Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Epic Reading List Updated: Squire Plus a Moment of Epic Gushing

List Mark Two Updated: 4/16

1. Mockingjay -Suzanne Collins

2. First Test -Tamora Pierce
3. Darkness Falls -Cate Tiernan
4. Page -Tamora Pierce

5. Where Things Come Back -John Corey Whaley
6. Squire -Tamora Pierce
7. Beautiful Darkness -Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
8. Lady Knight -Tamora Pierce
9. Cinder -Marissa Meyer
10. Trickster's Choice -Tamora Pierce
11. The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight - Jennifer E. Smith
12. Trickster's Queen -Tamora Pierce
13. Halfway to the Grave -Jeanine Frost
14. Tortall and Other Lands -Tamora Pierce
15. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer -Michelle Hodkin

I have been slacking. Let's just face it, I'm always slacking.
My non-life is busier with nonsense than I usually think. That being said I slacked this time because I spent several days rearranging my room and books to include the addition of these lovely things:

Aren't they beautiful. *pets them* some of the shelves on my other cases were bowing. I couldn't have that so I got these. *purrs and strokes them*

Creepiness aside, I'm still working on rearranging some books around. (The bottom shelf on the right is a complete and utter disaster right now. Disaster.)

That's my gushing. They're so lovely. *whispers sweet nothings and caresses them*

And now. Squire.

First off. Since I did it before I'll do it again. Squire has my favorite of the Protector of the Small covers.

Yes, again with the old covers.
She looks a little more worn here. Her hair isn't the perfect bob like the previous two and she even looks a little older. I love that two of the sparrows made it in and the griffin. My only thing is that I would have loved to see some griffin wounds on her hands. But, hey I love it anyway.

And the text.

We finally get to see Kel as a squire and let me tell you I always get totally psyched about this because her knight master is one of my absolute favorites. Raoul. I love him. He is absolutely wonderful and Tamora Pierce takes this opportunity to flesh him out. She made him really human, even going as far as to give him a history with alcohol.

He and Kel are the sort of characters who embody everything I love about Tamora Pierce. They're brave, clever, witty, smart, human, they make mistakes, get angry. It's glorious.They are absolutely suited to each other (I don't mean romantically). He teaches her firmly but not harshly. He has a certain levity about him that makes him easy for her to get on with. Her squire duties are a bit unconventional and so is she so that is fitting. They play well off of one another and that gives us plenty of that dialogue Tamora Pierce is so good at.

I tried to go on about Raoul so I wouldn't about Kel again but it didn't work. She grows so much in this book. we see her Yamani mask slipping a lot as she gets more comfortable with both the people she's around and the Tortallan culture. She gets upset in this one and angry and watching her tell off Jon made my day. In Squire she looses two of the sparrows that have been with her since she started and that was horrible reminder of loss right before the war starts and members of the Own start being killed. Throughout the book she is pressed and doesn't break. I still feel like I can learn from her just as much as I could when I first read them.

Squire has a lot going on in it. We get her being chosen (which by the end of the book seems so long ago), the trial of Joren for kidnapping Lalasa, a mini showdown with Jonathan, the arrival of the Yamani ladies, the Grand Progress, the beginning of the Scanran war, a romance with Cleon, her ordeal, getting acquainted with the Own, caring for the griffin. And lots of other things. It seems like a lot and it is. This time, however, Tamora Pierce gave herself more pages to accomplish everything and the book really benefits from it. It is a convincing four years rather than rushed as her books have seemed in the past.

When I was younger I recall being a bit disappointed that Kel and Joren never get to really have it out. This time around I wasn't bothered. It is fitting that Joren doesn't survive the Ordeal and that Raoul calls it. Joren's display at the trial clearly shows that he is never going to be the knight who showed so much promise to Wyldon in the first book. He doesn't have what every knight says one needs to survive the Ordeal, flexibility. It was a fitting end to the character to be killing by a tradition.

This book also so the emergence on a character who I end up liking a great deal. Wyldon. I know we see him in both First Test and Page but his action in Squire make him a great character. I love him tilting with Kel and that scene where she goes to see him after he resigns is wonderfully written. He admits to trying to drive her away and to being unfair and she still wants to be as good a knight as him. It very masterfully depicts the kind of relationship they have.

I know I mentioned this before but it once again startled me how easy it was to look at Jon through Kel's eyes. He's not the same Jon from the Alanna books. Alanna makes a comment about him changing in The Woman Who Rides Like A Man and Raoul makes a comment in Squire about him not being the same as when they were young. This really hit me a couple of times in Squire and I was uneasy about it. Not that I think we're suddenly going to get a book where Jon has gone mad. He's just not even the same Jon I wanted to be with Alanna in the first couple Song of the Lioness books.

Which leads me to Cleon. He's okay. Makes me laugh. I was never really sold on his romance with Kel. I can see why it happens but I never really got into it like I did with Tamora Pierce's other matches. It's not just because I was so pro Kel and Neal. I think it's because Kel enjoys it and cares for him, loves him even, yes but she's not really ready for it. She has things she wants to do yet and couldn't be the kind of wife a noble son needs. Plus, Cleon tends to be a little too idealistic and so does Kel. They don't have the balance that they need for each other.

And last, Squire has the epic moment. The moment where Kel and Alanna first meet. It's exciting. It's a fangirl moment. It was a fangirl moment before anyone really knew what fangirl moments were and I don't just mean for Kel. I happy danced a little even this time around. I don't think anyone doubted that Alanna was the benefactor but it was still cool to see them talk about it. Alanna's speech about Kel being the real inspiration to future female knights was awesome. It's genuine and not super eloquent so it reads perfectly. It shows how important Kel becoming a knight is, not just to herself, but to the realm as well. It widens the scope which the whole book sort of did for Kel.

Overall Rating: Massively Epic

These books always offer something new when I read them and my little reactionary reviews help me realize how much more I've picked up on. I am continually in awe of Tamora Pierce and glad to be able to tell people she's who made me want to write.

Next I'll (finally) be reading the second book of the Caster chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl: Beautiful Darkness.

Also, I'm feeling the sudden urge to redesign the blog again. It may be a mess on and off for a bit.

Until next time my lovelies.


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