The second book of Protector of the Small picks up directly, and predictably, from the first. Kel is now a page, and no longer on any sort of probation. It also moves more into the usual tropes growing up, and dealing with the world. Hazing an bullying aren’t absent by any means, but is not the major running theme.

There is some action early on, as well as for the conclusion, and we find that Keladry has a good head for basic tactics, and maintaining awareness under stress. Outside of these sections, about three years pass, told in a few significant parts. The training continues to be tough, but she has an established network of friends now, and takes on a servant at the beginning of the book. Lalasa is interesting as she seems determined to stay as inoffensive as possible, but later shows that Kel has had a real effect on her.

Compared to the Alanna quartet, this book comes off very well, as it feels like a complete book, instead of a mere ‘part two’ that In the Hand of the Goddess did. Both Alanna and Kel are good characters that I enjoy reading about, but so far this series is a bit better structured.