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Trickster's Choice

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Author: Tamora Pierce

Published: September 17th 2004 by Scholastic Press (first published September 23rd 2003)

Format: Hardcover , 453 pages

Isbn: 9780439968089

Language: English


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Alianne is the teenage daughter of the famed Alanna, the Lioness of Tortall. Aly is bold and brave like her mother, but she has no wish to become a knight. Instead she longs to follow in her father's footsteps as a spy, an ambition her parents vehemently oppose. After a furious argument Aly runs away, with disastrous consequences. Captured and sold as a slave in the Copper Alianne is the teenage daughter of the famed Alanna, the Lioness of Tortall. Aly is bold and brave like her mother, but she has no wish to become a knight. Instead she longs to follow in her father's footsteps as a spy, an ambition her parents vehemently oppose. After a furious argument Aly runs away, with disastrous consequences. Captured and sold as a slave in the Copper Isles, she discovers that this whole nightmare has not come about by chance - the Trickster God, Kyprioth, has plans for her...

30 review for Trickster's Choice

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    $1.99 Kindle sale, May 11, 2019. If you like YA fantasy, I highly recommend this book and its sequel, Trickster's Queen! And if you like Tamora Pierce's brand of YA fantasy, several of her other books are also on $1.99 Kindle sales right now (go to https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/ent...). But these two Trickster books are my very favorites of everything Tamora Pierce has written ... and I've read most of her books. These ones, though, are the only ones I've read multiple times. This duology fol $1.99 Kindle sale, May 11, 2019. If you like YA fantasy, I highly recommend this book and its sequel, Trickster's Queen! And if you like Tamora Pierce's brand of YA fantasy, several of her other books are also on $1.99 Kindle sales right now (go to https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/ent...). But these two Trickster books are my very favorites of everything Tamora Pierce has written ... and I've read most of her books. These ones, though, are the only ones I've read multiple times. This duology follows 16 year old Alianne, the daughter of Alanna, who was the heroine of the SONG OF THE LIONESS series and is now a famous knight in the kingdom, the first woman to achieve that. Aly respects her mother's accomplishments but they have a bit of a fraught relationship because Aly wants to be a spy, like her father. Her parents flatly refuse (spying is too dangerous), but the gods have other plans. Aly is kidnapped while on a solitary excursion one day and ends up being sold as a slave in another kingdom, the Copper Islands. According to the trickster god Kyprioth who appears to her one night, this is intended to be an opportunity for Aly to make a difference in the lives of the noble family who has bought her as a slave. Aly and Kyprioth make a deal, and a new world of experience opens up to her. Aly finds that this family, surrounded by conspiracies and deadly danger, needs her skills, especially the spycraft that she's picked up over the years from working with and watching her father. Meanwhile, Kyprioth is making sure that Aly's family can't find her through magical means and interfere with his secret plans for the Copper Islands. I loved the intrigue in this book and Trickster's Queen! Aly's an intelligent young woman and has a little bit of that Scarlet Pimpernel trope going, the capable person hiding behind a mask, that I love so much. The romance element is very minor, but there's a little bit of light flirting with a crow shapeshifter. I like that the crows are very, well, crow-like in their personalities. This first book doesn't end on a cliffhanger, but the overarching plotline isn't resolved until you read both books. It's not necessary to have read the Alanna books to enjoy these, although doing that will give you a better grounding in this fantasy world, where there's swords and sorcery and gods who regularly intervene in the mortal world.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    This was a good book in some ways, but messed up enough that I probably won't look for more in this series. The writing style was fine - easy to read, nothing detracting from the story, etc. The plot was interesting and moved at a good pace (even if it was clearly part of a series and didn't really conclude, there was a nice ending). The world, while not overwhelmingly original, managed to stay far enough out of generic fantasy kingdom to be interesting (I really liked the crows). Unfortunately, This was a good book in some ways, but messed up enough that I probably won't look for more in this series. The writing style was fine - easy to read, nothing detracting from the story, etc. The plot was interesting and moved at a good pace (even if it was clearly part of a series and didn't really conclude, there was a nice ending). The world, while not overwhelmingly original, managed to stay far enough out of generic fantasy kingdom to be interesting (I really liked the crows). Unfortunately, the main character is perfect. Eventually I realized that the book wasn't gripping in any way, because I knew that the hero would save the day. Yes, most books end up that way, but you want to be tricked into thinking that it might not, because that's what makes it exciting. Here, not so much. The funny thing is that I didn't actually dislike the character. She starts off really well - the smart ass 16-year-old daughter of a great hero whose parents want her to make something of herself. Okay, so she's good at pretty much everything (clever, athletic, attractive, moral, relatively likable). All of this wouldn't be a problem, because the character has SUCH an attitude, you expect that she's going to get into a lot of trouble for it, have to learn humility and the value of working with others, and all that. The problem is, she never does. Everyone loves her, she talks her way out of everything, not once do her actions lead to anything other than the desired outcome and everyone defers to her with only token grumbling. Which leads to the second thing that really bugged me. The plot basically hinges on a native people taking their land back from the white-skinned invaders. These people were warriors, have been subjugated for generations, finally have their prophesied leader at hand... and are completely unable to do anything at all without our hero. I'm guessing the implications here weren't intentional, but once you notice some things, you can't un-notice them.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Marie

    Buddy read with Castle! And my first reread O.O the last time I read this was like... 5 or so years ago. High school/college. Damn. ---------- Coming back into this book after 5+ years away, I had only a vague recollection of it. I remembered Aly, and the Balitang sisters, and the fact that Aly wanted to be a spy, but not much else. I think I spent half the book asking myself how in the hell Aly had been my least favorite MC up to this point, because she kicks ass. Also, Dove and Sarai. For noble-b Buddy read with Castle! And my first reread O.O the last time I read this was like... 5 or so years ago. High school/college. Damn. ---------- Coming back into this book after 5+ years away, I had only a vague recollection of it. I remembered Aly, and the Balitang sisters, and the fact that Aly wanted to be a spy, but not much else. I think I spent half the book asking myself how in the hell Aly had been my least favorite MC up to this point, because she kicks ass. Also, Dove and Sarai. For noble-born girls, they kick ass all on their own and I LOVE it. Can't wait to reread Trickster's Queen!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Clair

