his knight-master is = ♥. end of story. and the scene at the end with alanna is so fabulous! it made me cry a little.

i also cried a little when wyldon resigned. kel's little speech to him and his response just KILLS ME. but his new squire brings me dumb amounts of happiness, so.

jon is still an ass, but thayet is awesome enough to make up for it. i really want the story behind jon talking his daughter out of becoming a knight, mostly because i want to see alanna threaten to stab him in the throat. (kel's conclusions about jon- that he is a great king, but not a great man- are my conclusions about jon. except i think he would be a terrible king without thayet and alanna and raoul making sure he isn't a dickface all the time.)

i love yuki and shinko a lot, and i wish there was more of them. neal/yuki is so fucking cute though (THE SCENE WITH THE FAN TOSSING) that i will settle for what we get.
Profile Image for Michael Campbell.
392 reviews50 followers
June 19, 2019
This is probably my favorite of the Tamora Pierce books I've read to date. Everything was incredibly well executed. Nice development, tie ins to past books in this series and past series in this universe, plot moved at a quick pace and rarely seemed to drag, and the scenes we've been waiting for came with the emotional impact I had hoped for.

Kel has really come into her own and stepped out of Alanna's shadow. The last two books were a bit tiring for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one and have high hopes for the last book in this series!
Profile Image for Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~.
1,634 reviews112 followers
September 18, 2020
Despite how Disney Princess Kel has become (she now has a dog who cleans her shield, 50 fricking sparrows, and a gryphon ), I am enjoying this.

Kel becomes the squire to Raoul, and even though she's initially disappointed to not be Alanna's squire, she quickly realizes she's better off with Raoul and enjoys his company and tutelage. Love is also in the air, though it's not easy with both of them being squires for different knights and rarely in the same place at the same time.

No surprise at all who was responsible for but it was neat to see Kel learn that she has to speak up, she can't always be the "Lump" when it really matters, even if that means challenging her king. And she actually loses her temper, proving she is human after all, lol. Also no surprise that it was I hope that was only supposed to be a mystery for Kel and not the readers too. ;)

I've been waiting for this quartet to finally pull out of the shadow of the Alanna quartet, and it does here. There have always been differences from the start, of course, because Kel is openly training as a girl while Alanna had to pretend to be a boy, but that just changes the nature of the abuse Kel has to deal with. So finally getting out of the academy setting helped to at last set this apart as its own story. And of course, it's much better paced.
Profile Image for kel.
436 reviews67 followers
April 23, 2021
God, I really love Raoul and the Kings Own. Like really love them and I'm so glad Kel got to spend her squire years with them because she deserved to have a good experience as a squire. I loved everything about this book, literally everything, and really my only gripe with it is that I wish it were longer because I would have loved to have more. I'm still content with what were given though.
Profile Image for AziaMinor.
471 reviews58 followers
May 26, 2022
Overall Rating : B+

Commanders are as rare as heroes...You've shown flashes of being a commander Keledry. It's my job to see if you will do more than just flash.."

These books are rife with lore and magic and wonder I loved every second of it.
Profile Image for Hannah.
551 reviews17 followers
June 6, 2016
Once upon a time in college, a friend and I realized we'd had similar experiences with this book. Specifically, we both started at book 3 in a series after finding it on a bookstore shelf and snapping it up on a whim.

I go back and forth about whether Protector of the Small or Trickster's Choice represent my favorite Tamora Pierce books, but this one's definitely my favorite within the Protector of the Small framework.

The entire series revolves around Kel, beginning at age 10 when she's the first girl to commit to knight's training while actually admitting she's a girl. They are school/training the hero stories at heart - and wonderful in that respect - if a little childish when the main plots of 1 & 2 revolve around bullies.

Books 3 & 4, however, have a more YA (or traditional fantasy) feel, with Kel significantly older, taking on bigger responsibilities and concerns, and juggling a more mature plot and lengthier tome at the same time.

