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Trickster's Queen (Trickster Series) Mass Market Paperback – October 14, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7-10–In this sequel to the well-received Trickster's Choice (Random, 2003), Pierce deftly weaves an unforgettable story about Alianne (Aly) of Pirate's Swoop. As the novel opens, the wife and children of the late Duke Mequen Balitang return to the capital city of Rajmuat from their exile on their distant estate. Aly has become a maid to Lady Dovasary, daughter of the late duke, and, more importantly, she is now the spymaster of the raka rebellion that is determined to put Dovasary's sister on the throne in place of the four-year-old luarin king. The light-skinned luarin have oppressed the dark-skinned raka for centuries, and the luarin co-regents now in charge of the Copper Isles are losing their grip on reality as well as on their kingdom. With Aly in control, the raka rebellion is able to stir up enough unrest to cause the uprising to begin. Aly, who is the daughter of Alanna the Lioness of Tortall (from the "Lioness Quartet" series), is delightful in her deviousness. The teen is exceptionally brave, sassy, and diplomatic. She is surrounded by a large supporting cast, which is well developed and necessary to the story. The plot sweeps readers along in a whirlwind of court intrigue, deception, murder, and romance. The humor is wicked, and the plot twists will keep the pages turning to the supremely satisfying end. Teens will be inspired by Aly's determination, her resourcefulness, and her heart.–Anna M. Nelson, Seabrook Library, NH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gr. 7-12. Pierce concludes the story of Alanna the Lioness' daughter, Aly, spymaster par excellence, in a fantasy thriller that continues the rich and complex tale begun in Trickster's Choice [BKL D 1 03]. Still bound by the trickster god Kyprioth to keep the Balitang children safe, Alanna now must make certain that the rebel conspiracy against the harsh Rittevon Crown and its supporters succeeds so that Sarai, the oldest of the Balitang children, will ascend the throne. But Sarai throws a wrench in the plans by eloping, and it's left to her younger, more intelligent and more committed sister, Dove, to prove herself to the people. Characterizations are complex and well developed, and the intricate intrigue is compelling as Aly uses her cadre of spies to collect information and manipulate events leading up to revolution. The growing love between Aly and Nawat, who had once been a crow and now leads the horde of crows in battle against the crown, adds its own spice to a thoroughly engrossing novel, sure to please. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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(If you're OCD like me, you'll want to start with the Alanna: The First Adventure (The Song of the Lioness, 1) (Alanna's start) and then go through the Wild Magic (Immortals, 1) (Alanna's adult life) and then First Test (Protector of the Small, 1) (Keladry's life) which is interspersed with Immortals (the story of Daine's life, the first story of which, at least, takes place before this.)
Although, it isn't necessary to read all these before starting this particular series...*grin*
Be careful what you wish for...you might get it as Aly finds out. Although it truly is exactly what Aly wanted...if she could just have had a bit more time to get ready for it!
This is a much more, well, intelligent isn't the right word. The writing in this story is at a higher reading level than the Tamora Pierce stories I've read so far--Song of the Lioness and Wild Magic from the Immortals series. Yet again, I kept checking the cover to be sure I was reading a Tamora Pierce!
That said, this is an excellent story! Young adult or adult will find it a fascinating read. Nawat Crow's courtship of Aly is just too funny as he brings his crow culture with him. There is no end to the action and intrigue--normally, I put a marker in as I read to remind me of events and characters for later when I write my reviews. Trickster's Choice made me forget; I was too busy racing through to find out what would happen next! It's funny, exciting, scary, and sad as betrayals and support run rampant.
Involuntary spying for our girl as Aly seeks a way to survive being sold into slavery and escaping it. It's Aly's coming of age and the opportunity to learn her own weaknesses and strengths. She also learns more about her parents than she would have ever realized.
Okay, the idea of a head footman just doesn't work for me. Steward or butler? Okay. But footman?? No.
The excerpts between chapters are interesting lessons in spycraft and magic with most, if not all, addressed to Aly from her father and others.
Drifting and intelligent, Alianne is bored. Even though she has helped her father with his spy business, her parents refuse to allow her to truly become a spy with all the danger it entails. So when Alianne discovers that her mother, Sir Alanna, intends to make Alianne her next project, Alianne sails off to visit friends. She only plans on being gone until the last day or so of her mother's visit but the pirate slavers she runs into have other ideas.
Unable to escape, Alianne does everything she can to look unsellable in the slave market at Rajmuat. Unfortunately, all it does is cause the slaver to give her away when Ulasim purchases an expensive pastry chef. Aly puts all her efforts into planning her escape until Prince Bronau arrives to warn Mequen of the king's displeasure. "Mad, bad, and dangerous" to know, the Balitangs must sell everything they have and "escape" to their country estate on Lombyn Island until the king focuses on another noble family to fear.
Aly is one of the slaves to be sold out of the family until the matcher, a slaver who finds new homes for slaves, chooses to keep Aly. Through trickery. Well, it's only natural. For the matcher is possessed by Kyprioth, the trickster god of the raka. And he wants his people back in power and the Copper Isles worshipping him again. Kyprioth recognizes Aly's abilities and wants her to use them on his behalf. Guiding the Balitang family and keeping the half-raka daughters safe and alive through the summer. For that is the bargain Kyprioth makes with Alanna. If she will keep Lady Sarai and Lady Dove safe and alive until fall, he will ensure her safe arrival back home in Pirate's Swoop. In turn, Kyprioth pretends to be the god the Duke and his family worships and tells them to trust to Aly to keep them safe.
A major challenge when there is a prophecy claiming that the raka will return to power when a queen of two royal bloodlines appears--and both Lady Sarai and Lady Dove fit as the queen predicted. Nor do the raka peoples make her job easy as they always line the coasts, the roads, the streets to see their future queen thereby endangering her existence by chancing official attention on the girls.
