Bookish Things

A Review: FIRST TEST by Tamora Pierce

(And yes that is butter chicken and my copy of the book 😂😂😂)


FIRST TEST (Protector of the Small #1)

By: Tamora Pierce
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Synopsis: In the medieval and fantastic realm of Tortall, Keladry of Mindelan is the first girl to take advantage of the decree that permits females to train for knighthood. Up against the traditional hazing of pages and a grueling schedule, Kel faces only one real roadblock: Lord Wyldon, the training master of pages and squires. He is absolutely against girls becoming knights. So while he is forced to train her, Wyldon puts her on probation for one year. It is a trial period that no male page has ever had to endure and one that separates the good natured Kel even more from her fellow trainees during the tough first year. But Kel Is not a girl to underestimate, as everyone is about to find out…Goodreads

I am SO EXCITED to be rereading this series for the 3rd time! This happens to be the first Tamora Pierce book I ever read, so it will always have a very special place in my heart ☺️

I decided to write a non-spoiler review for those of you (probably most of you) who haven’t read these books yet! 


Kel’s story is so different from Alanna’s, yet similar in many ways. Both want to become knights, but in this case Kel doesn’t have to hide her sex like Alanna. Kel is actually proud of her sex, which took Alanna a while to embrace and accept. I love how she purposely wears dresses to dinner every night to remind the boys that she is a girl! Besides that Kel and Alanna vary in their temperaments – lol I put that so nicely. Kel is cool, calm and collected in nature. She does what she is told, doesn’t question orders, and thinks before she speaks. I love how determined she is to do whatever it takes to show Lord Wyldon that she can keep up with the boys (and actually do better than them!) She does have more to lose than Alanna, since even one misstep could send her home.

You might have heard me raving about some of the side characters on Twitter and Instagram. Well…Neal is slowly murdering my soul with his witty remarks and sassiness 😅 And I’m getting oddly emotional at Roald, even though he isn’t a main character. For some reason, what he’s going through makes me relate to him so much. Cleon is an interesting character – I don’t really like him a lot this time around, but that might change in the next book. Joren makes me so mad – I literally want to punch him in the face, though that doesn’t seem to work. I completely forgot to mention that we saw a glimpse of NUMAIR!!!! Even though he didn’t say much. Also, Daine had a few pages dedicated to her and it made me so happy – mostly because of the door to her room, which makes absolutely no sense, but ASDFGHJKL 😄 Raoul was also in here and that made me so happy. He’s literally like that big, jolly uncle you have who used to give you piggyback rides when you were a kid. Except he’s also deadly and can fight orgres.

Also, I’m just living for all this diversity!!! Quite a few of the pages are PoC. Kel herself grew up in the Yamani Islands and has quite a bit of that culture embedded into her daily life. There’s definitely some racism towards the Yamani way of fighting and their lifestyles – so that was interesting to see. Also, knowing what is going to happen in the later books makes me so excited!

I have to be honest – I’m getting all these feelings that I forgot about when I first read this series. IT. JUST. FEELS. SO. GOOD.

Kel being all anti-bullying and standing up for those who can’t defend themselves just makes me want to cry proudly and give her a big hug 😭😭😭 That scene when Lord Wyldon is like “what happened?” and Kel’s all like “I fell, sir” made me laugh so hard that I couldn’t breathe.

My favourite quote from this book has to be:

“I must be as serene as a lake on a calm day”

Kel’s Yamani upbringing has always been something that has intrigued me. I wanted to be like her – to be able to hide my emotions and feelings behind a mask and not let anyone in. I know that sounds horrible, but I’ve always felt that emotions like anger and hurt make me feel weak, especially when people notice I’m feeling that way. I’ve always envied Kel’s ability to be able to hide these emotions. I know hiding your feelings isn’t right all the time…that it’s important to be able to show your emotions and create a closer bond with people instead of being “like stone”, but for some reason, I still wish I could master it. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll go on a journey with Kel through this series and change my mind.

Okay, so that’s my review. I feel like it’s all over the place, so I’m sorry about that. But these are all my thoughts and feelings – mostly feelings cause honestly, who wouldn’t have feelings about Neal??! 😂

Have I convinced any of you to read Tamora Pierce yet? I hope so, cause you definitely won’t regret it!



2 thoughts on “A Review: FIRST TEST by Tamora Pierce

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