First Test: Book 1 Of The Protector Of The Small Quartet by Tamora PierceFirst Test: Book 1 Of The Protector Of The Small Quartet by Tamora Pierce

First Test: Book 1 Of The Protector Of The Small Quartet

byTamora Pierce

Paperback | August 24, 2004

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Kel will not allow this first test to be her last. Her adventure begins in the New York Times bestselling series from the fantasy author who is a legend herself: TAMORA PIERCE.
Keladry of Mindelan is the first girl who dares to take advantage of a new rule in Tortall—one that allows females to train for knighthood. After years in the Yamani Islands, she knows that women can be warriors, and now that she’s returned home, Kel is determined to achieve her goal. She believes she is ready for the traditional hazing and grueling schedule of a page. But standing in Kel’s way is Lord Wyldon. The training master is dead set against girls becoming knights. He says she must pass a one-year trial that no male page has ever had to endure. It’s just one more way to separate Kel from her fellow trainees. But she is not to be underestimated. She will fight to succeed, even when the test is unfair.

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
TAMORA PIERCE is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over eighteen novels set in the fantasy realm of Tortall. She captured the imagination of readers with her debut novel, Alanna: The First Adventure. Since then, her bestselling and award-winning titles have pushed the boundaries of fantasy and young adult novels to introdu...
Title:First Test: Book 1 Of The Protector Of The Small QuartetFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.54 inPublished:August 24, 2004Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0375829059