If "girl training to be a knight" sounds like it might be up your alley, I can highly recommend this series. I can also recommend Squire as a starting point. Enough of the backstory is explained.

Hell, I never even got to read book 2 (Page) until I was at least 3 rereads in. Lots of mentally filling in blanks there, and I ultimately didn't miss anything.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,774 reviews1,776 followers
July 30, 2015
Funnily enough, Squire follows our heroine, Keladry of Mindelan, through her years as a squire. I know, right? Who'd have guessed.

I'm not sure why I'm being so snarky about this, the book was lovely. At this point in the series, I'm not sure if there's any more apt of a word to describe Kel than to say she's 'steadfast.' She not only survives her (3-4?) years as a squire -- and she squires for no less of a knight than Raoul of Goldenlake, the commander of the King's Own, protectors of the realm -- she thrives. Not to say that she isn't presented with challenges, because she is. She has to prove to almost every person she encounters that she deserves to be where she's at. They come at her with derision and violence, and she defeats them by doing nothing more than being herself: a skilled fighter and commander in training with a knack for winning the loyalty of others (be it human, animal, or immortal).

Squire also serves as a sort of pivot point for the series. Kel's old adversaries either admit defeat (Lord Wyldon ) or are defeated, but not always by what you would expect (Joren and Vinson, the bullies from books one and two ). But as soon as old adversaries are removed from Kel's path, new ones begin to show their faces. Scanran raids grow ever more frequent during Kel's years as a squire until finally they are on the brink of all out war. The appearance of a mysterious, strong, and new mechanical foe on the side of the Scanrans heralds things to come in book four. Kel, newly knighted, will no doubt have a place in those events.

Oh, and also, there be some romance in the mix for the adolescent Kel. I can't say that I'm all attached to the idea of , but I do like that Pierce is so dedicated to providing Kel with an authentic teenage experience, even as the rest of her life is so different, not only from our experiences in the real world, but from the experiences of girls in her own fictional world.
Profile Image for Kaye.
214 reviews430 followers
July 13, 2014
This review was from my snarky early teen years. I only kept it up to keep a trail for myself of how I've grown, figuratively and mentally.

Since people see fit to stumble on it once in a while and leave long comments telling me how wrong/ignorant/prudish I am, I'm removing it.

And I'm removing those comments as well. Because I don't have time for that.
Profile Image for Marilag.
Author 9 books28 followers
May 1, 2014
Okay, I meant to do a review of the entire series, but Squire made my heart soar that I couldn't just step away and say: "Will review the series at the end."

Squire Keladry is a diamond. She's a girl undergoing her knighthood training some century after lady knights have grown out of fashion in Tortall. Save Alanna, of course; but to Tortallans, the Lioness is an entity in herself. So it's up to Kel to turn the conservatives' heads the other way by making her own statement: that girls can be knights, too. And as Kel is pitted against bandits, militarized Scanran, and knight-bullies on and off the tourny field, it becomes obvious that Kel is here to stay.

I frelling loved this book. It wasn't because old characters came along for the ride (though that helped). It wasn't because there was a lot of the Tortallan land that got covered during the Great Progress and then-some (that also helped). Heck, it wasn't even the fact that there were more badass Yamani females with their weaponized fans and glaives (though that really helped). I loved it 'cause I loved Kel's growth in all of what's happened. And I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear at that last moment, when she realizes who her "mystery benefactor" was. That was a supremely amazing moment.

And gosh, with how the Scanrans ended their feud with Tortall in this book, I can only imagine what amazingness Kel's going to be on come the final book of the quartet.

