Genre: middle grade fantasy
Length: 240 pages
Setting: Corus, the capital of Tortall, after the conclusion of the War of the Immortals in Pierce’s Immortals series.
Summary: Short version: Keledry experiences sexism after becoming the first girl to openly start page training
Long version: Keledry has decided to take advantage of King Jonathan’s ruling that girls can become pages. While the law has changed, the customs have not. Keladry is met with opposition by many of those in the training school, not the least of which is the training master. She is put on probation for a year and many of the fellow pages (especially the older pages) try to drive her out. Keladry has grown up among the Yamani (her father is a diplomat). Therefore, she has some fighting skills and has been trained not to show emotions. She quickly makes friends with Neal, an older first-year page with healing talents. Eventually, she wins over many of the other boys when she starts to fight the bullies. Summer camp is interrupted y a fight with spidrens. Keladry passes her first year test and her probationary period.
Final thoughts: Such a good book. I couldn’t stop reading it and finished the book in a single day. There are some strong similarities to the Alanna books since Keladry is the only girl in page training. She gets to be honest about her sex, though, unlike Alanna. Keladry has a choice to make. She can either try to minimize her girlish characteristics and just become one of the guys, or emphasize the fact that she’s a girl. Keladry choose the second option, mainly be wearing dresses every chance she has. I’m not sure I could believe she was a 10-year old. There were many occasions she acted too mature, usually when in danger. In particular, I’m not sure I could believe a 10-year (girl) would be patrolling the halls, picking fights with the bullies. I did enjoy Lakadry’s rapport with the animals. She rode Peachblossom mainly to keep him from being killed for uselessness, even though he was large for her. My favorite were the flock of sparrows she adopted. At first, they were just a speck of brightness and friendship in a difficult time. There were actively helpful when the pages went off for their summer camping. Just goes to show that it pays to be kind to all.
Title comes from: Keladry was on probation until the end of her first year, which culminates in the First Year Test.
Reading challenges fulfilled: book #27 for 2019
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