Keladry of Mindelan continues her training to become a squire with the aid of a new maid, the support of her friends, interference from some other pages, and some serious, even dangerous opposition. The three years of training required will not be easy.
"What was that about?" Neal demanded.
Kel turned. All of her friends were arrayed at her back. "He says he's changed."
"I suppose he could have changed," Neal said dryly. "I myself have noticed my growing resemblance to a daffodil." The other pages snorted.
Kel eyed her friend. "You do look yellow around the edges," she told him, her face quite serious. "I hadn't wanted to bring it up."
"We daffodils like to have things brought up," Neal said, slinging an arm around her shoulders. "It reminds us of spring."
Covering the next three years of her page training, Page really delves into Kel’s day-to-day life, her relationships, and her training. She takes on a maid, is adopted by animals who are smarter than they should be thanks to Daine’s influence in Corus, and never allows herself to fall short of her goals and her responsibilities.
The reason I find Protector of the Small to be the best series in the Tortall universe is what sets Kel apart from the previous protagonists. I loved Alanna and Daine, but they always had their magic to fall back on when needed. I’m sure there were a lot of downsides to having the Gift or wild magic but once they learned how to use their magic, it was much more of a help than a hindrance. Alanna was guided by the Goddess and could use her magic to heal and to protect herself. Daine could call on the animals around her for help and support. Whereas Kel needs to work and fight for everything she wants. Luckily, in this instalment, she starts to develop strong friendships which will support her in the future when she needs it. It also helps that everyone around her sees how hard she works and pushes herself to be better and stronger every day.
Kel continues to be an inspiring protagonist, willing to do whatever it takes to achieve her goals and to protect those around her. All of the characters in Page are well-written and well-developed. They’re funny and interesting and add depth and colour to the narrative. Having characters from the Song of the Lioness and Immortals continue to show up from time to time is wonderful and adds to the nostalgia. No matter how many times I read this series I’m always enthralled and can’t help but to devour every page.