Okay, I can stop blathering on now.
Profile Image for Carrie.
Author 18 books66 followers
May 27, 2019
I was going to rate this 4 stars until I cried during the last scene between Kel and Alanna. I hope they get to interact more in Lady Knight. I really enjoyed watching Kel grow up even more, travel throughout the realm, and interact with some new characters. I particularly loved the relationship between Kel and Raoul. Can't wait to see how Kel's story wraps up.
Profile Image for Tanvi.
234 reviews20 followers
June 3, 2020
Damn, this was a fantastic book. Pierce has outdone herself here. The quality of the writing was leaps and bounds above Song of the Lioness, and the attention to detail given to combat, particularly tactics and strategy, was superlative. Kel herself matures exponentially throughout this book: we see her relationships with certain key figures, including Wyldon and her knight-master, change according to her newfound abilities. The jousting contests were particularly fun to read about. We also meet some of Kel’s Yamani friends and get cameos from Buri and Lalasa as well as Joren. The Roald/Shinko moments alone are worth the read. I mean... sure, the Yamanis are kind of tokenistic, but that’s a very small point. And it’s to be expected from Pierce for Tortall.

If I had a criticism, it would be that, although Kel’s Ordeal is more intense than Alanna’s, it still feels anticlimactic for the Chamber to simulate situations in the way it does. After what Kel goes through in this book, the Ordeal loses most of its power to scare. It also acts as a sort of deus ex machina in Squire, in a way that it hasn’t in other books.

The one sour note was Kel/Cleon. Kel does not read as aromantic or even ace to me.
1,410 reviews25 followers
April 9, 2016
This is confirming my conviction that Kel would stand up to rereading.

This is a delight. I'd somehow forgotten that Raoul is Kel's knight sponsor (RAOUL). This one is five stars because it just works. I'm not going to be able to explain it more than that. Everything about it just works.

I adore Raoul as knight master. He's the teacher Kel always needed. I love that she's to be a Commander in training. I love his relationship with Kel. Just as I love her relationship with the Yammani women, having contemporaries while being in one of these stories, I enjoy it.

Also, to go with my RAOUL. I would also like to offer a MYLES (Myles is the best). And a BURI. Because they are all awesomesauce.

Oh, and Cleon's pet names are a delight. Favourite might be "my sunrise."

Everything about this is good, in other words.

The only slight flaw is that the animal thing feels a little like TP wanted to combine Alanna and Daine. It's a bit weird. The whole "Protector of the Small" thing does save it though.

To sum up, I thoroughly enjoyed this on reread.
Profile Image for Andy.
2,527 reviews210 followers
May 14, 2018
THIS WAS SO FREAKING GOOD. I really shouldn't be surprised how much I end up loving the later books in Tamora's series, but here we are.

I loved seeing Raoul in this book with more of a role than secondary character. I loved getting to know him and he was probably the best mentor for Kell. He reminded me so much of a dad, I laughed at a lot of the things he said. At the same time, he did such a good job training and preparing Kell for a future as a knight.

I liked how this book was different than the first two. I loved the field practice that Kell got as a squire. She's also a fantastic jouster. Kell also gets another "pet" for a while in this book and I love her random ass collection of animals that protector her. Kell learns about her some more womanly things in this and I ship her so hard with a certain someone. Argh I just loved this so much.
Profile Image for Hannah.
148 reviews43 followers
August 5, 2014
This is my favourie in the series. I love this book!! Kel is now a squire to Lord Raoul, at first she is nervous but the two soon become very close. Kel gets better and better at fighting and leading people. Kel even starts a budding romance. I love the relationship her and Raoul have, I love reading about the realationships between a young person and their mentor! Plus I just love Raoul in general , he is such an awesome character! One of my favourite Tamora Pierce books yet and a favourite in general!
Profile Image for Sarah Cavar.
Author 11 books171 followers
July 12, 2021
Finished this in a second sitting today, it's absolutely fantastic. The best book yet in an incredible series, written intelligently and featuring prescient conversations on consent, sex/uality, and misogyny. Prepare yourself for weird fantasy racial stereotypes and ableist language, though. This was published in 2001, and though the themes are just as relevant....it shows.
Profile Image for Anna.
208 reviews68 followers
January 3, 2016
How do you rate a book if you were annoyed at its first half and loved the second half? In this case, I rate ‘Squire’ 4.5 stars – because the second half made up for it and because it’s definitely better than ‘First Test’ and ‘Page’.

