This was much faster-paced than its prequel. Where First Test takes place over the course of one year, Page goes through Kel’s remaining three years as a page. While many aspects of Kel’s life are still challenging, many are routine, and it’s easier to glaze over them.
I liked how many of her difficulties came not just as personal challenges or girl issues – although she does start growing breasts and gets her period, which all women would read and just be like, oh girl I felt those feels – but that many of the new things she faced were the result of changes for all the pages, to prepare them for being squires and eventually knights. Lord Wyldon is recognizing that new dangers have entered their kingdom of late, and he needs to change how he prepares these young people.
Romance did enter in and play a small role in this one. Just some blushes and heart flutterings. I’m sure it will intensify in the next two books.
About the same as the first book though in that I flew through it because it was easy to read, not because it was particularly enjoyable. I mean, I was sufficiently interested, but if was unable to finish the book (or the series, at this point), I wouldn’t be upset and kept up at night wondering what happens.
Squire by Tamora Pierce (Book 2 of the Protector of the Small quartet)
You will be pleased to know – or rather, Abbie will be pleased to know – that I liked this one MUCH better than the previous two.
It is more action packed! Kel is now a squire for a real knight, out in the world, helping people and fighting battles and whatnot. Instead of just doing silly page things around the palace. The knight she squires for is a pretty awesome character; he’s a fantastic addition. and Kel gets challenged to jousts and things. It’s super rad.
Romance is also blooming more so than in the second book. I have to admit, in Book 1, I had someone different picked out for her, but I like the way it’s gone so far better than the other would have been.
I do believe my favorite part is the trial portion. Though short, the trial and surrounding events are going more in depth about the changes to the kingdom, the increasing of rights, both for women, and for commoners vs nobles. I also love that the labels involved are “conservatives” and “progressives.” I feel like modern, IRL conservatives would fight the use of the word “progressives.” I guess that may already happen though, what with Obama’s “moving forward” and everything.
I like too how Tamora Pierce doesn’t shy away from modern, mature thinking, despite that the target audience for these books is pretty much young girls. At one point, either in this book or the previous, there’s an open comment about men being with men is frowned upon and Kel thinks that’s ridiculous. In this one, as Kel’s romantic relationship grows, she has conversations, both with the knight she serves and with her mother, regarding sexual activity and, well, contraception, which here comes in the form of a magic charm. Which, really made me laugh, but it was a clever way of doing it, I think. It reminds me of the moon tea or whatever it’s called that finds mention in Game of Thrones, like, ALL the time.
Book 3 was also a little darker, for a few reasons. There were the battles of course, commoners and soldiers dying in places. and then there’s the Ordeal, which squires must go through on the journey to becoming knights. Basically there’s this magical chamber that the squire will enter at an appointed time, and I guess it sort of messes with their mind; it tests them, to find if they are worthy to become knights and defend their kingdom. Kel’s experience is the only one we get firsthand. But we get hints of what other squires must go through, given their reaction upon leaving, in particular, those of two squires who were responsible for some pretty dastardly deeds while they were pages and while they were squires. They pay for it in the Chamber, and it’s kind of terrifying.
All that being said, I’m looking forward to Book 4 more than I thought I would be.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
For those who are unsure, yes, this is “the 9/11” book. This is the one with the movie with Tom Hanks. Which I’m going to watch soon, possibly later this week.
I really really liked this book. It will give you some intense feels, that’s for sure. I mean, obvs, you have the little boy, whose dad died in 9/11, and he’s trying to stay close to him and his memory but then there’s this whole other story with his grandparents and you’re kind of concerned about his relationship with his mom the whole time but in the end she’s like, the best a mom could ever be in that situation.
The little boy is precious. He’s certainly a special flower, that IRL other kids and sometimes adults find odd, but in a story, of course, we all love him. I love how he talks; such kid-speak. Like when he talks about “grown up” things and he says “which I know about.” Like, in your face, society, I’m a little boy and I already know about vaginas and what are you gonna do about it?
and I almost always love books or other works that play with the format, the literal text on the page, to get ideas and feelings across. Like when the grandfather gets really long-winded and is discussing some heavy stuff and all the text runs together until the page is almost black. Or when our young man, Oskar, is listening in on his mom’s conversation with the doctor and there are spaces where he can’t hear or misses words. I love love love that kind of thing.
Admittedly, I was thrown off initially because I didn’t realize that the whole book is not in Oskar’s voice. We often switch to her Grandma’s and Grandpa’s stories, and I wasn’t expecting that. I’m still kind of working through the juxtaposition of their story and Oskar’s. Again all I can think are just “UGH ALL THE FEELS.”
So, the big part of this book is that Oskar sets out on this journey to find a person with the last name Black, but the RIGHT person, because he thinks that person knows his dad, and has information or something for him, because he has this envelope with a key in it, with Black written on the outside, that he found in his dad’s closet. So he sets out to visit all the Blacks in NYC. I just can’t fathom this. How any person, even a child, would take the time and energy to do that. But then, when you’re desperate, when you’ve lost a connection with someone who meant so much to you, all bets are probably off.