    So I didn't think I would like this-- yeah, yeah, Tamora Pierce trying to make Alanna more interesting now that she's in middle age, suprise here's her kid who's just as whacky and awesome, OMGs. But seriously. She's teh awesome. And nothing like the Lioness books, which make them even better. While Alanna was all about her proving herself to be stronger and better than people originally assumed she was, the Trickster series is about a spy, born and bred; she lets people think she's dumb as rock So I didn't think I would like this-- yeah, yeah, Tamora Pierce trying to make Alanna more interesting now that she's in middle age, suprise here's her kid who's just as whacky and awesome, OMGs. But seriously. She's teh awesome. And nothing like the Lioness books, which make them even better. While Alanna was all about her proving herself to be stronger and better than people originally assumed she was, the Trickster series is about a spy, born and bred; she lets people think she's dumb as rocks if it suits her. Ally is interesting, the development of old characters is awesome (Alanna would *so* be the neglectful mom too focused on work to pay attention to her kids, and George would be Daddy). The crows are cool too, and make me wish I had a crow for a side-kick. But I don't. Alas.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bridget Mckinney

    There's so much to like about this book, but there's a couple of glaring problems with it that I have to cover first. 1. This is the first time Tamora Pierce has given us a series that takes place almost exclusively outside of Tortall, but it still has a white protagonist. Don't get me wrong, I like Aly. I also understand that the Tortall books are essentially a sort of family drama. However, introducing a white protagonist whose goal is the liberation of a nation of people of color who have bee There's so much to like about this book, but there's a couple of glaring problems with it that I have to cover first. 1. This is the first time Tamora Pierce has given us a series that takes place almost exclusively outside of Tortall, but it still has a white protagonist. Don't get me wrong, I like Aly. I also understand that the Tortall books are essentially a sort of family drama. However, introducing a white protagonist whose goal is the liberation of a nation of people of color who have been conquered and oppressed by white people plays into some unpleasant colonialist narratives. I mentioned in a previous post that one possible way to accommodate both the "family drama" style of the overall series and the Copper Isles setting would have been to have the main protagonist be a Copper Isles native with Aly as a secondary character. 2. Aly is continually critical of the planned revolution and asks several PoC characters about the possible loss of life to the mostly white ruling class of the Isles. I understand that revolutions can be a bloody business and that Aly is living with a mixed family in the book, which is a reminder to her that the white ruling class is not some nameless faceless evil. This does complicate things. However, on at least one occasion, it's suggested that the current white rulers of the country have only "inherited" their situation, as if that diminishes their responsibility for the ongoing oppression and enslavement of the indigenous people. This is, frankly, bullshit. No one gets to choose their parents, but people do get to choose whether or not to participate in the perpetuation of evil. Honestly, I just think that Aly has too much sympathy for and spends to much time worrying about what might happen to the oppressing class when shit hits the fan. These are some pretty major flaws, in my opinion, but I really liked the book in spite of these problems. Trickster's Choice is not as quick a read as most of Tamora Pierce's other books and it's far less action driven, dealing largely with political intrigue, but it's got a lot going for it. - A large and diverse cast of female characters. This is a hallmark of Tamora Pierce's work, but it's something that I never fail to appreciate because it's so rare. Each girl or woman in the book is well-characterized and unique, and they are constantly talking to each other and forming meaningful relationships. - I especially love how different Aly is from the protagonists of Pierce's other series. I like that I never feel like I'm reading the same story over and over with Tamora Pierce, and Aly is vastly different from Alanna, Daine, and Kel. - I loved getting to read about the Copper Isles and their people. It's really common for fantasy worlds to have places that are populated by people of color, but it's relatively rare for these settings to be explored in a way that shows those people as multidimensional people with complex societies, cultures, goals, and histories of their own. I like that, while Aly is from Tortall, the story of what is going on in the Copper Isles so far has nothing to do with how it is going to affect Tortall. I think the book is, for the most part, properly focused on the people of the Copper Isles and what they want for themselves. - While I already said that it bothers me that this story is being told from the point of view of a white outsider protagonist, I do like that, again for the most part, Aly is working with the people of the Copper Isles as a helper more than as a leader. She's an important helper, and she has a leadership position, but she's not the leader of the revolution she's helping to foment and it's pretty clear that this revolution would happen with or without Aly. This doesn't negate the problem that I have with it, but it does prevent it from being a Dances With Wolves/Last Samurai situation. - Nawat Crow is an interesting character. He's definitely the weirdest possible love interest for a protagonist that I've seen for a while, and I'm curious to see how that plays out. - I love Sarai and Dove. And Winnamine.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allison Hurd

    Okay, so...this book is...well it was sure written. It contains many words. And, if we go with the premise that we're all individuals treated individually, rather than part of great patterns and tides of culture, there were lots of great characters. The thing is that's not true. We ARE consumed by patterns and tides of culture, and this book did a really, resoundingly bad job of dealing with it. Let me say just right up front. There are no people who prefer slavery. Oppression, even in the form of Okay, so...this book is...well it was sure written. It contains many words. And, if we go with the premise that we're all individuals treated individually, rather than part of great patterns and tides of culture, there were lots of great characters. The thing is that's not true. We ARE consumed by patterns and tides of culture, and this book did a really, resoundingly bad job of dealing with it. Let me say just right up front. There are no people who prefer slavery. Oppression, even in the form of condescension masking as kindness, is not to be supported. That is a trap, a false flag, and we should not fall for it. CONTENT WARNING: (no spoilers, just a list of topics) (view spoiler)[ slavery, inelegant discussion of slavery, death, murder, broad hints at sexual and domestic violence, mild uh...bestiality? (hide spoiler)] Things not to hate: -The Balitangs. Aside from their slave-owning proclivities (!?!?!?!) they were, um...nice? They filled the role of benevolent master very well, and served to make a great point about how people will always see mixed-race people as one or the other, as it suits them. No wait. Dammit! I'm trying to say nice things. They were nice, except for the large people owning elephant in the castle. -Our old friends. I have been a fan of Tamora's since I was a small child. My heart just goes to pieces when I see my old friends living in the new Tortall. They're still lovely. Although I have some words for Alanna and George, in the next section of my review. -The headstrong conflicts. Aly is too smart, quite flighty and knows she's pretty. While I have issues with all of that, actually, I think Tamora was trying to write an honest child of a rich and famous family with a mother known for her strong personality and temper. Probably it's right. The struggles we see in the family do feel fairly honest, and it was interesting to see my beloved Alanna from the viewpoint of someone trying to distance herself from her mother's will. But it was still clumsy and not as fun to read, for me. Things that disappointed me as a long time fan: -Slavery discussion. OBVIOUSLY. This was bad. The book showed slavery as a choice many would make because they eat better than the free yet destitute, and for the small price of constant rape, you could have a warm bed! We have a lot of responsibility if we're going to discuss slavery and this just completely dropped the ball. It was physically painful to listen to. I kept expecting someone to shout "The war wasn't about slaves!!" at some point. That would have really sold the whole narrative. -Continuity. Alanna and George raised a spy and then forbade her to be a spy. The conspirators were so careful that no one could ferret out what was going on, and then became so clueless that a 16 year old girl had to tell them how to keep their mouths shut. No. No. -Sex politics. One of the things I loved best about Tamora's earlier works is that sex was treated like a real thing with different viewpoints. These were all over the place. Flirting is good fun. Flirting gives the wrong impression. Kissing is too unladylike. Sleeping with whomever is a choice. I get it, it's confusing for a lot of people, but the main narrative here was one of shame. You should be ashamed for leading on men (but it's totally cool if they proposition you constantly). You should be ashamed to be kissing people you're not serious about. You shouldn't go to bed with anyone (unless they're rich or a king or something). Very upsetting after such a long run of sex positivity in age appropriate language. -Plot. Suuuuuper thin. So very thin. It basically came down to "he's crrraaaazy!!" ...'Kay. -Writing. It wasn't awful, and the narrator was good. But it feels like Tamora's writing has become more and more geared towards younger and younger audiences, which is a shame. It was so lovely to have appropriate but honest books in the 10-14 range that didn't avoid violence or sex, but didn't overdo it, either. -Romance. Yo. The love interest is a crow that looks like a human, and who is so animalistic that Aly keeps commenting on how he's not really a person. I mean, he's cool and sweet but we have to draw the line somewhere. He's a bird. Humans don't fornicate with or marry birds. I think that's still true, right?? I'm likely forgetting things, but I'll stop here. I'm torn about whether to continue to the second book. This is an author I've long admired--I did book reports about her in school! So part of me wants to trust her. But part of me is very timid about reading a book about freeing a people written from the POV of a spoiled white noble girl given this mess. A real shame.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Arya

