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If Alanna is Dana Scully petite, sharp tongued, redheaded quick with a weapon, and with a penchant for shadowy corners and impossible quests , Kel is a much less exuberant Leslie Knope hardworking, dedicated to civil service, willing to put in the work to make a difference in her community I ll always love Alanna, but there was something particularly special about this latest comfort re read of Kel s story I ll never be as selfless or stoic as Kel, as willing to stubbornly pursue injustice and stand up for those who can t but I wish I was It might be a problem with the novel that Kel has very few character flaws while Alanna has a temper and Daine is shy and scarred, Kel is hampered only by her gender and the inflexible standards of the men in power But I don t really care if this is bad writing or poor characterization, because what s important about Kel is that all of her achievements are driven through pure, sweaty, hard work Alanna had the Goddess s hand on her Daine had wild magic and a divine lineage Kel has a powerful moral compass and an indefatigable work ethic and clear eyed determination toward her goals Kel has grit And I guess this resonated with me because those are the qualities most valuable to me right now, the ones I most wish I could embody grit Hard work Putting in the time The clench teethed refusal to accept power imbalance and the mistreatment of those who cannot defend themselves In another context, it s easy to imagine Kel as a doctor Protector of the small, carer of the sick It s funny how many fierce, bookish women I ve met over the years who cop to a childhood fondness for Alanna We were special, we were strong, we took up our own swords in her likeness literally, for my best friend Hannah, a collegiate fencing champion But I wonder if, now, at 27, Kel isn t a better role model To bring this back to Leslie Knope in the Parks series finale, Leslie gives a commencement address at the University of Indiana She tells the class about the virtues of public service, and ends with an exhortation Find your team And get to work It s a phrase that s echoed around in my head since I heard it, because it seems like the most important thing I can with my life at this point Kel has a team too she would not have made it through knighthood, to Scanra, without a solid core of people and animals willing to go to bat and war for her And she did the work she ran when she could have walked, she fought when she could have looked the other way, she faced her fears when she could have accepted defeat I want to belike her, andlike Leslie Where s my sword In The Final Thrilling Installment Of Tamora Pierce S Protector Of The Small SeriesFirst Test, Page, And Squire , Our Sturdy Young Heroine, Keladry Of Mindelan Aka Kel , Has Finally Been Knighted Never One To Rest On Her Laurels, Kel Champs At The Bit, Ready To Tackle The Horrific Magic Killing Devices She Was Shown In The Chamber Of The Ordeal During Her Knighthood Initiation The Huge, Insectlike Machines, Made Of Iron Coated Giants Bones, Chains, Pulleys, Dagger Fingers And Toes, And A Long Whiplike Tail, Feed On The Souls Of Dead Children And Are Systematically Killing Off The Citizens And Warriors Of Tortall Thoroughly Disgusted To Discover That Not Only Is She Not Going To Be Assigned A Combat Post, But She Has Been Placed In Charge Of A Refugee Camp Instead, Kel, In Her Usual Noble, Stoic Way, Swallows Her Disappointment And Sets Out Being The Best Refugee Camp Commander Possible Of Course, Destiny Has A Way Of Sneaking Up On A Young Woman Like Kel, And Soon She Is Fulfilling The Ordeal The Chamber Set Out For Her And Then Some Tamora Pierce Once Again Draws Her Legions Of Fans Into Her Story, Blending Humor, Pathos, Exhilarating Battles, And Gripping Drama With A Very Real, Very Appealing Protagonist It S Easy To Make War Appear Black And White, A Matter Of Good Versus Evil Pierce Finds The Shades Of Gray AgesAnd OlderEmilie Coulter Buddy reread w Monica 2 1 15 2 4 15.This book was a beast.You cannot top Tamora Pierce in YA fantasy I don t care what anyone says, they are wrong Now you can argue which series of hers is best or even which protagonist the constant debate between Monica I Alanna or Kel but you cannot argue her brilliance.This final book had almost zero romance Which would normally make me cringe, but in true Tamora fashion you are so involved with her characters you just don t care I rooted for each and every one of them her side characters have purpose, not merely artificial compliments to her main character.My one itsy bitsy issue with this one Cleon view spoiler Tamora, I get why you let him go but you could have given my 10th grade self a little warning that the romance would end without a final meet between characters That was cruel hide spoiler It s been a very Tamora Pierce week I reread all the Kel books, two of the Alanna books, and now I m filling in the gaps between post earthquake Tortall and Kel s Tortall with the first Daine book Anyway, I don t have a lot to say about this I first read it years ago, and it was never my favorite Kel book There are really great moments, like when Raoul gets angry at Wyldon little character asides that rise to the heights of previous books but mostly this is a book where Kel is beloved by everyone worthwhile, and she almost single handedly wins the war She s too perfect here It s frustrating I love this world, I really do And I love how Pierce paints with strokes just fine enough to suggest an entire world of detail outside her descriptions, because that gives Tortall a richness beyond what she actually depicts But her strength lies in plots where characters are challenged, and Kel isn t challenged much here The Numair series has a release date now, and I have to say I m nervous about it Pierce hasn t done all that well with fill in the blanks books until now see Melting Stones and I don t want past books as much as future ones That s so muchcompelling what does happen next in this constantly changing realm Given the past week s events, it s been especially nice to escape into a fantasy realm where knights risk their lives to defend refugees.Side note I wish Goodreads had a way to track re reads of books, because I ve been returning to this one since sixth grade. This was all set up to be a wonderful conclusion The pacing was quick, Kel has developed into my favorite Tamora Pierce character thus far, and we had easily the most evil villain Tortall has produced thus far for our heroine to vanquish.Everything up until the last few chapters, I really liked I enjoyed her new command, what she made of it, and how she disobeyed orders to go after captured innocents, disregarding their station as peasant class individuals Very in keeping with her character as the girl who saved her maid, risking her own advancement of her dream It s not that I hated the last few chapters, they just felt a bit lame Maybe it wouldn t have been so bad if it weren t the last book in the series, but I didn t feel it was the thrilling conclusion Kel deserved Everything wrapped up nice and neat in a couple chapters, and everyone got to live happily ever after No real sense of suspense or drama, just put the sword glaive, actually through the bad guy and ride off into the sunset I appreciate the complete disregard of the love triangle earlier in the series, and the focus on Kel as an individual coming into adulthood on her own Kel as a character is the best and most smoothly developed I ve read from Tamora Pierce I think she warranted a better ending. Sadly this book is not my favorite of the series But it deserves an extra half a star or so since the series in general is strong.I love Kel and her compassion for the small I love her nickname Protector of the Small I always am incensed when I read about the No Name Man and Stennum I can t believe that so many people are willing to condone the deaths of children to win a war I find the amount of war a bit tedious in this volume I don t mind the fighting but it s just got a bit repetitive I m sad that Cleon and Kel didn t work out I really hope that Dom and Kel end up together I think they make a cute couple I m glad that Wyldon didn t have to send Kel to traitor s hill He has really grown since the first book. Ugh I love these characters so damn much But like this book kinda killed me a little, view spoiler WHY DID YOU HAVE TO SINK MY SHIP TAMORA WHYY hide spoiler Goodreads sucks, this got deleted from my shelf somehow I LOVE THIS BOOK MORE THAN I LOVE LIFE.According to my wrap up on my blog from 2017 I AM DEAD I REPEAT I AM STILL DEAD BECAUSE OF THIS BOOK This book was pretty unputdownable pretty action packed from beginning to end Thinking back, there actually wasn t that much action at the beginning per se, but there s a sort of divine prophecy that starts to book off, so even when not much is happening there s still this level of expectation I had so much empathy for Kel and everyone around her throughout the story Jeez, why is no one sending her backup when she s got hundreds of civilians to defend and weekly raids from the enemy The little spurts of action left me nettled and on edge for all the characters.Kel is definitely a kick ass fighter and strategist, but she s kind of dense to how other people are going to react respond Kind of a standing trait for heroes, though I feel like I m in a constant eye roll in regards to heroes have the no, I m the only one who can be risking life and future go home the rest of you argument over and over again But of all of Ms Pierces main characters, she s the one I m most curious about for what the rest of her life is going to bring She s the only one so far without a firm romantic interest developing by the end of her books which was also kind of refreshing because what are the odds that you d be sent away from everyone you know, focused on heroics and war, and still have time to fall for someone new , and we didn t get a whole lot of epilogue for her.ETA On rereading I realized actually how violent this book is Not that Ms Pierce ever dwells on the details, but it is a book about war in an age of swords and battle axes and they re fighting against monsters There are a lot of deaths in this book and they aren t drifting away in their sleep I think watching Game of Thrones has maybe added some new entries to my mental image bank to pull from or something, but all the deaths in this book struck me as fargruesome than they did on first reading And Kel now suddenly reminds me of Brienne of Tarth.