ISBN - 13:9780375829055

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cannot express how much I loved this book First read this as a preteen and again as an adult. I cannot express how much I loved this book! As much as I loved Alanna, Kel's story is much more inspiring. She is girl proving herself to be just as capable as a boy in what is considered to be a male profession. Parallels to modern day issues anyone?
Date published: 2018-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book I love this series and I was also a fan of the Alanna books. I like how different this story is and how Kel is a totally different kind of person than Alanna but still relatable and a role model.
Date published: 2018-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from i love this series This is the first Tamora Piece book i read, this is the series that led me to love all of her books series!
Date published: 2017-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 10/10 Would Read Again...and Again I have honestly read this series through around 10 times - that's how much I LOVE it. Out of all the characters Tamora Pierce has ever written, and that I've read, this is my favourite. Kel's journey from her childhood to her knighthood is so amazing to me. Part of this is the setting of a medieval fantasy land and how in that world girls were not supposed to become knights, but also because in real life girls were not supposed to be knights. I love Kel's journey quite a bit more than Alanna's because of their personalities. Alanna was super sassy, and while that is fun, I really wanted a girl heroine that was down to earth and just cared about justice. Kel is all that I hoped to be, and I think reading this as a pre-teen for the first time, and the many after, it just struck me how strong she must of had to have been to bite her tongue when she got reprimanded for no reason, when she fought with bullies, and also when she was made to have a trial year when no one else did. Even though it was sexist, she wouldn't take it lying down and showed them all. She is a little mature for her age, but it's explained away by her separate training in Yamani islands - which I likened to Japan to help me understand better, but they expected a lot out of their kids. The age span of people in medieval lands was often much shorter than it is now, especially as knights, so I feel like they had to age quickly. ALSO, Kel isn't some ridiculously beautiful and thin girl. She's nicknamed the "Lump", is tall and gangly for her age, and is fairly plain as far as we know. She's relatable to so many people instead of a model! Not to mention, she's an amazing fighter, and quick on her feet (training camp anyone?). At age 10, this is a great accomplishment. I think again, this is explained by intense training in the Yamani islands. “You'll see. I'm as good as any boy. I'm better." - Kel
Date published: 2017-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Role Model I read this book as a kid and admired Kel so much for her strength and gall. A great book for a young person.
Date published: 2016-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love Tamora Pierce! I love the new characters set in the same world as her other books.
Date published: 2016-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it Anything Ms Pierce writes is pure gold, and I love her new heroine!
Date published: 2016-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful! This is the perfect book to interest a preteen girl into the the magical world of Tortal. Tamara Pierce's world is an amazing because it portrays female protagonists who are great role models. I grew up reading her books and they are dear to my heart.
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Beautiful World and a Wonderful Character to Follow The first time I read this book, I was in elementary school. Once I had finished, I begged my mother to buy me the next book because I had absolutely loved it. I was afraid that I wouldn't enjoy it as much again because I was no longer in the target audience, as with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but I was glad to see that it was still an enjoyable read. Reading it now, after so many years, I found that I understood a lot more than I did back then. Unfortunately, it isn't possible to enjoy a book the same way as I did the first time I read it because I can no longer discover it; having a faulty memory did help with the reread, though. It makes me sad to think that if I had read it for the first time now, I could've enjoyed it that much more because nothing beats exploring a book for the first time (and understanding everything in it on the first go). The beginning is what made me feel as though the plot would move too quickly and be without depth (which is typical of children's books), but after a few chapters I was able to immerse myself into the world and the pacing settled down perfectly - although that doesn't mean that I had an easy time putting the book down. The ending, while not abrupt, felt as though it could've done with more of a lead up, though, but it was a good one (although not so good at the same time since I remembered it differently). The characters are absolutely wonderful, too. It took me a while to remember characters since many of them were introduced in groups, however seeing them a few times helped make them memorable since they all behaved in their own special ways. Neal is my absolute favourite; his sarcasm and his joking attitude always make me smile, and I became fond of him really quickly. Cleon was another fun character, and even Merric became memorable. They all act in such ways that help keep them apart, and it makes it that much more of an enjoyable experience to have such a colourful cast of characters guiding me through the story. The Tortall universe is amazing. The different cultures are distinct and interesting, and magic (including mythical, and other, creatures) fits seamlessly. Having also read other series in the Tortall universe, it's also nice to see familiar faces every now and then (like Alanna and Daine); this is only with my second run through, as the Protector of the Small series was my first introduction to Tamora Pierce's writing. Things were explained well, and it showed that the author researched a lot all while only giving the readers what they needed to know. The path to becoming a knight, with all the adventures along the way, was explained without overdoing it, and showing how Kel learned her skills through various methods was believable. It was interesting how feminism was approached in this novel. It didn't beat me over the head with equal rights even though it is a major theme, and it wasn't too minor of a thing that made it a passing plot problem. Having Kel want to make sure people remember that she's female is interesting, and she doesn't think herself any less or better for being so - she just does what's necessary to become a knight, and refuses to let anyone's beliefs get in the way of her own. It might be a tiny bit overplayed at times, but considering the whole point of the book is that she's trying to prove that even she as a female can become a knight, then it's understandable. The end was different than I remember, but that may be because I'm remembering the end of the second book instead (or so I think). I wish it would've been a more overwhelming action that caused Lord Wyldon to have her pass her probationary period, but it was still a good end. The only problem is that I could have sworn that the probationary period was in addition to her four years as a page, but then again I may not be paying attention after all - it doesn't affect my view of the story, it just annoys me to remember one thing and have it happen another way. I'm glad I decided to reread the series again. I did enjoy reading it as a preteen, and now as an adult I know that I'm still going to enjoy the series because of how well the author presents everything. Following Kel's adventures, with a fun cast of characters, a vast history, many cultures, and an interesting plot, is definitely worth it, and I know I'll enjoy this series many times more in the future. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Strong independent heroine! Tamora Pierce is still one of my favourite authors, though I'm not a teenager anymore. If you're looking for a genuinely strong, compassionate, independent heroine, look no further. In a medieval fantasy world full of magic and myth, this protagonist achieves incredible things simply by being herself.
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Series I've Read in a Long Time I read this book as a 11-12 year old and cried when I reached the last installment of the series. This character is amazing as you follow her through the journey for her dreams. A great story holding the bottom line of being able to achieve anything you want no matter the obstacle.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Favourite through the Years I am a grown-ass woman who still loves this series by Tamora Pierce. I am a Pierce fan in general, but this series really raised the bar. I loved Kel: her morals, her hard work ethic, her supportive family and her determination. She wasn't born with uncanny abilities, but rather the plain youngest child of a nouveau riche family. Kel is very aware of her -- and her family's -- standing in society; her parents are diplomats, her brothers are everyday knights, there is no glory or particular prestige to her family. Her mother's brave accolades were recognized but not to the scale of Alanna the Lioness or Daine the Wild Mage. Kel decides to follow in her brothers' footsteps, and become the first recognized female page. The going is tough, with challenging teachers and cruel male pages. She does build a circle of trustworthy and loyal friends, but what sets Kel apart of her values: hard work, honest and loyalty. She always protects the underdog because she IS an underdog, but she doesn't let preconceptions keep her back. I loved the book as a child and devoured the series as I got older. Now as an adult, I personally lent my own copy to a young cousin who also fell in love with this story. Kel is my favourite Pierce heroine.
Date published: 2016-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it very glad to know that I haven't grown out of this series... I was totally transported to tortal. And this gives you a different point of view... like when they know your a girl.
Date published: 2013-11-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from First test Very good story
Date published: 2013-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing series Magic & griffins and girls in training for battle.
Date published: 2013-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredeble Kelady of Midelan whants to become a knight. And she can. for the past 10 years, girls have ben alowed to become knights. when Kel arrives she relises that some do not want girls to become knights. but Kel dosn't give up. on her way through her first year as a page she meets Neal of Queenscove who becomes her best friend. Will Kel be able to become like the boys? Join Kel and her friends as she fights to have her rights!!
Date published: 2008-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Warrior Woman! Can Keladry of Mindelan make her dream come true? Can she become a knight? In the fantasy realm of Tortall, the eleven year old Kel begins the greatest challenge of her life. Despite the many obstacles, Kel is determined to keep up with the boys and prove herself. Kel is a talented, intelligent and determined young woman, but is that enough? Tamora Pierce has created a captivating story with a heroine who defies tradition. This novel is filled with action, emotion, and humour. First Test is an extraordinary tale that readers will never want to put down, and will be read again and again. Nicole
Date published: 2007-11-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from New insight to the world of Tortall. i read the book because it was written by Tamora Pierce, and thought it was an interesting change from the previous books. The main character doesn't have magic and actually has to work through everything without magic. The book gives an interesting new view to the world of Tortall, from a not as magically related view. Good light reading book as always.
Date published: 2006-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from enthraling funy dramatic i read this book as a little light reading ... beacause it was by tamora peirce... and i was hooked you have to read it!
Date published: 2006-03-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This book is full anxiety!!! This book was really good!!! the author reallly dicribes kel really nicely!! I just cant wait until i read the next one!!!! I would reccomend this for 12 and up!! awesome book!!! WAY THE GO TAMORA!!!
Date published: 2005-12-29