I think one of the reasons I wasn’t invested in this book and I didn’t enjoy this series as much as, say, ‘The Immortals Quartet’, is because Kel’s personality doesn’t click with me. In this book, it becomes especially apparent since most of the characters I loved in the first two books – Neal, Lalasa, Lord Wyldon, - appeared only for short periods of time, and the main focus was on Kel. Kel has a lot of fine qualities – her determination, her bravery, her faith in doing what is right, - but she has plenty of flaws as well. She is often being harsh and judgmental, especially if her expectations aren’t met, and once she had her opinions on a person, she hardly ever changes it. I had that feeling in the back of my mind that Kel isn’t exactly my type of hero for a while, but it was after this episode that my enjoyment of the book was dampened:

Kel watched him [George] intently. She wanted to know why the Lioness had married this man, who wasn't even handsome, for all that he was well muscled for someone in his late forties. The only attractive thing about him was a pair of humorous hazel eyes. Nice eyes hardly seemed to Kel like grounds for marriage.

Yes, Kel did just judge a person she barely met and barely interacted with by his appearance. When I read this I actually sat there dumbstruck for a minute or so. To make matters worse, Kel herself had been teased because of her not lady-like looks, and her father was described as average looking while her mother as very beautiful. One would think that Kel of all people would know that there is more to a person than their appearance. To make it worse, Kel is becoming such a hypocrite on her own. She keeps a grudge against King Jonathan for not letting her become a page without a test, and she doesn’t let herself see all his other qualities - to her, it doesn’t matter that he can’t just change laws with a wave of his hand and that he is one of the best rulers you can find. She feels bad when forced to attend execution of some bandits – but wishes the worst kind of punishment for the kidnappers of Lalasa, even though their fault wasn’t as grave.

Besides, I find it severely unfair how everyone praises Kel for what she had accomplished, thus unwillingly belittling all the other heroes before her, and that goes from both the readers and the characters inside the series.

“Yes,” the King's Champion said firmly. “I had the magic, don't you see, and the hand of the Goddess on me. Everyone could and did say I was a freak, one of those once-a-century people. No one else needs to strive for what I did, because they couldn't reach it.” Alanna smiled crookedly. “But you, bless you, you are real. Those girls watched you, and talked about your style in the saddle, and the things you did. They swore they'd take up archery, or riding, or Shang combat, because you had shown them it was all right.”

So, did Alanna just say that she got her shield easy? Despite the fact that she never used magic to cheat or provide herself an advantage, despite her discovering she didn’t have talent for swordfight and still working daily on it with sword way too heavy for her, despite her being bullied so hard that she once had her right arm broken – and despite her keeping training and learning to swordfight with her left arm? Does that cost so little now? As for Kel setting an example for other girls, what about Thayet and Buri’s Queen’s Riders, a group of fighters dedicated to protecting the citizens of Tortall that accept both men and women alike? They were led by the Queen herself – how is that not an example that you can become whatever you want to?

