Author: Tamora Pierce
Published: May 22, 2001
Series: Protector of the Small #3
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars
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*Warning: This book review contains spoilers for First Test and Page*
“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.”My Thoughts
― Tamora Pierce, Squire
Fourteen-year-old Keladry of Mindelan is not your average squire. For one thing, she's a girl. For another, she's almost six feet tall. And most important of all, her ability to pass the Ordeal that soon confronts her may determine her kingdom's future.
When Kel is chosen by the legendary Lord Raoul to be his squire, the conservatives of the realm hardly think she’s up to the job. Kel earns respect and admiration among the men, as well as the affection of a fellow squire. (Goodreads)
I have to say that Squire, the third book of the Protector of the Small series, was my favorite so far of the series. Finally, Kel has left behind her training as a page, meaning she can also leave behind the palace, the page wing, and the training grounds. Don't get me wrong. As I said in my earlier reviews, I loved First Test and Page, but I was ready for a change of scenery and Squire brought just what I needed.
In Squire, Kel is nearly convinced she'll be stuck as squire to a desk knight like Sir Myles when Lord Raoul, the commander of the King's Own, asks her to be his squire. As she serves Lord Raoul, she journeys across Tortall with the King's Own, witnessing firsthand how knights help the less fortunate and the victims of natural disasters. I loved how we see more of Tortall in Squire. Instead of being confined to the palace only, Kel is able to explore the far reaches of the land. We learn so much more about Tortall and its people. And since Prince Roald is engaged to a Yamani princess, we also learn more about the Yamani culture and its people, all of which I found fascinating. I love how the Yamani women are taught to fight and how they carry decorative fans which are actually deadly weapons when necessary. Before this book, we only learned snippets of information about the Yamani, but finally, we get to see an actual Yamani princess and old friends of Kel's.
As for the immortals, I appreciated their increased presence in Squire. We had the terrifying spidren and a basilisk teacher in earlier books, but, for the most part, immortals were not present. At last, we see a war with centaurs and learn some horrific knowledge about their ways of life. Then there's the griffin Kel unintentionally adopts, and the horrific Stormwings soaring above battlefields. It was enlightening and fascinating to finally hear about the immortals in the flesh instead of in a lesson.
All of my favorite characters returned in Squire. There was Neal, Owen, Merric, and Lalasa. I loved all of the animals and their loyalty to Kel. No matter where she ventured, they followed and were overprotective of her. I would have liked to have seen a little more Neal or had a conversation between Kel and him included, seeing as he is her best friend. But I realize that they had different knight masters, and they weren't always together like they were during page training. As Kel grows older, the males realize that while she is one of them, she is still a woman. Cleon especially takes notice. I loved the romance between Kel and Cleon because it was sweet while not being overwhelming. In fact, there was very little romance besides some stolen kisses. This worked for me because the main focus was Kel's journey as a squire and not her romantic interests.
One of my favorite characters had to be Lord Raoul. For a knight master and the commander of the King's Own, he was very easygoing and was, overall, an amusing character. He respected Kel and trusted in her abilities unlike the conservatives in the court. I also loved Dom and Buri. There was plenty of action in Squire as Kel traveled with the King's Own, fighting off immortals and bandits. There was also some jousting, and I found those scenes very entertaining, especially when Kel kicked some conservative butt. As with the other books in the series, readers could take away a meaningful, feminist lesson from this book. Kel continued to defend others and she stood up for what she believed in. She possesses many admirable qualities, inspiring others to follow her and listen to her command. Plus, she took care of a griffin who loved using his claws. If that's not bravery, I don't know what is.
The ending was shocking and intriguing so I immediately picked up Lady Knight after finishing Squire. This series has been so enjoyable, and I will hate to see it come to an end.