    04 February 2009 The Trickster's Choice Alianne...Kyprioth...Nawat... Alianne (Aly) Cooper is the daughter of George Cooper, His Majesty’s Spy-master, and Alanna (Lioness) Cooper, King’s Champion. She has as her god-parents a King and Queen and as her adopted uncle and aunt the most powerful Mage in the realm and a half-goddess enchantress. But what will happen when sixteen year old Aly sneaks away from her over-protective and powerful family? The adventure begins... Captured by slave-traders (and 04 February 2009 The Trickster's Choice Alianne...Kyprioth...Nawat... Alianne (Aly) Cooper is the daughter of George Cooper, His Majesty’s Spy-master, and Alanna (Lioness) Cooper, King’s Champion. She has as her god-parents a King and Queen and as her adopted uncle and aunt the most powerful Mage in the realm and a half-goddess enchantress. But what will happen when sixteen year old Aly sneaks away from her over-protective and powerful family? The adventure begins... Captured by slave-traders (and with it not being Pirate season yet- dumb pirates, can’t they tell time, they’re not due for at least another month!) she is taken from her ancestral home Tortall to the political turmoil of the Copper Islands. Bought by Duke Mequen, third in line for the throne, she resolves to escape and return to her father as soon as possible, but is swayed from her resolve by The Trickster. Kyprioth, Trickster and rebellious little brother, he is determined to reclaim his throne- the worship of the Copper Isle peoples- that was stolen from him by his bother, Shining Mythros, and his sister the Mother Goddess. Aly is caught up in his scheme from the very beginning. He offers her a wager- keep Duke Mequen’s children safe for the summer and win a trip home and a place within her father’s inner circle of spies, or lose and be Kyprioth’s thrall for a year. The draw of the game is too alluring to refuse, she accepts, and is thrust into the world of political intrigue and violence, where you are assassinated for the blood that runs through your veins. Nawat Crow, the handsome “Crow-man” took human shape to protect Aly from the dangers that haunt her. He can run like a horse, swift as and eagle, yet silent as the wind, and his fingers are so swift they can pluck arrows from the air like ripe cherries, and delicate enough to fletch arrows with deadly Stormwing feathers. This man is protector and danger, all rolled into one of the funniest heroes every to stalk the pages of the mystical realm. Protector of Aly’s future and danger to her heart, he is both alluring and frightening. Sarai, Dove, Namair, George, Jonathan, Thayet, Alanna, Mythros, Winnie and Alan are just a few of the characters that will march into you heart through the heralding pages of Trickster’s Choice and lodge there, bringing mystery and excitement with them. The game of The Trickster, is just beginning...The Tricksters Choice, has been made...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This book, and its sequel "Trickster's Queen," were given to me for my birthday by my dear friend Corey. I had recently been longing for some escapist media -- the world has felt a little too real recently, and I wanted a break. The books came highly recommended from Corey, who loved them for the ways that they are explicit tales of anti-colonial uprising, with cross-species romance and Gods-touched descriptions of obligations and duty. Needless to say, I ate this book up with a silver spoon. Re This book, and its sequel "Trickster's Queen," were given to me for my birthday by my dear friend Corey. I had recently been longing for some escapist media -- the world has felt a little too real recently, and I wanted a break. The books came highly recommended from Corey, who loved them for the ways that they are explicit tales of anti-colonial uprising, with cross-species romance and Gods-touched descriptions of obligations and duty. Needless to say, I ate this book up with a silver spoon. Reading it on the subway or otherwise in the down time minutes, I flew through it in a few days. One of the things that's on my mind these days is how to tell a different story than the story that repeats the narratives of white male supremacy and neoliberal global capitalism. (Forgive the buzz word lingo for a minute, friends. In the essay that I'm thinking about and sorting out how to write these days, I'll take the time to explain what I'm talking about when I say these things. But for now, bear with me.) I think about this as an ideological problem with just about everything I see/read/consume these days -- from James Bond to Indiana Jones to smaller works like a *great* independent movie I just saw "Sleep Dealer" to these books. And what I was deeply touched by in these books is the attempt to tell a different story -- and that these books are intended for a young adult audience. Hell yes, I think. The specific problem that I am wrestling with, which I think is a primary focus of this novel, is how to convince/recruit folks with privilege to the cause which will bring about the liberation of everyone -- a liberation that will require the loss of privilege/resources by the owning/ruling class. What does it take for people to get on the right side of history? This novel's answer is pretty specific. The "luarin"/white woman who is the novel's protagonist is kidnapped and sold into slavery and becomes ensnared in another country's revolution, largely through a wager with a deposed Trickster God. By being a foreigner and a slave, the protagonist sees and experiences the world from the eyes of the people who have been violently oppressed by the luarin ruling class for several centuries. She is operating out of her own interests (freedom from slavery via the God), and using the skills that she was raised with as a member of her home country's luarin ruling class. So, her privilege is definitely in play, and she is not actually brutalized by her slavery (still has that luarin white skin, for one thing, and for another her slavery rapidly becomes a disguise to her advantage). But the pivot point which makes her realize that she will stay to fight the revolution (which is, honestly, the climax of the story) is when the luarin ruling class of this country has proven itself so corrupt and bloodthirsty that they attempt to murder the whole family of honorable luarin that the protagonist has been sold to. That they succeed in killing the patriarch is significant -- it is with that news that the protagonist decides to willingly give her energy and expertise to overthrowing the corrupt luarin throne. I'm fascinated by this, because even with a story that's interested in the narratives of liberation, the story is still told via the perspective and experience of a ruling class individual. This person is stripped of the outward vestiges of her power, yes, and it is that change of perspective that gives her the ability to broaden her thinking and see what needs to be done -- and what her role must be, as a person with a set of highly dangerous, highly regulated skills (thieving/spying). But see, here's the criticism: the luarin protagonist with privilege maintains privilege throughout the book (and certainly into the sequel, which lays out the mousetrap of their revolution). At no point does this character actually have to make a sacrifice for her revolution. She provides a service, certainly, but the liberation of the raka (the brown folks of this world) is never *her* liberation. And yet -- and here's the trouble -- she is given a privileged place amongst the rebels. She sees things they don't see, because she is the daughter of a ruling class of mixed blood (immortal/mortal) heritage, and because she is specifically touched by a God, and is preternaturally good at what she does. She makes a few mistakes along the way, but they are not actually all that costly. And in the end, there is regime change -- and, importantly, a redistribution of land -- but I'm struck by the way that the fundamental power structures were never really challenged. So now that I've held this text to the coals and run it through my particular ideological lens, I will say this -- it's very entertaining, and well-plotted, and still does portray an uprising that at least touches on these issues. And I'm glad that young people are reading this, and thinking through these narratives (with probably an even more critical eye than my own). With thanks and love to my friend Corey on my birthday. Don't worry that I take the text apart, hon. That's one of my favorite activities, too...dontcha know. **grin**