Read from the Book

DecisionsAlanna the Lioness, the Kino Champion, could hardly contain her glee. Baron Piers of Mindeldan had written to King Jonathan to say that his daughter wished to be a page. Alanna fought to sit still as she watched Wyldon of Cavall, the royal training master, read the barons letter. Seated across his desk from them, the king watched the trainig master as sharply as his Champion did. Lord Wyldon was known for his dislike of female warriors.It had been ten long years since the proclamation that girls might attempt a page’s training Alanna had nearly given up hope that such a girl- or the kind of family that would allow her to do so-,existed in Tortall, but at last she had come forward. Keladry of Mindelan would not have to hide her sex for eight years as Alanna had done. Keladry would prove to the world that girls could be knights. And she would not be friendless. Alanna had plans to help Keladry through the first few years. It never occurred to the Champion that anyone might object. Alanna, half turned to see Wyldon better. Surely he'd read the letter at least twice! From this side the puffy scars from his battle to save the younger princes and princess were starkly visible; Wyldod’s right arm was in a sling yet from that fight. Alanna rubbed fingers that itched with the urge to apply healing magic. Wyldon had the idea that suffering pain made a warrior stronger. He would not thank her if she tried to heal him now. Goddess bless, she thought tiredly. How will I ever get on with him if I'm to help this girl Keladry? Wyldon was not flexible: he'd proved that to the entire court over and over. If he were any stiffer, Alanna thought wryly, I’d paint a design on him and use him for a shield. He's got no sense of humor and he rejects change just because it's change. Still, she had to admit that his teaching worked. During the Immortals War of the spring and early summer, when legendary creatures had joined with the realm’s human enemies to take the kingdom, the squires and pages had been forced into battle. They had done well, thanks to their training by Wyldon and the teachers he had picked. At last Lord Wyldon returned the letter to King Jonathan, who placed it on his desk. "The baron and the baroness of Mindelan are faithful servants of the crown,” the king remarked. “We would not have this treaty with the Yamani Islands were it not for them. You will have read that their daughter received some warrior training at the Yamani court, so it would appear that Keladry has an aptitude." Lord Wyldon resettled his arm in its sling. "I did not agree to this, Your Majesty." Alanna was about to say that he didn’t have to agree when she saw the king give the tiniest shake of the head. Clenching her jaws, she kept her remark to herself as King Jonathan raised his eyebrows. "Your predecessor agreed," he reminded Wyldon. "And you, my lord, implied agreement when you accepted the post of training master." "That is a lawyer's reply, sire,” Wyldon replied stiffly, a slight flush rising in his cean-shaven cheeks. "Then here is a king's: we desire this girl to train as a page." And that is that, Alanna thought, satisfied. She might be the kind of knight who would argue with her king, at least in private, but Wyldon would never let himself do so. The training master absently rubbed the arm in its linen sling. At last he bowed in his chair. "May we compromise, sire?" Alanna stiffened. She hated that word! "Com---" she began to say. The king silenced her with a look. "What do you want, my lord?" "In all honesty," said the training master, thinking aloud, "I had thought that our noble parents loved their daughters too much to place them in so hard a life." "Not everyone is afraid to do anything new," Alanna replied sharply. "Lioness," said the king, his voice dangerously quiet. Alanna clenched her fists. What was going on? Was Jonathan inclined to give way to the man who'd saved his children? Wyldon's eyes met hers squarely. "Your bias is known, Lady Alanna." To the king he said, "Surely the girl's parents cannot be aware of the difficulties she will encounter." "Baron Piers and Lady Ilane are not fools” replied King Jonathan. "They have given us three good, worthy knights already," Lord Wyldon gave a reluctant nod. Anders, Inness, and Conal of Mindelan were credits to their training. The realm would feel the loss of Anders-whose war wounds could never heal entirely-from the active duty rolls. It would take years to replace those who were killed or maimed in the Immortals War. "Sire, please, think this through,” Wyldon said. "We need the realm’s sons. Girls are fragile, more emotional, easier to frighten. They are not as strong in their arms and shoulders as men. They tire easily. This girl would get any warriors who serve with her killed on some dark night.Alanna started to get up. This time King Jonathan walked out from behind his desk. Standing beside his Champion, he gripped one of her shoulders, keeping her in her chair. ".But I will be fair," Wyldon continued. His brown eyes were hard. “Let her be on probation for a year. By the end of the summer field camp, if she has not convinced me of her ability to keep up, she must go home." "Who judges her fitness?" inquired the king. Wyldon’s lips tightened. "Who but the training master, sire? I have the most experience in evaluating the young for their roles as future knights." Alanna turned to stare at the king. "No boy has ever undergone a probationary period!" she cried. Wyldon raised his good shoulder in a shrug. "Perhaps they should. For now, I will not tender my resignation over this, provided I judge whether this girl stays or goes in one year's time." The king weighed the request. Alanna fidgeted. She knew Lord Wyldon meant his threat, and the crown needed him. Too many great nobles, dismayed by the changes in Tortall. since Jonathan’s coronation, felt that Wyldon was their voice at court. If he resigned, the king and queen would find it hard to get support for their future changes. At last King Jonathan said, "Though we do not always agree, my lord, you know I respect you because you are fair and honorable. I would hate to see that fairness, that honor, tainted in any way. Keladry of Mindelan shall have a year's probation."