Alianne "Aly" Cooper is the daughter of Alanna and George Cooper. Intelligent and bored, she wants to become a spy. Nawat Crow is a crow shifter. The Trickster arranged for the crows to spy for Aly as well as enabling them to teach her their language. Nawat became intrigued enough with Aly that he chose to assume human form.
Sir Alanna is the King's Champion, still riding Darkmoon, and married to Baron George Cooper, the king's chief spy. Neither parent wants Alianne becoming a spy. Her brothers are Thom, the family mage, while Alan, her twin, entered page training three years ago. Maude was the children's nursemaid and is now the Swoop housekeeper. Aunt Daine, a demi-goddess, and Uncle Numair, a mage, have a cameo role.
Duke Mequen Balitang and Duchess Winnamine with his daughters from his first marriage, Saraiyu and Dovasary and his children with Winnamine: a daughter Petranne and a son Elsren live in Rajmuat on Kypriang Island amongst the Copper Isles. The duke, a descendant of the ruling Rittevon house, and his duchess and younger children are luarin while the daughters are half-raka, the people conquered by the luarin. Duke Mequen not only loved his first wife but also treats his raka and luarin servants the same...with dignity.
Ulasim is the head footman and the commander of the raka rebellion while Chenaol, the family cook, is in charge of weapon procurement for the rebellion. Veron is the commander of the men-at-arms; Lokeij is chief hostler and in charge of communications for the rebels as well as weapons storage. Rihani is their healer and nursemaid to the two youngest Balitangs. All are full raka except the luarin Veron. On Lombyn Island, Visda is related to Ulasim and helps Aly herd her goats when she needs to do her spying; Fesgao, man-at-arms and war leader of the rebel army; Falthin is the castle bowyer who takes Nawat in for his fletching; and, Ochobu, a raka mage. Junai Dodeka is Ulasim's daughter. A warrior. And now bodyguard to Aly.
Kyprioth is the Great God to the raka. The Trickster. Mithros is the Great God to the luarin; the god Kyprioth impersonates. He and the Great Goddess, Alanna's patroness, are siblings to Kyprioth but several hundred years ago, they overthrew Kyprioth and the raka. It's taken this long for Kyprioth to regain enough power to chance taking the Copper Isles back and reinstating the raka.
Prince Bronau Jimajen is a close friend of the Duke with a strong desire for power and a very weak character. He is also brother to Prince Rubinyan who is married to Princess Imajane, mad King Oron's half-sister. Their three-year-old son Dunevon is second-in-line to the throne after Hazarin, the king's son. Bronau is one of those arrogant luarin who despises the raka.
The cover is in shades of brown with only half of Aly's face showing, a rich brown hood flowing from the top of her golden locks across her shoulder.
The title is all about the god's choice, a Trickster's Choice of the proper person for the job.
This was the first book I read of Tamora Pierce's world and even though it makes frequent mentions of other characters featured in her other series', I didn't feel lost at all. This story is well-paced, the world building is complete and presented in a sensible and easy to grasp way, and Aly's inventiveness brings the story a sense of fun and adventure that all ages identify with.
Alianne (Aly) of Pirate's Swoop is the daughter of Alanna, the renowned first lady knight of Tortall. However, Aly isn't interested in following in her mother's footsteps. Instead, she hungers for a different kind of adventure - the work of a spy, following in the footsteps of her father. When Aly is kidnapped by slavers while traveling off the coast of Tortall, she finds herself entering into a wager with a god, an unwitting piece in a larger picture of life in the Copper Isles, her unplanned new home. As she starts to ferret out more secrets, she realizes that the plot around her is many times larger than she imagined, and she forges unexpected alliances with soldiers, cooks, high-born ladies, servants, crows and even a god.
Aly's wager is for just for the summer... but the more she sees of life in the Copper Isles, the more she realizes she might be in it for the long game...
First of all, I think her writing has changed age groups. I know that it's recommended for the same as her others series (middle school and up), but I think that this series will appeal to adults as much as children, and maybe less to some of the younger ones. (Do not fear; any die hard children fans of Tamora will appreciate and love this novel as her others, I'm sure.) Her writing is more intricate in this book, more detailed, aimed on a girl who is more of a woman from the start. While Alanna's & company (Daine, Kel) took place when they were far younger, Aly is 16 in this book. I think that it sets off at a place where more mature thoughts / actions / plots can be established, and in this case, very believable.
This novel is well crafted. Tamora does a wonderful job of fleshing out the characters, though for the first chapter or two, you may fumble with all the names. By chapter five though, at the latest, she has made them all seem very life like.
I also enjoyed how real Aly was. She is not the ultimate spy. She messes up just like any other, and she is still a child in some ways. I must also admit that her views on flirting are so amusing, I was grinning through a lot of the book. I do wish Aly had more interactions with Nawat, in general. He's a fun character, and he seems to randomly appear and disappear for pages, which was annoying.
It was also good to hear about Uncle 'Numy' and Aunt Daine, as well as seeing more of George and Alanna (though they are by far minor compared to other characters in these series).
It should be noted that this series is not as magic based as her other ones have been. This is more like Kel's than like Daine's, because Daine was very magic centered. Aly is more about politics, relationships, how people interact, and about a young woman trying to find herself. If it sounds cliche, oh well.
I would recommend this to all who have any interest in Tamora Pierce's previous novels, as well as Kushiel's Dart. While this is not a sexy plot twister like Kushiel, it is an easier, lighter read of the same line of thought. Yes, that is a compliment. :)
I cannot wait for my order of Trickster's Queen to arrive!
Most recent customer reviews
Another group of characters to love and cheer for!
Definitely recommend the read