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Okay, I did like this. But, the fact that it took me over a month to read it knocked off a star in my overall review. I've heard so much about Tamora Pierce on this site, that I figured this would be a no brainer... maybe it's me. Yeah, it's probably me. But, first of all, I found out that this is the first book in the SECOND series of books and that was turn off numero one. I don't like coming into a story if characters have already been introduced. It's like watching Problem Child 2 before Prob Okay, I did like this. But, the fact that it took me over a month to read it knocked off a star in my overall review. I've heard so much about Tamora Pierce on this site, that I figured this would be a no brainer... maybe it's me. Yeah, it's probably me. But, first of all, I found out that this is the first book in the SECOND series of books and that was turn off numero one. I don't like coming into a story if characters have already been introduced. It's like watching Problem Child 2 before Problem Child. It's just wrong. Second, I get really tired of having to figure out names. I'm not expecting everyone to be named Kelly or Larry or something easy like that... but I'm tired of trying to remember who Lokeij is and if that person is Bronau or who's Nawat again? (Okay, that's a lie, I can't forget Nawat.) I didn't hate it and I'll probably read the sequels. Although, I won't be happy with myself. Like when Ted McGinley joined Happy Days in Season 8. Sometimes you just can't stop.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    :/ I was hoping that I would enjoy this series better than Tamora Pierce's other Tortall books, which, while entertaining, didn't enamor me, mostly because they felt like they weren't original fantasy, and because Pierce seemed ham-handed with her messages. I put that off to the fact that many of the other Tortall novels were oriented towards younger readers (around 4th grade), and because the Alana books, in particular, are older, which would've made them ahead of their time as far as "feminist :/ I was hoping that I would enjoy this series better than Tamora Pierce's other Tortall books, which, while entertaining, didn't enamor me, mostly because they felt like they weren't original fantasy, and because Pierce seemed ham-handed with her messages. I put that off to the fact that many of the other Tortall novels were oriented towards younger readers (around 4th grade), and because the Alana books, in particular, are older, which would've made them ahead of their time as far as "feminist" content goes, but perhaps underwhelming to the contemporary reader. Trickster's Choice, while written at a higher reading level (more middle grade, early high school YA) and with more complexity insofar as the political plot, has several other problems for me. At the very least, I found it BORING. The main character is boring, and I can't think of any defining character traits to describe her. She's conveniently good at everything, and I don't actually *believe* or am drawn in by her supposed emotions (concern for her family, embarrassment at being courted, anxiety that her charges may be killed!). She's also smart-ass, but not enough of one to make her anything but mildly irritating and make her seem like a petulant child, which she is, since she's on her whole mission just to one-up her parents. She also conveniently possesses all the necessary skills and doesn't have to learn anything, except how to not overtly be an upper class snob since she's pretending to be a slave. The main character's romance is boring. The book doesn't have much action, which would be fine, except that the politics are stereotypical. (For convenience sake, I'm going to refer to the majority pale-skinned rulers (Luarans) of the islands as "white" and the dark-skinned population native to the islands who were enslaved (Raka) as "black.") Worse than being boring, it's hard to get over the whole Tom Cruise/Last Samurai aspect. For some reason the black population, who has leaders, mages, and an army, which have been built up over the last several decades needs a blue-blooded white girl to launch their revolution? Although Pierce mixes in some comments of admiration for the Raka's organization, she also writes things to the effect of, "To the Raka, who had never dealt with political intrigue before, Aly must have seemed like a godsend!" I'm not quite sure why Tamora Pierce didn't tell this story from some other character's point of view except that she figured that she could reel more readers in (probably rightly so) because Aly is the daughter of the beloved characters Alanna and George. Another statement that likely was thoughtless but which could potentially be construed as extremely offensive was the line after the crow-turned-boy Nawat commented after running his fingers through Aly's (of course light-colored and fine) hair, "Your hair is so easy to preen!" Um, since it's highly likely that all of the other girls whose hair Nawat "preened" were Raka (black) or part-Raka, they probably had textured hair. So...the main love interest in this book just showed a strong preference for white features. ::cringe:: Greeeeat message for girls, not. Something that might be dealt with better later on is the fact that the two girls whom Aly is supposed to be guarding are bi-racial (of royal Luarin and Raka bloodlines), and due to an old prophecy, everyone thinks that these girls will be the ones to overthrow the yoke of Luarin (white) rule on the Copper Isles. This...is just complicated, and Tamora Piere doesn't do a good job whatsoever, if at all (she just ignores it except for saying that they're beautiful, probably because of the whole, "mixed babies are beautiful" mentality), depicting what must be significant difficulties for these girls in dealing with not only their biracial heritage, but also their biculturalism, considering that it was definitely not the norm for their white royal father to marry a black woman. While it makes sense via the prophecy-as-plot-device for these girls to eventually play a role in overthrowing the current oppressive Luarin rule, it just seems in poor taste to me. This isn't the same as taking some European country's King and some other European country's princess and marrying them off to solidify political and economic ties. If the existence of bi-/multiracial children could magically change the entire racial landscape, then WTF is up with the American South (and America in general)?! To add insult to injury, Aly berates the bitter black old woman mage who hates all white people about reverse racism, and how they can't kill off all Luarins since there has been substantial racial mixing (either through marriage or less consensual means). I don't think that Tamora Pierce intended to be racially and culturally insensitive, but Tamora Pierce isn't Shannon Hale. She apparently doesn't have the fine touch to deal with complex racial, cultural, and economic issues in a children's fantasy book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    My initial reaction: what happened to all the good, easy to pronounce names like Jon and George? I seriously dislike a majority of the names in this book. I know Tamora was probably going for something exotic with the whole Raka thing but it was just weird I had a hard time remembering who was who. As a girl power book, I didn't like it as much as Alanna. Aly seemed to get thing more dropped into her lap than actually fighting for what she wanted, which bothered me. Also, I know she wants to spy My initial reaction: what happened to all the good, easy to pronounce names like Jon and George? I seriously dislike a majority of the names in this book. I know Tamora was probably going for something exotic with the whole Raka thing but it was just weird I had a hard time remembering who was who. As a girl power book, I didn't like it as much as Alanna. Aly seemed to get thing more dropped into her lap than actually fighting for what she wanted, which bothered me. Also, I know she wants to spy like her "Da" but seriously? She has no other ambitions? I didn't relate to her character at all. So why did I give this book 3 stars? It got bumped up from two only because of Nawat. Perhaps because of the stupid name, he was stupidly funny. One thing Tamora has always been able to do for me is make me laugh and giggle at the awkward romances. And the fact that Nawat keeps trying to "mate-feed" her is hilarious. Also, the cameo roles of Alanna and George almost made me want to cry. They are not the characters I remember and loved. Maybe I'm just too young to appreciate them in their middle age ...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    I think my favorite part of this was seeing George as a father up close and personal. God I love him so much!! I loved seeing the spying aspect of Tortall and the world for a change. I loved the knight and mage aspects we see in the other series, but this was a new perspective and I am all for intrigue. Aly was so easy to like--she's clever but kind. She easily makes friends with the people she is sold to and I loved how they came to trust her and treat her like one of their own. I loved seeing I think my favorite part of this was seeing George as a father up close and personal. God I love him so much!! I loved seeing the spying aspect of Tortall and the world for a change. I loved the knight and mage aspects we see in the other series, but this was a new perspective and I am all for intrigue. Aly was so easy to like--she's clever but kind. She easily makes friends with the people she is sold to and I loved how they came to trust her and treat her like one of their own. I loved seeing the Kyprishian islands and learning about the culture there. Like Tortall, it is detailed and realistic. I love how Pierce created a unique world that has so many amazing facets. We still get glimpses of the old characters and I swear I almost wept with joy seeing them. I love these characters so much and if I could get like 10 more books about everyone that would be great.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Arielle Walker