So, what else was in this book for me to love? Amazing new characters? Not exactly – even though Kel joins the King’s Own, the force of the King’s soldiers, as Lord Raoul’s squire, hardly any of the men get a good focus, leave alone development. Domitan or just Dom, Neal’s cousin, is featured more, but even after the whole book we know nothing of him save that he has beautiful blue eyes and warm smile. Examples of Thayet, Buri, Onua, Lalasa and others show us that Tamora Pierce can write a good, multidimensional character in the span of one book, so not having any insight in Dom was a disappointment. In fact, I think that Lerant, Raoul’s standard-bearer that was jealous of Kel for ‘replacing’ him and developed a rivalry with her, was a better and more interesting character. Some more characters were introduced when an envoy of the Yamani Islands arrived in Tortall, bringing with them Princess Shinkokami, betrothed to prince Roald, and Yukimi, Kel’s old friend. They both were good characters, even if they didn’t win my heart, and Yuki and make such an amazing couple. It’s Yamani culture itself that I have problem with. It’s not unusual to base fantastic countries on real cultures – but before, Tamora Pierce would always add her own twist to it, making the new culture different and unique. For example, the Bazhir are basically Bedouin nomads, but their city of Persopolis, their shamans and the custom of the Voice makes them stand out, and Carthak is such an unusual and curious mix of African and Indian. But Yamani culture is basically Japanese one without any originality, except for the strong warrior culture that requires both men and women to know how to fight due to frequent Scanran raids. I didn’t see anything interesting or new in Yamanis, and I wasn’t invested in learning more about their country because it was so generic, and that was a pity.

Still, there were things for me to love – enough to raise the rating so highly. A lot of that has to do with the old characters I loved, especially the ones from the first series – Raoul, Buri, Alanna and others. Raoul and the King’s Own have a big role to play in this book, and it’s good. Raoul is an awesome mentor figure to Kel, and he is such a likable character on his own. It was very good to see Buri again, though I wish we had more insight into , though it was good enough as it was. And I’m very grateful for another side of knighthood that this book showed me: Alanna the Lioness was a lone hero who could afford herself to ride out into sunset looking for adventures and searching for artifacts. Raoul and the King’s Own are more closely connected with the people of Tortall, and it is their duty to protect them, a task that can involve both blood and steel, like fighting off bandits, - and more prosaic sweat and mud of hunting for local villages and pulling down buildings after earthquakes.

Plus, there was that one side of Kel’s character development that I absolutely loved: her budding romance with . Tamora Pierce really portrayed that mutual awkwardness, the light sweet romance and the mixed feeling of the first love masterfully. I just like how surprised and confused Kel was when she realized likes her and that she really likes him back! Also, I certainly love the way treats their relationship seriously and doesn’t push Kel into something she doesn’t wish. There are still some obstacles between them in the end, but I do hope they find a way for it to work out.

And let’s not forget about the ending! It builds up slowly – Raoul and Kel are called up to protect the northern borders of Tortall against Scanrans, but the threat is considered to be no more serious than usual raiding bands that are almost regularly sent by Scanra. Until it becomes clear that something more is involved, as usually disconnected Scanran clans are unified and something that was never seen before enters the battle – and Tortall has to prepare for this new challenge. But regardless of what would happen next, the world is going to change…
Profile Image for Jackie.
415 reviews39 followers
September 2, 2017
These books are so dear to me! This is only my first reread of POTS, but they absolutely make my heart swell with joy. So special. I already have an Alanna in my life (my two year old palomino mare) and I think a Kel is in my future.

Reading Tamora Pierce make my fingers itch to write! Maybe I'll be prepared by NANOWRIMO.....
7 reviews
July 2, 2012
Squire is my favorite book in the series. It is very much the "coming of age" book for its main protagonist, Kel. She has graduated from page training and become a squire, ready to be trained in the field by a knight...if only one would pick her. Most of her friends have been snapped up already, and most of the knights who intend to take squires for training have already made their choices. It leaves her feeling morose, believing that nobody would want "the girl" to train.

Luckily, she is proven wrong when Sir Raoul, a knight who has made a few past appearances, chooses her. At first, she believes it's out of pity, or because he was asked to by his friend Alanna, the first Lady Knight of Tortall, who has a vested interest in her success. But Raoul has his own reasons, and they are enough to convince Kel of his sincerity. Raoul knows of her past successes, when she had to take charge of some of her fellow pages when those who should have been leading them found themselves unable to handle the pressure. He knows that, with the right training, she could be a brilliant leader.

