Saturday, March 22, 2014

Protector of the Small, a discussion

March is reading month; as such, Brittany from Summerland Sushi agreed to do a discussion series on an author, Tamora Pierce.

The following discussion will undoubtedly contain spoilers for the series, please do not read on if you would like the series to remain unspoiled.

The Protector of the Small series contains four books: First Test, Page, Squire, and Lady Knight. I don't really know any good trivia or tidbits about this series other than that it is my FAVORITE Tamora Pierce series (so far). Have anything fun to share? Leave a comment!

Brittany is in BLUE, I am in GREEN. If any of the formatting is a little weird, I apologize because this was copy and pasted from many places where Brittany and I talk.

Without further ado, here is our discussion led by questions.

What was your favorite book from the series and why?

Liz: I loved the second book in the series the most; the struggles that Kel faced at every turn seemed very real and gripping to me. It also showed her courage, perseverance and leadership at every stage.

Brittany: I loved the last book. It wrapped up a lot of things, but also didn’t end with Kel getting into a nonsense romance for romance-sake. Pierce is very good at not falling to the “It’s YA, Romance is Required!” schtick. Kel is obviously human - she loves and she learns and she gets hurt- but she ends the series as she started, incredibly independent and awesome.

Who was your favorite character? What did you appreciate about them?

Liz: I appreciated the presence of Neal in the books. I’m not entirely sure that he was my favorite, but I think he brought a lot of dimension to the story in...interesting ways.

Brittany: I love seeing familiar faces come back. I had completely forgotten that Daine and Numair were in the series, so the continuity of blog posts is going to go right out the window after this one. Ah well - I heart Numair, so it’s enough.

Which character would you most like to meet? What would you ask—or say?

Liz: I would most like to meet Alanna from this quartet as she’s older and perhaps wiser than the last time we saw her. I’d like to pick her brain about the role of females in their present day society.

Brittany: I would love to meet Lalasa and get some sewing lessons! I also want to know how her business is doing and see all of her amazing work.

Is the story plot or character driven? In other words, do events unfold quickly? Or is more time spent developing characters' inner lives?

Liz:I think both arguments could be made. I prefer to read the stories as character driven since it felt more like a grand coming of age story in regards to Kel, but I could see the argument being made for a story plot.

Brittany: I agree with Liz - there are significant elements of both.

What scene resonated most with you personally in either a positive or negative way? Why?

Liz: The moment where Kel had to climb the tower to save her maid. It resonated with me positively because she was able to overcome her paralyzing fear in order to save a life. It was such a badass moment.

Brittany: There are so many! I think the one that I go back to the most was Kel taking over during the fight with the bandits in "Page". Her year-mates learned that, when you're facing true danger, it doesn't matter who is what gender.

Did you think Kel had a harder time overcoming gender barriers than Alanna did? Alanna had the benefit of hiding her gender and later revealing herself after she had proven she could be a knight, but Kel was open about her gender through the whole series. What do you think of how that played out?

Liz: I do think Kel had a harder time dealing with the gender barrier as every turn it seemed as if she was set up to fail. I think she was only set up to fail because of her gender rather than what Alanna went through with everything being more difficult because they were all ‘boys’. I think it could have played out a little better if as Kel graduated, another female or two also tried to work through the system regardless if they succeed or fail. Alanna paved the way for Kel (kind of, a rough rocky way) but I wanted to see Kel create a better way for the females who followed her.

Brittany: I also think Kel had a harder time, but I also think Kel was more focused and more determined. A lot of Kel’s “distractions” during her training years were minor compared to Alanna’s, which allowed Kel to focus more on training up her weaknesses.

Happy book discussions and reading month!

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