OK, cheating with this one, but I have been discussing each chapter of each book over on Mark Reads. I’ve enjoyed reading this quartet this way, despite it being one of my favourite series to re-read I have discovered details that I had never noticed before.
This is the story about how a fairly ordinary, unGifted, but very talented and determined girl decides she will be the first openly female page because she feels she has a duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves (“The Small”). I want to be her when I grow up, that level of determination and persistance even in the face of impossible obstacles would be fabulous. But its remarkably different from the Song of the Lioness when the basic premise is so similar.
There is also so much friendship. Winning people’s respect and then friendship generally the hard way, and them backing her up, even when it meant treason and a risk of losing their own heads.
I also like that the book doesn’t close on her settling down with her one true love (TM) but instead confidently forging a career with the respect of her peers, superiors and the people she is in command of. That’s what Kel wanted from life, and she got it.