And so her training begins, as she travels with a company of warriors called the King's Own, commanded by Raoul himself. Much like previous books in the series, the challenges begin immediately, as she has to prove her skills to her fellow warriors and start dealing with the nitty-gritty aspects of battles, starting with tracking a band of thieves and murderers across the countryside. Meanwhile, the greater world doesn't stop turning, as the Prince is betrothed to a foreign noble and the Royal family takes two years to travel around Tortall in a Grand Progress to celebrate. Kel proves her skill in jousting tournaments while her Knight-master does everything he can to avoid the pomp and circumstance. But their visits to the Grand Progress never last long, as there is always a new crisis to deal with.

Kel continues to grow up during the story, living out her later teenage years as adulthood, and the ominous "final test" she will face to earn her knighthood, loom before her. The escalating tensions between Tortall and one of its neighbors finally reach the breaking point, and war breaks out. And the enemies have a special surprise that appears near the end of the book.

Meanwhile, Kel has dealt with teenage crushes, the usual prejudices she has experienced ever since becoming a page, combat with bandits and some of the first few battles of the newly-begun war before she has to face her last test: a night spent in an ancient chamber that will force her to confront her greatest fears and worst nightmares, a night during which she is not allowed to speak a single word.

Squire does an excellent job introducing new characters while retaining old favorites without making the cast seem overly crowded. It also keeps the reader interested and weaves a wonderful plot, despite being the same length as the previous two books combined. Kel continues acting as a "Protector of the Small" by taking in a baby griffon stolen from its parents, helping villagers rebuild their home after a bandit raid, and looking after the various animals she's taken into her care since the beginning of the series. Additionally, the end of the book sets up the final book in the series, giving Kel a mission that she must complete, one that will prevent a great deal of bloodshed and terror, one that she must not fail, at any cost.
1 review3 followers
February 29, 2016
The Protector of the Small series is by far my favorite series, among Pierce's works and the genre overall, and among the quartet, Squire is definitely the best.

The entire series is focused on morality, on the choices people make, and the kinds of people they become, and a lot of it comes to a head in Squire. Kel relies not on magic, destiny, and luck, like the enjoyably far-fetched Song of the Lioness and Immortals quartets, but on determination, hard work, patience, and a strong moral compass. Unlike Alanna, my second favorite Pierce heroine, her reasons for choosing to become a knight aren't glory and great deeds, but a desire to defend herself and others. To learn how to stand up for herself and others, and even if she doesn't make it, then at least she'll know more than when she started.

I recently reread the series for the first time in several years, and it's amazing how different things stick out to me now, than when I first read the books as a pre-teen. (Spoilers) I went into my reread remembering Neal, and the sparrows, and her glaive practice, and her fear of heights, and I came out with a new appreciation for the hard morals in the story. I remember now Lord Wyldon's shame and regret for his unfairness during her page years, and Joren and Vincent's, I remember Commander Buri discussing the executions at Irontown and how just because something is necessary doesn't mean it's enjoyable, or that it gets easier, or that it should get easier, because taking a life should never be easy. I remember the death of her sparrows at Persopolis, and now having lived through the death of several pets I can relate more to the sad fact that the worst thing about pets is that they rarely live as long as we do.

Squire focuses largely on duty, honor, and what it takes to do what is right instead of what is easy. From stubbornly unfair conservatives going out of their way to oppose girls becoming knights, to stubbornly fair conservatives like the old Lord Magistrate keeping watch all night with her in the Chamber of the Ordeal to ensure no one could claim her Ordeal of Knighthood was tampered with, there is variety and reality in the characters, the situations, and their choices.

As a pre-teen Squire gave me faith that people like Kel could fight through harsh opinions and sexism to achieve their dreams, and it also gave me faith that even people like Lord Wyldon, not necessarily bad people, but stubborn, prejudiced people, could change their minds.

This is the kind of book I wish everyone, young and old, male and female, would read.
Profile Image for Rachael (RedRchlReads).
163 reviews114 followers
August 7, 2017
4.5 Stars!

