Tamora Pierce's First Test
I needed a bit of a mental palate cleanser after that last book, so was glad to see the library had added a Tamora Pierce series I'd never read! I was a little put off at first--basically the first thing that happens is that a giant spider monster EATS A KITTEN--but by the end I was super into it. It focuses on Kelandry, the first girl who wants to train to be a night after the famous Alanna--but everyone is a super sexist jerk and they put her on probation and make her prove herself! But of course she wins everyone over with her skill and niceness, and beats the crap out of the dudes who are jerks. Yeah!!! Girl power!! I did wish Pierce had been a little more creative with her world cultures, because there are weird stereotypes re: East Asia and the Middle East, but nothing /too/ awful. And there are some really nice warrior women (including the protagonist's mom!) AND an amazingly adorable flock of sparrows. Good, fun stuff. A-.