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Tamora Pierce – Trickster’s Choice

June 12, 2009

69. Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce (2003)
Daughter of the Lioness, Book 1; Tortall, Book 13

Read By: Trini Alvarado
Length: 11h 53m (448 pages)

Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy

Started: 31 May 2009
Finished: 08 June 2009

Where did it come from? Library
Why do I have it? I needed something light and uncomplicated to listen to after trying to slog my way through Blindness.

Famous parents, and
the attentions of a god.
What’s a girl to do?

Summary: Being a fifteen-year-old girl is never easy, but it’s a lot harder when your mother is the first female knight in the realm, and the King’s Champion to boot, your father is the head of spy network for the entire country, and your godparents, aunts, and uncles include powerful mages, immortals, and the king and queen themselves. Everyone is on Aly’s case to *do* something with her life, but she’s more interested in having fun, and the one thing she really wants to do – become a field agent spying for her father – is forbidden to her. After a particularly nasty fight with her parents, she runs away for a few weeks… only to get captured by slavers, and taken to the Copper Isles to be sold.

However, things aren’t as dire as they may seem. The trickster god Kyprioth has his eye on Aly as well, and makes her a wager. He was deposed from the rule of the Copper Isles at about the same time as the local people, the Raka, were conquered by the invading Luarin. If Aly can keep the children of a local nobleman – including two half-Raka, half-Luarin daughters who may fulfill an ancient prophecy – safe throughout the summer amidst the political tensions of a kingdom in turmoil, Kyprioth will send her home to Tortall.

Review: I started this book because I was looking for something reliably entertaining, and I’d listened to and enjoyed Tamora Pierce’s previous Tortall books. And, I got what I was expecting: good. Nothing great, nothing fancy, nothing world-shaking, but solidly, reliably good. Tamora Pierce can write entertaining, interesting stories, and her heroines are always sympathetic if always also a little Mary-Sue-ish (although it’s forgivable in Aly’s case because of her extensive pedigree – at least she comes by it honestly.) I also have to give Pierce credit for making her heroines distinct; I can easily imagine how, after writing so many books in the same universe, her main characters could start to bleed into each other, but Aly’s got her own personality, and since most of the action takes place on the Copper Isles instead of Tortall, this series has its own distinctive feel.

Because of this, and because this series is almost a generation removed from the earlier Tortall books, I think it could be read on its own without knowing what precedes it. Plenty of characters from earlier books make cameo appearances, but since the vast bulk of the action takes place when Aly’s on her own, far from home, knowing the backstory isn’t particularly critical. There’s plenty of interesting new characters to choose from… I was particularly fond of Nawat, the crow-turned-human who’s more than a little smitten with Aly.

My main complaint about Trickster’s Choice is that it’s clearly half of a duology. By the end of the book, the story comes to a resting point, but not really an end, which makes the second book a required follow-up read. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Whether or not you’ve read the previous Tortall books, Trickster’s Choice is a light, entertaining piece of YA fantasy adventure. It probably won’t blow your socks off, but it will keep you reading, which is sometimes exactly what’s needed.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Books and Other Thoughts, Bib-Laura-graphy, Bogormen
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: George Cooper, Baron of Pirate’s Swoop, second in command of his realm’s spies, put his documents aside and surveyed his only daughter as she paused by his study door.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Liyana permalink
    June 12, 2009 1:05 am

    I loved Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen!

  2. June 12, 2009 10:27 am

    I think I know what you’ll be checking out of the library next.

  3. June 12, 2009 10:33 am

    Liyana – Have you read Tamora Pierce’s other books?

    bermudaonion – Already got it, and halfway through. :)

  4. June 12, 2009 4:29 pm

    My brother moved into the town Tamora Pierce is from and subsequently sent me her Knight novels (which is probably the Tortall series) but as my BFF’s daughter promptly commandeered them, I don’t know.

  5. June 13, 2009 1:28 pm

    I have always planned to read Tamora Pierce, but I don’t think I ever have. I must remedy that!

  6. June 15, 2009 12:45 pm

    Carrie – The Tortall series has 4 or 5 sub-series within it – the “Knight” novels could be either the Alanna books (Song of the Lioness quartet) or the Kel books (Protector of the Small quartet). They’re all good fun, though, so I hope you enjoy them (if you ever get them back!)

    Kailana – For sure! They’re not uber-fantastic Literature (although had I read them when I was 11 or so, I’m sure I would have devoured them), but they’re reliably entertaining.

  7. June 16, 2009 6:00 pm

    I loved the Alanna books, but never really got into much of Tamora Pierce’s other stuff. I think I liked Alanna so much that when I got to the other ones everyone else felt like they just weren’t quite good enough. Maybe I should get over it and give these a try though :)

  8. June 16, 2009 6:20 pm

    Kim – I think my second choice after the Alanna books would actually be the Protector of the Small series. They’re a lot like the Alanna books in that they involve a girl in knight training, but whereas Alanna’s whole point was that she had to keep her girl-ness a secret, Kel’s the first girl to openly enter training, and has to put up with prejudice and hostility, etc. Kel’s also probably the least Mary-Sue-ish of all Pierce’s narrators (that I’ve read), which is probably part of why I like her so much.

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