July 21, 2018 6:45 AM - by Tamora Pierce - Subscribe

"Keladry of Mindelan dreams of becoming squire to the famous female knight Alanna the Lioness, but she worries that she will not be selected by her hero—perhaps not by any knight master. When Kel is picked instead by the legendary Lord Raoul, the unexpected honor shocks her enemies across the realm. Kel must quickly prove herself up to the task, mastering her fighting and leadership skills while discovering what it takes to be part of the royal guard. A new romance is blossoming as well, bringing with it the rush of first love and the unexpected challenges of balancing knight work and a relationship. All the while, Kel prepares for her biggest fear: the infamous “Ordeal,” the last challenge that stands between her and knighthood."
posted by Eyebrows McGee (6 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I just want to say that I have crushes on many people in Tortall, but Raoul will forever be my favorite.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:34 AM on July 21, 2018 [4 favorites]

He is so totally the best, and I am entirely on board the Buri/Raoul ship. They deserve each other in a good way.
posted by asperity at 1:33 PM on July 21, 2018

I love this book because she finally gets to be under the command of someone who sees her skills and abilities clearly and isn't sexist. Some part of her relaxes when she realizes her time with the King's Own could be fun. Raoul says, "I have some idea of what you've had to bear to get this far, and it won't get easier." Then he tells her that she could be a commander, "If you have what it takes, the Crown will use you. We're too desperate for good commanders to let one slip away, even a female one." There's also the lecture about sexism for female commanders having love lives, where I'm most glad that he acknowledges how unfair it is, but that she still needs to know the current problems.

I also love that she's already made a difference, when I think she largely just hoped to make a difference someday. Buri tells her, "Three nights a week your Lalasa closes her shop early. She teaches city girls—commoners—holds, blows, and kicks that will help them escape an attacker. She learned all that somewhere.... There's now a demand for arms teachers for young noblewomen. Seven female Riders this year asked me for references to get them such posts." And she meets three girls after one of her tournaments who all want to become knights, which Alanna underscores by mentioning how many more were watching from the stands and dreaming a little bigger because of her.
posted by Margalo Epps at 6:01 PM on July 21, 2018 [4 favorites]

That scene is actually one I've always had a little trouble with - it feels like Kel blames Vinson's subsequent abuses on Lalasa's unwillingness to report him. I realize she gets corrected by Buri, but it always stings.

One thing I think really shines in the Kel books (and comes through particularly well in this book) is how lived-in and real this world is. Ship truthers don't have to worry, because Kel is literally doing the math to figure out how to procure and provide for the army.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:26 AM on July 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

it feels like Kel blames Vinson's subsequent abuses on Lalasa's unwillingness to report him. I realize she gets corrected by Buri, but it always stings.

I guess I like how quickly she got corrected when she tried to blame it on herself or Lalasa. Buri straight up says she's wrong and that he wouldn't have faced consequences. And that Buri follows it up with saying all the things that Kel and Lalasa do that are far more effective.
posted by Margalo Epps at 5:37 PM on July 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh my gosh everyone but the BEST PART is the trial, where the stern elderly judge fines Draco Malfoy Joren of Stone Mountain like five hundred ducats and when his lawyer objects, the judge says that it's because Lalasa "earns commissions as a dressmaker to ladies, including the queen!" and he has to account for the lost income. Not sure why, but the image of an angry elderly judge sniping "DRESSMAKER to LADIES" has stuck in my mind for years, I love it.

Oh, and then! Kel is completely furious that the fine goes to HER and not Lalasa and totally wants to yell at the judge and the king and Raoul is like CAN YOU NOT and so she gets a private audience with Jonathan and tells him to change the law and Jonathan thinks about it for ten seconds and is like, "yeah, sounds good, done because I'm the king." And this also annoys Kel because it isn't democratic and no one man should have all that power, etc.

Which reminds me, the fact that Kel never, ever, ever lets go of her grudge against Jonathan for making her do the test year and generally being political instead of fair is like my favorite thing about her.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:15 PM on July 26, 2018 [6 favorites]

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