By norahaddad |
Page: Protector of the Small #2

Page is the second book in the Protector of the Small quartet, in which Keladry is now a senior page. Her friend group has expanded to include Merric, Cleon, and Owen, a boy that she saves from Joren's friends, and together, they've been fending off the older pages who are still treating the younger pages awfully. Weirdly it seems that Joren himself changed, A LOT. He went from turning everything into a conflict with her to being polite and friendly towards Kel and her friends, which raises major red flags for Kel. But his attitude stays the same as the years pass. 

Kel employs a maidservant after Gower, a servant in the palace, implores her to take Lalasa, his niece, as a maid. Lalasa has supposedly been through a lot and will be avoided if she's a noble's servant. Kel accepts with some skepticism- Lalasa's INCREDIBLY timid and mousy around just about anyone, especially Keladry herself, despite her offering to teach her how to defend herself. 

When her training begins again, a raggedy, beat-up dog takes a sudden liking to her, and she (kind of) adopts him (pages are not allowed to have pets, but Jump always finds his way back to her, regardless of any attempts to ward the dog off.) Lalasa's timidness gradually fades, enough for her to even take Kel up on her offer to school her in fighting. 

Meanwhile Kel is still facing discrimination from her male peers- but Lord Wyldon's growing more and more trusting of Kel by the day. He assigns her the task of being the leader of a group of pages in the wild, a big task considering his rabid dislike of her in the previous book. But everything goes downhill when bandits corner them and the boys have to depend on Kel's cool head and strategy to get them out alive.  

When the ordeal's ended, and everyone's safe, Keladry is permitted to partake in the Big Examinations- the tests that will determine whether she can continue on and start training not as a page, but as a squire. It's right before the examinations that something goes terribly wrong. Her maid/friend Lalasa has gone missing, and it's later found out that she's been kidnapped. Keladry has to decide between saving her and having to redo the entire four years of page training again, or going to the exams and risking Lalasa's life. She decides to go after Lalasa and faces another challenge: heights. The kidnappers chose a place that they knew she'd dread going to, to try and keep her away. Kel's able to get over her fear enough to save Lalasa, but by the time she gets back to the exams, it's too late. She's late for them. Meaning, she'll have to redo her training all over again.

But wait- the kidnappers have been captured, and it's said that they were the ones who forced Page Keladry to be late for her exams, meaning that since it isn't regarded as her fault, she doesn't receive the penalty! Her test is rescheduled, and after she passes, Keladry is now finally a squire. Only one more step to becoming a knight. And at the end, she's even allowed to keep Peachblossom, now her horse.

Keladry's character developed, not drastically, but definitely considerably since the last book. In the last book she was downright terrified of heights; she wouldn't have been able to save Lalasa if she hadn't been working on conquering that fear. And during the span of Page, Lalasa went through a huge improvement. At the beginning she was quiet and shy due to her bad experiences- at the end, confident and strong, and even practically running her own business- dressmaking. The Queen herself asked Lalasa to sew a dress for her. Not surprisingly, the dominant theme of this book would be bravery and the importance of facing your fears to be able to fully reach your potential. Lalasa's character in that scenario was metaphorical for Kel's full capacity- to get there, she had to fight through being scared.