Pierce, Tamora: (112) Lady Knight

Lady Knight, the concluding book in Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small quartet, is out, and I picked it up earlier this week.

When we left Keladry in Squire, she’d attained her knight’s shield and acquired a mission in the process, from whatever disembodied force tests squires for knighthood: find the mage that was killing children to fuel war machines. This is, of course, the ultimate quest for someone whose motivation in becoming a knight was to look out for those less able to defend themselves—so Kel is understandably frustrated when she is assigned to command a refugee camp, not to fight on the front lines where she might encounter the mage. However, being Kel, she recognizes that she has a responsibilty to the refugees as well, and reluctantly takes command. I particularly like this section, which is perhaps just my fondness for practicality/learning-how stories coming through. Anyway, it will surprise no-one that Kel’s path eventually crosses the mage’s. The circumstances leading up to this are fairly dark, perhaps the darkest in Pierce’s writings so far (though considering some of the things that get published as “Young Adult,” still within the genre).

Overall, this is a fitting and enjoyable end to the series. I have a couple of quibbles—there are a few minor continuity errors that are annoying, and I didn’t like the way one plot thread from previous books was handled (it made sense, but it felt like it was raised and disposed of very perfunctorily). However, I’ve spent far too long upgrading the comments system tonight (which was inexplicably refusing to work earlier), so I will leave it at that. (Look Ma, a preview function and automatic link rendering!)

[ And if some PHP expert can come up with a way for the “e-mail” and “homepage” links to not appear when someone doesn’t enter anything in those fields—I’d love to hear from you. I tried to guess at a hack, but failed miserably. ]

2 Comments

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  1. I found a couple of continuity twitches in the earlier books but didn’t notice any in LK. Probably I was too busy finally getting to read it (and grumping that Hodgell’s Blood and Ivory wasn’t out yet). What’d you see? I think I’ve decided that Pierce is getting better and her editors are getting sloppier, as happens far too often.

    The perfunctory disposal of I-think-I-know-what-you-mean warmed my heart, but I thought it was about time that happened already and I was hoping for it. I’m very satisfied with the way that part of Kel’s life has turned out.

  2. Faleron, who has been sent to defend the coast (we are told early on), inexplicably appears later in the book after Kel goes questing–at least his name does a couple of times, which makes me think there was a sloppy search-and-replace or something. That was the main one.

    The perfunctory disposal I mean was the one around page 50, if that’s what you’re talking about. Not only was the event perfunctory, but then everything associated with the event disappeared for the rest of the book. It fit with the story, yes (though I admit I was hoping it could have come out differently), but I thought it could have been handled better all the same.

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