Joint Review: Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce
Book Review: Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce
How Excited Was Mary to Read This? I’m going with 7. When I was visiting her recently, Elizabeth dumped a pile of Tamora Pierce books on my bed and informed me there were even more where those came from. In other words, I needed to catch up. I love that Tamora Pierce writes strong female heroines. And this one had BY FAR the best cover. Voila.
How Excited Was Elizabeth to Read This? Excited to the max! I eagerly await every new Tamora Pierce book – and I first read this one when it came out.
How Excited is Mary Now? 6. Maybe I overdosed a bit on Tamora Pierce, but this one didn’t really have any good surprises for me. Also the romance, while sweet, was kinda strange?
How Excited is Elizabeth Now? 9. I don’t think it’s possible to overdose on Tamora Pierce.
Book Jacket: Tamora Pierce brings readers another Tortall adventure! Alianne is the teenage daughter of the famed Alanna, the first lady knight in Tortall. Young Aly follows in the quieter footsteps of her father, however, delighting in the art of spying. When she is captured and sold as a slave to an exiled royal family in the faraway Copper Islands, it is this skill that makes a difference in a world filled with political intrigue, murderous conspiracy, and warring gods. This is the first of two books featuring Alianne.
MC’s Review: I love the character of Alanna and I love the idea of following her daughters adventures. I even liked Aly! This book began with a short faux-history chapter, which shows just how detailed Pierce’s world-building is. (It even has fake footnotes, a la David Foster Wallace! On second thought, comparing ANY footnotes to David Foster Wallace’s might be a bit of a stretch…) She transports us from Tortall to the Copper Isles, which gives her a chance to really stretch those world-creating muscles. If Tortall is perhaps Medieval England, the Copper Isles appeared to be culturally analogous to India, which was interesting. More to the point, in the Copper Isles, there is long-standing tension between slaves (the raka) and the oppressors (the luarin): obviously Aly needs to set things to rights now that she is there! She can’t be the daughter of the Lioness and George Cooper for nothing!
Like I said, I liked Aly’s character. What I didn’t like is that there was no real character-growth. She hinted at having behaved frivolously back in Tortall (she had even dyed her hair blue!) but amidst that frivolity she had learned all there ever was to know about spying and become an expert with daggers, an excellent horsewoman, and all-around perfect apparently. That made her adventures less interesting.
Subpart! Unresolved-To-Be-Resolved-Later Sexual Tension: 3. Aly’s love interest is… unique. He is a crow who turns into a man just for her. And his one purpose in life appears to be serving Aly. Which is all fine and good, but not exactly a healthy relationship. So I wasn’t a huge fan of this element of the book. Pierce describes King Jonathan and Queen Thayet as “co-rulers” of Tortall. I LOVE that. A partnership! And one that elevates the queen. Here, there is definitely no true partnership on the horizon, and not only did I find that troubling, I was concerned that Aly did not even question it!
Elizabeth’s Defense: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with books being predictable when you have a formulaic elements as appealing as Tamora Pierce’s. This book completely lived up to my expectations. For TRUE fans, it won’t disappoint! Plus, unlike Mary, I don’t read her books for the romance. I like the stories and the worlds she creates. I’m also a bigger fan of fantasy than Mary, so that might explain why this story appealed to me so much – I would argue it has some of the most fantastical elements – notably Nawat Crow – of all of her books.
Re-Readability: 7, for both of us. We don’t think we’ll ever truly tire of Pierce’s books. The nostalgia factor is huge. An easy read when in search of an adventure.
Recommended For: Like all of Pierce’s books, we would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read with a strong female heroine.
If You Liked This Book You Should Also Check Out: Other books by Tamora Pierce, of course – she’s a very prolific writer. Beyond the obvious, Sharon Shinn also creates wonderful other worlds filled with magic and interesting adventures. Mary is planning to review Troubled Waters, a recent favorite, soon.