    I'll write a proper review very soon, I swear - but I'm on 10% battery at the library and so my time is running out! (Fingers crossed for home internet so so soon...) Anyway first (rushed) impressions: Didn't fall as deeply in love with Aly as with Alanna or Kel Or Daine (or Daja, or Briar... etc etc) She's still a Tamora Pierce character and therefore wonderfully written, fully fleshed out and likeable. Interesting that colonialism is tackled - and I think handled quite well for the most part, thou I'll write a proper review very soon, I swear - but I'm on 10% battery at the library and so my time is running out! (Fingers crossed for home internet so so soon...) Anyway first (rushed) impressions: Didn't fall as deeply in love with Aly as with Alanna or Kel Or Daine (or Daja, or Briar... etc etc) She's still a Tamora Pierce character and therefore wonderfully written, fully fleshed out and likeable. Interesting that colonialism is tackled - and I think handled quite well for the most part, though unsure if there is a slightly colonialist-apologetic tone..? have to think about it. The Goddess is almost a villian here! Interesting... Nawat? Crow-turned-boy-turned love-interest? Interesting concept again... Too weird? Yes? No?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐

    The best part about re-reading my favorite books/authors now that I actually am active on GR is going back and writing reviews on why they mean so much to me. And this will actually be my 200th review! Woo! ANYWAY—this book..this series…this AUTHOR is the main reason why I love YA fantasy so damn much. I can remember it clearly actually, my best friend handed me this book when I was in 10th grade and told me how much she loved it and that I should give it a try. I did and spent the next few year The best part about re-reading my favorite books/authors now that I actually am active on GR is going back and writing reviews on why they mean so much to me. And this will actually be my 200th review! Woo! ANYWAY—this book..this series…this AUTHOR is the main reason why I love YA fantasy so damn much. I can remember it clearly actually, my best friend handed me this book when I was in 10th grade and told me how much she loved it and that I should give it a try. I did and spent the next few years slowly buying every single book by Tamora Pierce. So even though by reading this I ruined certain things for myself from previous Tortall based series (like who Alanna would end up with in her own series) I didn’t care. I have read each of these book so many times and they will literally NEVER get old. ***Side note I do recommend that you read all of the series in order, starting with Song of the Lioness so you don’t ruin the experience of meeting the new characters in every next series TO BEGIN if you want a solid fantasy story with intracate world building, great adventure, and GIRL POWER plz go to your local bookstore or library and get all of Pierce’s books right meow. While every new series focuses on a different main character, all of them are extremely likeable in their own way (or at least I think so). This one in particular focuses on George and Alanna’s daughter, Aly whose dream is to follow in the footsteps of her Da and become a spy. She gets a chance after being captured by pirates and being sold into slavery to the Copper Isles. A trickster god who has been stripped of his power by his brother and sister begs a wager from Aly: she keep the children of the Balitung family alive through the fall and he would speak to her father about her future as a spy. Of course things aren’t as simple as she imagined starting out. As she is entrenched deeper into both the luarin and raka politics of the Copper Isles, she finds that two of her charges are twice royal through both of their blood lines and that one might be destined for the throne should a revolution by the raka people come to fruition. Basically I love everything about this book and series. I am always a sucker for a good espionage plot because they keep you on your toes and you never quite know how things are going to play out until certain plans are already underway. Besides the plot, Aly has so much sass you can’t help but like her. Same goes for all of the main characters---especially dear Nawat. I had somehow forgotten how adorable his innocence and talk of mate feeding was lol. I know I could write so much more but this is a series that you just need to read. If I had only one complaint, (and it’s one I’ve seen other people have) it’s just that overall things happen a little too easily for Aly throughout the course of all of the books. To counter that though, if you remember who her family is, it just makes sense. She has genes of gold, let’s be real people lol. GO READ THESE BOOKS

  15. 5 out of 5

    Morgan F

    I am a girl and I love fantasy and I love strong heroines. Do not ask me why it has taken me this long to read a Tamora Pierce book. Could it be that the first book of all of her series are mysteriously missing? (Seriously, this always flippin happens). But one day, I saw this and leapt on it before the magic fairies could whisk it away again (Not as seriously). In the Tortall world, this is an odd place for me to start. Most of everything has already happened. Although, it wasn't impossible to c I am a girl and I love fantasy and I love strong heroines. Do not ask me why it has taken me this long to read a Tamora Pierce book. Could it be that the first book of all of her series are mysteriously missing? (Seriously, this always flippin happens). But one day, I saw this and leapt on it before the magic fairies could whisk it away again (Not as seriously). In the Tortall world, this is an odd place for me to start. Most of everything has already happened. Although, it wasn't impossible to catch up and keep the facts straight, it wasn't too easy either. And I kept feeling like I was missing something. Some of Pierce's characters from her other Tortall novels kept making cameo appearances, and I felt left out, like I should have been more enthusiastic. (The Lioness, woohoo!). I know how excited I get when Sarah Dessen leaves me with one of her little Easter eggs, so who knows how excited I would be if I had at least read the Alanna books first. The writing was clunky and serviceable. Not gorgeous prose or elaborate descriptions here. Just phrases like "Nawat picked up his bow and went to patrol the perimeter." (This excerpt is not an excerpt at all, but a random sentence I just pulled out of my butt). It also seemed a tedious sometimes. Some paragraphs were more of a list than anything else. There is just so much information Pierce wants to share with her reader, but she doesn't always do it in an intrinsic, natural way. Even with the prologue-thing that set up the story, there were times when a situation would be created just for the purpose of info-dumping. The politics were intriguing, but made my head spin. There was a multitude of characters, while mostly flat, they have potential, and I hope to delve more into their personalities with the following book. Also, the girly, romantic side of me wants more romance. More romance, please! And I am reallllllyyy looking forward to Aly's identity reveal. I kept looking for opportune moments in this book. I would imagine situations in my head where Aly reveals her identity to her charges, and was frustrated that it hasn't happened yet. I know I am a mega-dork. I know. Overall, this will certainly not be the last Tamora Pierce book I read. A good fantasy for those looking to get out of a paranormal rut.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shaina

    Shit. Pure and utter. However, I'm reading the second book because I'm a masochist with a ridiculous desire to know whether the main character has pseudo-bestial sex with a dude who was formerly a crow.

  17. 5 out of 5

    April Sarah

    Leaning 3.5. Video Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OznVm... Leaning 3.5. Video Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OznVm...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sakina (aforestofbooks)

    I AM CRYING MY HEART HURTS I CAN'T GET THE WORDS "DA" OUT OF MY HEAD I DON'T REMEMBER FEELING THIS BROKEN THE FIRST TIME

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is compulsively readable, with a plethora of female characters who aren't ever going to wait around for any man to rescue them. And that's awesome. I really liked having an action-adventure-fantasy book where the women are the dominant and active force. The political machinations are intriguing and at times unexpected, and the writing quality is top-notch. So why three stars? To quote another reviewer (Meg): "The plot basically hinges on a native [dark-skinned] people taking their land ba This book is compulsively readable, with a plethora of female characters who aren't ever going to wait around for any man to rescue them. And that's awesome. I really liked having an action-adventure-fantasy book where the women are the dominant and active force. The political machinations are intriguing and at times unexpected, and the writing quality is top-notch. So why three stars? To quote another reviewer (Meg): "The plot basically hinges on a native [dark-skinned] people taking their land back from the white-skinned invaders. These people were warriors, have been subjugated for generations, finally have their prophesied leader at hand... and are completely unable to do anything at all without our hero. I'm guessing the implications here weren't intentional, but once you notice some things, you can't un-notice them." Meg is exactly right. Aly is clearly coded as a white girl (strawberry blond with green eyes), just like the white "luarin" who have colonized the island. However, the darker-skinned raka (who seem based on Malasian or Indonesian people, based on their garb and descriptions) still perceive her as luarin. The raka god apparently couldn't rescue his own people without the help of a white girl. That is...problematic, to say the least. This could have been a five-star book. Considering that huge, gigantic issue, it speaks to the quality of the writing and other elements of a story that this even got a three. Other people have complained that the story should be told from Dove or Sarai's POV. I didn't have a problem with that, so much, although I think making it a multiple-POV story (maybe from both Aly and Dove's POVs) would have improved it. It does have interesting viewpoints on slavery and colonialism, but it also has a serious "Dances With Wolves" problem.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Francisca

    Kids: be nice to your parents, they're doing their best Also kids: if you do accidentally run away from home and get caught in the slave trade only to find yourself in the middle of a complex family-political drama with divine interference, at least get a letter home to let them know you're having fun being a know-it-all in the jungle Everyone: humility is the foundation of all virtues. Let's try and remember that please? Also everyone: if you're going to write a book about living in the shadow of Kids: be nice to your parents, they're doing their best Also kids: if you do accidentally run away from home and get caught in the slave trade only to find yourself in the middle of a complex family-political drama with divine interference, at least get a letter home to let them know you're having fun being a know-it-all in the jungle Everyone: humility is the foundation of all virtues. Let's try and remember that please? Also everyone: if you're going to write a book about living in the shadow of a famous hot-tempered mother, maybe don't let your daughter character spend the entire book in the middle of the jungle with a murder of crows getting handed (literal) deus-ex-machina plot twists and showing off how "brilliant" a "spy" she is? [I have a lot more thoughts on how utterly disappointing and fairly awful this sequel was, but really, it comes down to this: you can skip it. Go reread Protector of the Small.]

