I’ve been thinking about Keladry (Protector Of The Small) over the past few days, after finishing the fourth (final) book. Spoilers follow? Spoilers follow.
Keladry standing up to bullies.
Genuinely creepy magical constructs powered by the souls of children. “Mama?”
General ‘girls are great’ themes.
Buri agrees to accompany best-buddy Raoul to a terrifying family dinner and they end up in bed, off-screen. (Didn’t care about the couple, I just liked the ‘pattern’, as it were, and things-left-unsaid.)
Ungrateful baby griffin tears Kel to shreds and never even begins to behave better; a wild animal that doesn’t eventually act like a dog, basically unique in fantasy fiction.
No cheaty cheaty magic in Kel.
Kel being grumpy about being (kind of) the chosen one.
Keladry is totally single at the end, a truly independent woman, and no big deal was made of this.
Kel’s badass mother.
Morning workouts, pattern dances, weighted training gear etc. No montages for Keladry, no sir, she works for her strength.
Crown dying of old age, curled up on the pillow next to Kel when she woke up while all the rest stayed on the windowsill. I cried.
Loose attitude towards the passage of time. “By the way, Kel’s fifteen now”, whaaaa?
Cheaty cheaty magic.
Mostly dull characters, and plenty of ’em.
Lack of really decent baddies.
Out-of-nowhere magical wise-beyond-her-years waif shows up to deus ex all the info Kel needs, that was just lazy.
No real tension in action scenes.
I liked it a lot more than the Alanna books. The writing was better, I liked Kel more as a main character, there was less mystical boring magic stuff and more hard work for hard results, also less “Huh? What? Why did you do that? Why did you write that? What made you think that was a good idea?” moments. I’m glad I read them but I probably wouldn’t re-read. Inspiration gained from the books? Minor. Several small ideas, mostly of the ‘that would’ve been better if THIS had happened’ variety. Wouldn’t actively recommend, but if someone mentioned they were reading them I’d probably say something like “Oh, yes, they’re pretty good”. Beka Cooper remains my favourite Tamora Pierce series. Unless she really muffs things up with the third book, I don’t see that changing.
To close, here’s a dinosaur freaking out/delighting some kids: