Protector of the Small books follows Keladry of Midelan, the first girl since Alanna to attempt to become a Knight of the realm. It's been 14 years since the decree went out and Alanna is through the roof excited. What she hasn't anticipated was the resistance the application meets with from the conservatives at court. Kel is in for a tough year, because despite the decree, she'll become only a probationary page and quickly finds not just the conservative adults are against her but some of her teachers and many of her fellow pages as well.
I loved that this book followed the "what if" theory of Alanna's experience but done while fully "out" as a girl. Kel is as different a character from Alanna's as Tamora Pierce could make her, patient, without a temper, big and tall, but in so many ways she's going through the same experience. But one of the similar aspects that make me love this series are the connections she makes by being serious and hard working, the friends and admirers she develops along the way is what makes this series worthwhile. Like Alanna, Kel eventually wins a most dedicated following of amusing friends I'd personally like to have.
Best of all? This is the first of my Tortall books without a seriously embarrassing cover!