  21. 4 out of 5

    mith

    this godforsaken site won't add this book to my challenge so i've been fighting with this book for approximately 40 minutes. IN ANY CASE, i did not expect to like this so much! aly was such an amazing character, though i did feel as if a lot of things were convenient for her. not... that her situation was convenient, but i guess it says something about her character, being able to react and respond accordingly in whatever problem she found herself in. i loved her sense of humour! her sarcasm was this godforsaken site won't add this book to my challenge so i've been fighting with this book for approximately 40 minutes. IN ANY CASE, i did not expect to like this so much! aly was such an amazing character, though i did feel as if a lot of things were convenient for her. not... that her situation was convenient, but i guess it says something about her character, being able to react and respond accordingly in whatever problem she found herself in. i loved her sense of humour! her sarcasm was totally on point. uhhhh. i also loved nawat. he had that whole "new-to-being-an-actual-human" vibe and that is a trope i'm all about. his matter-of-fact speaking in crow thinking was absolutely hilarious at times, and i'm very keen on how he and aly are in book two. i'm speaking from a rather ignorant place here, though. this book has a lot about race and slavery in their world, and i'm not knowledgeable to really speak out on if it was handled well or not. that notwithstanding, i would recommend it!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shanti

    Tamora Pierce is the queen. She writes consistently good, female empowering, amazing, attention grabbing heroines and leaves you desperate for more (seriously, none of my libraries have sequel, which is terrible) The glimpses of other characters were FABULOUS, (Daine's baby, Alanna all grown up KEL KEL KEL KEL KEL... sorry. Kel is my favourite) but it is this books marvellous characters, tense and tight plot, and amazing setting which really drew me in. Alianne is totally different to her mother Tamora Pierce is the queen. She writes consistently good, female empowering, amazing, attention grabbing heroines and leaves you desperate for more (seriously, none of my libraries have sequel, which is terrible) The glimpses of other characters were FABULOUS, (Daine's baby, Alanna all grown up KEL KEL KEL KEL KEL... sorry. Kel is my favourite) but it is this books marvellous characters, tense and tight plot, and amazing setting which really drew me in. Alianne is totally different to her mother. We see that in the beginning, when they fight. She doesn't know what she wants to do in life (other than spying) and she is at home by herself. She's all alone and confused. Tricksters choice had a little bit of your typical YA finding yourself story, but what I loved about Alianne is that she is self aware. She knows her flaws, and knows that she's been playing with other hearts. And she feels ashamed Her growth through the story- and probably through Tricksters' Queen as well- makes her into a more brave person. I also loved her interactions with Krypioth. Nawat is fascinating. He's and ex-crow and his naivety, as well as being an excellent world building device, is seriously entertaining. (view spoiler)[ Especially, y'know, that mate feeding kiss. that was adorable (hide spoiler)] I really liked how his and Aly's relationship worked. Dove is fascinating. Something is going to happen to her in the next book which will show who she truly is. I predict a betrayal. Her repression and intelligence just fit in with her character perfectly. I like Saraiyu-I thought she was a realistically written sixteen-year-old noblewoman- but I'm not entirely sure she has it in her to be queen of the Copper Isles. Her internal conflict between raka and luarin was interesting, though, and I loved her participation in the fight scene at the end. Krypioth was hilarious. Winnamine was excellent. I loved Mathen. There are a lot of names to keep track of, but there is a helpful index at the back if you get confused. Pierce's plots are always well put together. In Trickster's Choice, I loved how layered it was. there is a) a young woman seeking independence, b)long term conquerer-conquered mindsets changing, c)a prophecy d) a god and they meet in strange and unexpected ways. I felt like Aly was a little too equipped to deal with the situations she was given sometimes, but I liked her resourcefulness. The entire rebel alliance thing did not feel at all overused in the this book. Which is a good thing. The twists and turns of the plot were always unexpected, and when things happened you never knew how it would come into play. I loved how suspenseful it was. This is a spy novel, but it isn't a mystery novel, but the formula was very different to all the other Tortall stories which I've read. Finally, there is the setting. I loved how diverse it was. This may be a fantasy world, but ethnic conflicts are a huge deal. It was interesting to be taken out of Tortall- we've seen a little bit of Carthark, Scanra and Galla in the other books, but the Copper Isles setting was seamlessly incorporated with the plot. I really liked the language, and the culture- sarongs and magic and so on. Also, the maps really helped me out. The use of idiom is even adjusted for people like the crows, and there are legends and myths (yes, and gods) backing everything up. I loved the Copper Isles setting and the rich history deposed kings and queens it was given. This was an excellent book. I think Tamora Pierce is really, really amazing, and reading her books makes me happy. I'm going to find the next one and devour it. Go Aly!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emma Michaels

    Let me just say that as an Alanna fan I was already fairly certain when I started this novel that I would love Alianne. The novel starts off wonderfully and it is very obvious that Aly is Alanna and George's daughter. With George's mischievous nature and Alanna quick mind Aly is able to easily win your heart. After a short while of reading it is no longer your love for George and Alanna that fuels your wanting to learn more but instead your love for the intelligent and unique young woman who is Let me just say that as an Alanna fan I was already fairly certain when I started this novel that I would love Alianne. The novel starts off wonderfully and it is very obvious that Aly is Alanna and George's daughter. With George's mischievous nature and Alanna quick mind Aly is able to easily win your heart. After a short while of reading it is no longer your love for George and Alanna that fuels your wanting to learn more but instead your love for the intelligent and unique young woman who is slowly learning to be herself even when hiding in plain sight. You also meet two wonderful characters Sarai and Dove, along with many other related characters who I won't say too much about because it is just too much fun for you to learn while reading. Sarai has a heart willed with a passionate fire while Dove in contrast keeps to herself and is very calm and calculating. When these two characters interact with with Aly it is like magic. Though Nawat's magic is much more potent. You can't help but enjoy his humor to say the least. Overall, wonderful new characters and very lovable. From my blog: http://EmmaMichaels.Blogspot.com

