Posts tagged ‘Aly’

March 10, 2013

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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February 27, 2013

Musing on “Trickster’s Choice” Part II

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

Cover via Amazon

On February 19th, I wrote a musing on the audiobook that I’m listening to at work “Trickster’s Choice” by Tamora Pierce.  I have two CD’s to go and I’ll be finished with the book.  Thus far, I’m really enjoying it. Tamora Pierce has a way with storytelling that makes putting in the next CD a must.  The main character Aly is sixteen years old -a difficult age at best. When the story started she was a spoiled brat, the kind of teenager that you envied and disliked. Over the course of the story Aly has grown in so many ways.

One of my favorite changes in Aly is her appreciation for her mother.  Tamora crafts situations where Aly is forced to do something or say things that her mother has done or said that she didn’t agree with. At which point Aly is able to reflect and understand.  It’s a good example of show don’t tell. Pierce shows not only Aly, but the reader how the lesson applies to them.

I’m diggin her love life. Aly has fallen in love, she just hasn’t realized it. Falling in love can either be head first or feet first- for Aly its feet first. But what do you expect from the daughter of a warrior and a spy? Since the cradle, she was taught to have her wits about her at all times. Well anyone who’s been in love knows – wits and love don’t mix. The fact that her love interest is a crow turned man has funny, awkward all over it. I love it when he talks about feeding her from his food sack.

Another aspect to the story that I find enjoyable is Aly’s cultural awareness. Initially, Aly had a very narrow view of the world and people. But by having Aly first forced into slavery and then choose it as a means of disguise, it creates opportunities for Aly’s humanity to grow. Already she has learned to respect the raka in a way that never would have been possible in her old life. She has become aware of the reality to the harsh side of laws. She is becoming more aware of the injustices to laws. Her character is already very wise, so when she has moments of growth they resonate.

I’m looking forward to finishing the story.

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