The second book from the Protector of the Small series. 🙂 This time, Kel isn’t on probation, which makes it better… but this year she, like all the other pages, wears a weighted harness. The weights are discs filled with lead I think, and more are supposed to be added every four months. This is to help them prepare for when they wear armor later on. Of course, Kel gets in trouble early on and gets two extra added too soon. But she makes a new friend, named Owen. Owen is a “bloody minded savage” according to Neal. He considers fights “jolly”. When they go camping, the older Pages in the group are unsure about what to do, so Kel takes control and saves their lives by doing so.
Owen described that fight, in which a couple of hillmen were killed, as “jolly”. The play fight they did at a later point in the year where the pages all fought each other, Kel being the leader of one team, was not “jolly” according to Owen.There was too much thinking he said. But Owen is a very nice boy. It turns out he is also afraid of girls, when Kel points out that she is a girl and he isn’t afraid of her, he says that it’s different, because she is almost “as good as any chap”, and she doesn’t giggle. Meanwhile, Neal has fallen out of love with Daine the wildmage, and into love with one of the nice girls that Kel, then, when one of Joren’s gang got food on her outfit, Owen served. Of course, two of the girls were Kel’s sisters, the other was a very rude girl.
Meanwhile, Kel discovers she has a crush on Neal, of course, she isn’t going to tell him about that. At the start of the year, the servant who helped her out with her room, Gower, brought his neice to her and practically begged Kel to take Lalasa on as a maid. Lalasa had been abused and was frightened. She believed that nobles put on a “nice mask”, and that they came off sooner or later. And they had before for her. She believed it would be the same with Kel. Only, Kel never took off the imaginary mask, and Lalasa came to trust Kel and act more open. Also, when Owen’s cousins arrive, he asks her to sponsor one (he introduced her by saying “This is Keladry! That tremendous girl I was telling you about!” and he introduces Lalasa by saying “She’s knows all kinds of ways to hurt you!” XD), but she says she’d love to, but it wouldn’t be good for them to be sponsored by someone at the bottom of Lord Wyldon’s list.
However, at a later point, when they are having trouble with their staff work, they come to her to help them, seeing as Owen said she’s really good at helping. So Lalasa and Keladry help them correct their stance. Besides the sparrows, there is also a dog that Kel saved on her first day back, who’s name turns out to be Jump. He’s an ugly little dude. His tail has been broken twice, he’s got around half an ear, is bow legged, and barrel chested. He does a bit of “toadying” as Neal put it, to get into Lord Wyldon’s good graces so he could follow the pages around. This book skips through her years as a page, up to the time when they are to take the test that will let them become squires. If they are late, they might have to repeat a year. If they are REALLY late, they’ll have to repeat all four years.
Of course, this means something is done to try and stop Kel from getting there in time. What is it? Well Lalasa and Jump are kidnapped. Kel finds them at Balor’s Needle, the tallest structure in the palace. And Kel is afraid of heights. But she braves it. The problem came when she tried to open the trapdoor back into the inside, someone locked it so it couldn’t be opened. So they had to risk the outer stair. It was all very exciting! 😀 Read it, seriously. There are places you can download it online, and if you don’t want to do that, then borrow the book (or audiobook) from your library. Or buy it. ^_^ I certainly want to, if I can’t get the audiobook from the library first. 😛