Friday, March 8, 2013
First Test my first Tamora Pierce book
Every year I make an effort to read all the ALA Award winning books as a personal reading challenge. This means that I try to read at least one book in every category in which awards are given for young adult lit (not all child lit.) The Margaret A. Edwards Award "honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. It recognizes an author's work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world"(YALSA).
Ms. Tamora Pierce was the winner this year "honoring her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens for Song of the Lioness quartet and The Protector of the Small quartet...While set in a fantasy world, Pierce’s heroines face realistic challenges that resonate with teen readers." (YALSA).
First Test is an ironic title because it is my first Tamora Pierce book and it my test book. Should I read more from this author? The answer is a resounding yes.
First Test is about a precocious ten-year-old Keladry of Mindalen, daughter of nobles, who serves as a page but must prove herself to the males around her if she is ever to fulfill her dream of becoming a knight. This ten-year-old does things that most adults cannot and is wise beyond her years. Aside from my disbelief about the amazing abilities of this child-adult, I found the writing strong, the plot interesting and exciting, the characters fun and varied, the world fully developed, and the hazing despicable. Why do adults, who say that they demand strong adherence to the rules, also seem to allow, or turn a blind eye to hazing? Keladry does turn the hazing to her advantage, however, which is an appreciated plot twist.
I also appreciated the imaginative creatures with which the people of the land were at war. Spidrins, huge and smart spider-like things, provided Keladry and her classmates with a first opportunity at real battle. Once again it was hard to believe that adults would allow children to go to battle against such a formidable foe, but I was able to suspend my disbelief and immerse myself in the exciting action.
I'm ready to read Page, the second book of the Protector of the Small quartet. But first I may want to go back and read her Alanna series, which predates this one. I also hope to find some new readers for Tamora Pierce. Her female characters are so strong and confident, wonderful role models for today's girls.
I listened to the audiobook read very smartly by Bernadette Dunn.