It’s been ten years since the proclamation went out that girls could train to be knights. Keladry of Mindelan desperately wants to be a knight, but is outraged when she hears that the training master, Lord Wildon of Cavall, insists she be put on probation for her first year as a page, to see if she is as good as the male pages.
Kel accepts the challenge, and confronts jealousy and hostility from the some of the other trainees. At the hands of her peers she is bullied because she’s a first-year and because she’s a girl. But she also makes friends in Nealan of Queenscove, her page-sponser, and a few other pages who are all against this injustice.
Tamora Pierce is a great writer, so I have to say that this book was a disappointment. First Test is necessary to the quartet as it sets the groundwork for Kel’s later adventures, explains why Lady Alanna can’t help Kel, and shows how the realm reacts to the first official female page. However, it is short, sparse, and very bland, and it would have worked a lot better as simply the first few chapters of Page, rather than as a stand-alone book.