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    This book was a real delight! It is always a relief to read a book with a strong female character, one that is also believably feminine as well. There is humor, tragedy, betrayal, and good friends as well. There also is a trickster god who makes a deal with the main character, Aly, that if she keeps the girls to a family alive through the fall equinox that he will free her from being a slave and send her back home. Aly ends up freeing herself in a very honorable way. This is well worth recommend This book was a real delight! It is always a relief to read a book with a strong female character, one that is also believably feminine as well. There is humor, tragedy, betrayal, and good friends as well. There also is a trickster god who makes a deal with the main character, Aly, that if she keeps the girls to a family alive through the fall equinox that he will free her from being a slave and send her back home. Aly ends up freeing herself in a very honorable way. This is well worth recommending to teens, both female and male. In it they will find the horror of war and the beauty of keeping promises and finding out the surprises of life. Any more details would result in me having to slap a spoiler alert so I don't want to say more. Just that I enjoyed this immensely, the characters and story are believable and griping and you really should run, not walk, and get a reserve on this in your local library! Now I need to take my own suggestion and place a hold on the sequel to this book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    2.5 I really like all the other Tortall series so I was primed to enjoy this one. Have to say I was very put off by the supremely self-assured manner of the main character. Never a moment's uncertainty or self-doubt, or much introspection at all. Not a good quality in a YA book, or really any story where you want to see some character development and growth. I'll be reading the sequel, but just because I'm a fan of Tortall, and they are very quick reads. Disappointed, to say the least, because I 2.5 I really like all the other Tortall series so I was primed to enjoy this one. Have to say I was very put off by the supremely self-assured manner of the main character. Never a moment's uncertainty or self-doubt, or much introspection at all. Not a good quality in a YA book, or really any story where you want to see some character development and growth. I'll be reading the sequel, but just because I'm a fan of Tortall, and they are very quick reads. Disappointed, to say the least, because I was looking forwared to what the author would do with a non-warrior female lead character.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    3 1/2 Stars Well written but not what I expected.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karla

    This is the first book I've picked up in this long universe of books. I felt that it did a wonderful job of explaining things just enough to get me up to speed. The story was wonderful and the characters were amazing, both the good AND the bad characters. The pace of the book was just right and the setting was lush without brow beating the reader with it. On a completely different note: I haven't wanted to date a bird man so much since I saw Maleficent in theaters.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Troi

    I just finished rereading this book because I'd basically forgotten everything about it and decided it was time to update myself on the world of Tortall. I changed my rating from a 4 star to a 3 star for a couple of reasons. First, the beginning moved slowly and made it hard for me to keep going. Honestly, the only reason I kept going was because I'd remembered the character Nawat being my favorite character and I wanted to remember why. I wasn't disappointed. Nawat is still my favorite character. I just finished rereading this book because I'd basically forgotten everything about it and decided it was time to update myself on the world of Tortall. I changed my rating from a 4 star to a 3 star for a couple of reasons. First, the beginning moved slowly and made it hard for me to keep going. Honestly, the only reason I kept going was because I'd remembered the character Nawat being my favorite character and I wanted to remember why. I wasn't disappointed. Nawat is still my favorite character. The second reason for the rating change was the writing. I don't know why this didn't seem to flow as well as the PROTECTOR OF THE SMALL QUARTET did, but I found myself rereading paragraphs and sentences because I wasn't sure I understood what was being said. Sometimes I even had to go back over whole conversations because I felt like I'd missed something. And then there was the constant explanations of Aly's actions. Sometimes it was welcome, most of the time it was not. Finally, Aly herself. She was so perfect. She was skilled in practically everything. There wasn't anything that she couldn't do. It didn't bother me too much that she was so talented in everything, but it would have been nice to see a little bit more challenge in Aly's stay at the Copper Isles. It was a bit boring with everything coming so easily for her. Overall, it's not a bad book. But I can see why I had forgotten about it and I don't feel any strong compulsion to complete the series.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Maree

    This wasn't as good as the first one, but still solid. For some reason, the court stuff dragged on a little more for me, just like the gradual chipping away at the power of the palace seemed slow-paced to a lot of Aly's spies. I wanted stuff to happen, for the grand revolution to take place! But I learned just like those spies that the moment has to be right to strike. I do love how when the spies of other group leaders find out that Aly is the kind of spy master, they protest not about how she's This wasn't as good as the first one, but still solid. For some reason, the court stuff dragged on a little more for me, just like the gradual chipping away at the power of the palace seemed slow-paced to a lot of Aly's spies. I wanted stuff to happen, for the grand revolution to take place! But I learned just like those spies that the moment has to be right to strike. I do love how when the spies of other group leaders find out that Aly is the kind of spy master, they protest not about how she's a girl, but about her youth. And it was interesting to see the dynamics in the two different races, where one had only a male inheriting and the other was ready to crown a queen. I was really surprised about the little ship outcome, (view spoiler)[ but it really adds a bit of grit to the story. I still think it was taking the easy way out for Aly, but what else are you going to do? She didn't want to have to do anything about it so she didn't. But the thought had occurred to her, and it's a little convenient to just take it out of her hands. You can't have a baby killer for a main character and expect people to be sympathetic as long as they're supposedly a nice character. (hide spoiler)] I ended up being right about Dove -- I knew there had to be some other plan. But no spoilers!

  30. 4 out of 5

    ♥Xeni♥

    Read July 8, 2014 --- Read 2007: Of all the stories set in the realm of Tortall, this series featuring the famous Alana the Lioness's daughter is my absolute favorite. It almost feels like Pierce grew as an author when she wrote these two books, they read so much more intricately than the rest of her series. Ali is my ideal protagonist: trained as a spy at her fathers knee, she had a lot of skills, but no real goal in life. But all that changes when the trickster God decides to use her in his own Read July 8, 2014 --- Read 2007: Of all the stories set in the realm of Tortall, this series featuring the famous Alana the Lioness's daughter is my absolute favorite. It almost feels like Pierce grew as an author when she wrote these two books, they read so much more intricately than the rest of her series. Ali is my ideal protagonist: trained as a spy at her fathers knee, she had a lot of skills, but no real goal in life. But all that changes when the trickster God decides to use her in his own plans. And thus starts her journey to the Copper Isles (of which we've only heard a tiny bit of before, namely the traitor princess that Alana beheaded) and they are wonderful and amazing and filled with old magic and new dreams and oh it's all so glorious. I have to say I wish that Pierce had written a bit more about the spy life. I would have loved to learn a bit more about that. Still, I feel like not only did I live what Ali did, I actually LIVED it. Pierce brought the story to life, and I am ever grateful for her writing skills that do that.

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