Series: Protector of the Small #3
Author: Tamora Pierce
Publish date: May 22nd 2001 by Random House Books for Young Readers
At the age of 14 and standing 5 foot 10, Keladry of Mindelan is a squire. A squire serves and learns from a seasoned knight for four years, then faces a final test. That final test is the Ordeal, which takes place in a magical room called the Chamber. There, a squire encounters the parts of him or herself that the Chamber deems to be the most difficult to face–be they fears, failings, or unrepented wicked deeds. Does Kel have what it takes to survive?
Despite the odds being stacked against her, Kel has made it to being a squire and gotten some respect that’s been hard-won. But now, at the beginning of the book, she’s angsting– most of her friends have had knight-masters pick them to squire for them, but she remains at the castle, horrified by her own imaginings of squiring for a scholar knight like Sir Myles.
Glory, glory hallelujah though! The hilarious and respected Lord Raoul, commander of the King’s Own chooses Kel. Despite the fact that she’s a little bummed because Lady Alanna (Kel’s idol) picked Neal as her squire instead of Kel, it doesn’t matter.
Except the world hasn’t changed all that much, as some people close to Raoul worry over his delicate reputation– that people will say he only picked Kel so they could hook up. TO WHICH I SAY EWEWEW, YOU DIRTY PERVS, HE IS SO MUCH OLDER THAN HER.
One of the highlights of Kel’s squiredom is that she winds up rescuing a baby griffin– who NOBODY FREAKING LIKES. Worst pet ever.
Raoul and the Own are required to join the Progress, which is really a tour and celebration around the kingdom, celebrating Prince Roald’s engagement to a princess of the Yamani Islands, which Kel is actually pretty happy to celebrate because she knows said princess and Roald is a friend from her page days! On the Progress, Raoul convinces Kel to participate in a lot of the tournaments and she does SO WELL, while simultaneously inspiring young girls to seek their shields.
On the road, Kel strikes up a romance with Cleon which is just fine, but doesn’t make me all “!!!” I care far more about Kel being awesome by her own bad self. Joren and co are put to trial for the events in Page when they had Kel’s maid Lalasa kidnapped. And hooray! They’re found guilty! NOT hooray: All they have to do since they’re nobles is pay a fine. This makes Kel all:
During Kel’s tenure as a squire, some of her older friends are having their Ordeal into knighthood. The Chamber of Ordeal is an enigma and a mystery, and every time Kel can, she tests herself against it in preparation for her own Ordeal which approaches ever so quickly.
The baby griffin’s parents finally catch up with Kel and their demon offspring and as a thanks for taking care of it, grant her some of their feathers, which make an arrow strike true, let her see through illusions, and get honesty from people.
FINALLY, Kel comes through the Chamber and passes her ordeal! She’s a LADY KNIGHT at long last. EVERYBODY DANCE NOW.
Kel being awesome quote(s) of the book
“Do we say, Oh now I’m going to be nice to the weak and the small? Or do we do as we learned when we were pages?”
““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.”
Honorary mention for Lord Raoul being awesome
“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.”