Laurel Leaf Publishing
The amazon.com product description:
Keladry (known as Kel) is the first girl to take advantage of the decree that permits girls to train for the knighthood. The only thing that can stop her is Lord Wyldon, the training master of pages and squires. He does not think girls should be knights and puts her on probation for one year. It is a trial period that no male page has to endure and one that separates the friendly Kel even more from her fellow trainees. But Kel is not someone to underestimate. . . .
I wouldn't mind knowing how come I end up with a backlog of books to review every single time I read my way through The Protector Of The Small Quartet. In other words, this is definitely a reread and my original review is here.
The First Test is a very quick read, maybe a couple of hours at most, and in my opinion, even though it, along with the other books in the series can be found in the "teen" section of the bookstore, the story is geared more to the nine to twelve year old set.
This time as I was reading it, I was much more aware of the overlays of other cultures, particularly the Yammani, that Kel was familar with. Perhaps that's because I've been doing a bit more reading on Japan lately and that appears to be the culture that Tamora Pierce was modeling it off of. It's an interesting little thing that adds more depth to the books though, at least in my opinion.
One thing I don't care for in this series, and I know I've commented on it before with Tamora Pierce's other Tortall books is the "Girls can do anything" message. I know it's true, I know it's important for girls to know that, but I just feel that these books push it too hard, that the story is there to push the moral. Of course, a lot of that may be that I'm distinctly older than the target audience, who might not notice it as much. I just find it a bit "in your face", even though I still really like the books.