Review – Trickster’s Choice

Cover of "Trickster's Choice (Daughter of...

Cover via Amazon

I learned of Tamora Pierce when I read her short story “Huntress” in Firebird Rising: A Original Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Her skills and subject choice stuck out in my mind and I made a point to remember her name. When I choose Trickster’s Choice I was pretty sure that I would be getting an interesting back drop with a heroine I could like.


The book jacket spells it out “The Copper Isles is a realm steeped in political turmoil with a complicated history of two cultures: the luarin conquerors and the native raka.” What you can’t tell from the book jacket is that the difference between the two sides is the color of the skin. To me it feels like a subtle play on the political and cultural turmoil that may countries felt during colonization. Racism and slavery are complex and sensitive subjects which Pierce handles well. Aly is nobility in Tortall with all the benefits but when she is captured by the slavers she becomes an ordinary slave and because of the deal she strikes with Kyprioth it is later a role she chooses.  The thing that I liked best about this story was how  Aly changes in her thinking and behaviors as she learns what it is like to live as a noble and as a slave.


Aly’s character changes a lot during the story and not all of it is due to the political turmoil around her. Within the first two chapters, we become aware that Aly is not your average noble. She wants to be a spy like her father and she has diligently paid attention to her lessons. Her will and her ability to fail but persevere are key traits that allow her character to grow romantically and professionally. Her friendship with the Balitang children and the raka slaves teaches her empathy. But more importantly those friendships remind her she still has a lot to learn. As the story progresses, Aly is captivated by the struggle of the raka people and their desire to put a raka queen on the throne; because despite the harsh treatment inflicted on them as slaves, they have not lost the passion or the dream of reclaiming their country and their freedom.


I was really impressed with the Trickster’s Choice. It’s a story that you have to pay attention to otherwise you’ll end up rereading pages to keep everything straight. But it’s also that complexity which makes it work so well as a part of a series. By the middle of the book, you know that this story is bigger than just one book. The characters complete a journey in this story, but by no means is it their major journey.


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