Editorial Reviews

“Tamora Pierce creates epic worlds populated by girls and women of bravery, heart, and strength. Her work inspired a generation of writers and continues to inspire us.” —HOLLY BLACK, #1 New York Times bestselling author“Few authors can slay so effectively with a single sentence—I mean fist-in-the-air, shouting-at-my-book slay—as Tamora Pierce. All these years later, I still draw strength from her words.” —MARIE LU, #1 New York Times bestselling author “Tamora Pierce is a seminal figure in the fantasy field of writing, turning out one terrific book after another.” —TERRY BROOKS, New York Times bestselling author of the Sword of Shannara trilogy“It’s impossible to overstate Tamora Pierce’s impact on children’s literature. Her tough, wise, and wonderful heroines have inspired generations of readers.” —RAE CARSON, New York Times bestselling author “In the world of YA fantasy, there’s before Tamora Pierce, and then after her female heroes started kicking down the doors (and walls, and other barriers)!” —BRUCE COVILLE, New York Times bestselling author “Tamora Pierce is a trailblazer for so many fantasy writers, hacking through the old tropes with her narrative machete and showing us that girl-centered adventures are not just possible but amazing.” —RACHEL HARTMAN, New York Times bestselling author “Tamora Pierce’s writing is like water from the swiftest, most refreshingly clear, invigorating, and revitalizing river.” —GARTH NIX, New York Times bestselling author“Tamora Pierce is gloriously unafraid to give her readers joy and laughter along with adventure and struggle, to let us love her characters wholeheartedly and find the best of ourselves in them.” —NAOMI NOVIK, New York Times bestselling author “Tamora Pierce and her brilliant heroines didn’t just break down barriers; they smashed them with magical fire.” —KATHERINE ARDEN, author of The Bear and the Nightingale “Tamora Pierce’s bold, courageous heroines illuminate the journey to womanhood.” —CALLIE BATES, author of The Waking Land “Tamora Pierce is the queen of YA fantasy, and we are all happy subjects in her court.” —JESSICA CLUESS, author of A Shadow Bright and Burning “Tamora Pierce’s novels gave me a different way of seeing the world. They were like nothing I’d encountered before. Alanna stormed her way into my thirteen-year-old heart and told me that I could write gorgeous, complicated novels about vibrantly real people in fantastic situations, and to be honest, she’s never left.” —ALAYA DAWN JOHNSON, award-winning author of Love Is the Drug