Kogiopsis's Reviews > Squire

Squire by Tamora Pierce
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's review
Oct 01, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: bucket-books, fangirl-alert, reviewed, childhood-nostalgia, teary-eyes

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.
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Quotes Kogiopsis Liked

Tamora Pierce
“Sir, people never wanted me to make it to squire. They won't like it any better if I become a knight. I doubt I'll ever get to command a force larger than, well, just me.'

Raoul shook his head. 'You're wrong.' As she started to protest, he raised a hand. 'Hear me out. I have some idea of what you've had to bear to get this far, and it won't get easier. But there are larger issues than your fitness for knighthood, issues that involve lives and livelihoods. Attend,' he said, so much like Yayin, one of her Mithran teachers, that Kel had to smile.

'At our level, there are four kids of warrior,' he told Kel. He raised a fist and held up one large finger. 'Heroes, like Alanna the Lioness. Warriors who find dark places and fight in them alone. This is wonderful, but we live in the real world. There aren't many places without any hope or light.'

He raised a second finger. 'We have knights- plain, everyday knights, like your brothers. They patrol their borders and protect their tenants, or they go into troubled areas at the king's command and sort them out. They fight in battles, usually against other knights. A hero will work like an everyday knight for a time- it's expected. And most knights must be clever enough to manage alone.'

Kel nodded.

'We have soldiers,' Raoul continued, raising a third finger. 'Those warriors, including knights, who can manage so long as they're told what to do. These are more common, thank Mithros, and you'll find them in charge of companies in the army, under the eye of a general. Without people who can take orders, we'd be in real trouble.

'Commanders.' He raised his little finger. 'Good ones, people with a knack for it, like, say, the queen, or Buri, or young Dom, they're as rare as heroes. Commanders have an eye not just for what they do, but for what those around them do. Commanders size up people's strengths and weaknesses. They know where someone will shine and where they will collapse. Other warriors will obey a true commander because they can tell that the commander knows what he- or she- is doing.' Raoul picked up a quill and toyed with it. 'You've shown flashes of being a commander. I've seen it. So has Qasim, your friend Neal, even Wyldon, though it would be like pulling teeth to get him to admit it. My job is to see if you will do more than flash, with the right training. The realm needs commanders. Tortall is big. We have too many still-untamed pockets, too curse many hideyholes for rogues, and plenty of hungry enemies to nibble at our borders and our seafaring trade. If you have what it takes, the Crown will use you. We're too desperate for good commanders to let one slip away, even a female one. Now, finish that'- he pointed to the slate- 'and you can stop for tonight.”
Tamora Pierce, Squire

Tamora Pierce
“And if wishes were pies, I`d weigh more than I do.
Sir Myles of Barony Olau ”
Tamora Pierce, Squire

Tamora Pierce
“When people say a knight's job is all glory, I laugh and laugh and laugh. Often I can stop laughing before they edge away and talk about soothing drinks.”
Tamora Pierce, Squire

Tamora Pierce
“I'm sick of this. Call me what you like, say I'm without honor, I don't care. I'm not getting on any more horses to whack you people with a stick.”
Tamora Pierce, Squire

Reading Progress

October 1, 2008 – Shelved
August 22, 2011 – Started Reading
August 22, 2011 –
page 109
27.25% "(This book is not 144 pages long and I don't know why Goodreads thinks it is.) I should have picked this up after Halo instead of Intrigues - in contrast to those two, I love everyone in this book."
August 23, 2011 –
page 295
73.75% "Raoul and Buri would make such badass babies."
August 24, 2011 – Shelved as: bucket-books
August 24, 2011 – Shelved as: fangirl-alert
August 24, 2011 – Shelved as: reviewed
August 24, 2011 – Shelved as: childhood-nostalgia
August 24, 2011 – Shelved as: teary-eyes
August 24, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Anne (new) - added it

Anne Wallis I applaud this.
I think a lot of the things you could say but just thought about instead are things I regularly rant about in real life about female characters.
But to be polite to the tone of your comment I won't say anything nasty.


I've read these books since I was ten and I've always felt they gave us real women to look up to. Women who have multiple crushes. Women who don't have perfect hair or bodies.

Jannah (Cloud Child) Great review and I completely agree with you. I think its pretty silly people are annoyed at the author for not writing Kel or any of her other female protagonists in Puritan principles. I personally have religious and moral beliefs which dont necessarily co incide with her characters but hello that is for many books and doesn't impede on my overall enjoyment of their development. I personally love how Pierces work portrays woman as the strong independent women they are.

message 3: by Bets (new)

Bets "By the way, Veronica Roth: Chamber of the Ordeal > fear simulator. Times about a gazillion. You should have read these books and taken notes." YES.

laurel [suspected bibliophile] I was going to write a review but this. Nope, can't top it. Your review is wonderful. This is my ABSOLUTE favorite Tamora Pierce novel.

Sofia Wren Great review.

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