I really enjoyed Squire - definitely the most out of the first 3 books in this series. This book is where the series diverges the most from the same things that Alanna went through with her training. Squire covers all four years of Keladry's time as a Squire (obviously) all the way up until her Knight test. We see a lot of the world and of Keladry and the court as well during this book.

Squire deals with a lot more of the political aspects of Tortall and the court. So much so that a large portion of the book is spent traveling on progress with the court on a tour of the country. At first, Kel is content to simply be a squire, but soon she takes up the challenge to show off her skill at the joust. Jousting also brings to a boil a romance that has been simmering for the past 4 years. Pretty steamy if you ask me!

Sadly, becoming a squire also means that Kel is now separated from her friends. Though they do see a bit of each other at the court events and on progress, they are no longer together each day, all day. No more study sessions, no more patrols.

The animals remain, however, with the addition of a few new ones. Kel receives another horse, one much less bad tempered than Peachblossom, and also stumbles across a griffin! (Not a spoiler, it's on the front cover!!) Though there is also loss among the good and I definitely shed a few tears.

Kel's skills continue to expand beyond combat and she really starts to learn the ins and outs of strategy and leadership. Things start to turn a bit darker toward the end of the book, and the battle before Kel's knight test is quite brutal. There are also some creepy ass machines that I just KNOW are going to be some horrific device. Pretty sure they are created using dead children. Yet again, we see Kel take charge and leadership (which she did in the other books as well, but I totally forgot to mention) even when the situation is dire and other, more seasoned members are losing their sense.

The story ends in the perfect place. Kel has completed the knights test with shining colors and has met Alanna, The Lioness, for the first time, also discovering who her benefactor has been these many years. It was a very nice, wholesome finish to the book. Yet now, we are left knowing what must come and feeling no small measure of fear for what Kel must face in the final book of this series.
Profile Image for Emma Michaels.
Author 20 books687 followers
July 20, 2010
In this novel Kel has to go through four years as a squire before she can become a knight. For those of you who have read the first two books you will understand what I mean when I say: Yes! One step closer Kel just get through this and you will be a knight!!! Not to say that the adventure ends when she becomes a knight because in Lady Knight you realize the adventure is only just beginning but that is for my next review. In Squire Tamora Pierce as always hits the ball out of the park and makes a run for home base, passing wide mouthed catchers and players who are all stunned at her talent.

In addition, Kel has a little romance in this novel with a young man whose name I won’t say so that I don’t spoil the surprise! Did I mention there is a baby Griffon in this one? Because that is one of my favorite parts! Well… okay one of my many favorite parts. All I can say is again that Tamora pierce is a wonderfully talented author and her novels are never out of style or out of place. This novel is something that most girls will be able to relate to and shows the emotions under Kels solid controlled exterior. She also gets to use her Yamani Glave!

From my blog: http://EmmaMichaels.Blogspot.com
Profile Image for Stephanie Jobe.
356 reviews10 followers
May 2, 2012
This volume always feels like the time flies by even though it is longer to account for the four years as a squire. The book opens with Kel stressing over having not been chosen as a squire, but that is quickly remedied when she is chosen by Lord Raoul and so she continues her adventures with the King’s Own. It always baffles me looking back that the griffin is only in Kel’s life for less than a book because the creature is definitely a presence. (I don’t quite consider this a spoiler as it is depicted on the cover in her hands.) Obviously I love Pierce’s writing and story lines but I do have one quite fussy objection at the very end of this book. Up until this point Kel is a very self driven character without any of the meddling gods seen with Alanna and Daine and it is one of the reasons I love Kel. So I am always disappointed when the Chamber of Ordeals decides to give Kel a vision similar to the one handed to Alanna, pointing her in the direction of what needs to be done. It seems unnecessary when she has already begun to encounter the problem. Though honestly once I am into Lady Knight I almost forget this was done so really it doesn’t matter.

(This is the third book of the Protector of the Small quartet, a Tortall series.)
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