Book of the Week: Trickster’s Choice

September 17, 2012 Book of the Week 2

Welcome ot my newly weekly segment. Now, normally I’m going to be posting this around Thursday, Friday or Saturday to keep it nicely spaced out from the Tuesday Three. For now, the first one will be posted today because I’m sick in bed and I need something to do besides watching Once Upon a Time reruns.

So now, I will introduce you to the new weekly blog: Book of the Week. Each week I will review a book for you. It may be a book that I’ve already read in the past, it may be a new book, it may be a book I absolutely hated. Eitehr way, I’m sharing a book with you guys :D I also asked my good friend, Jackie, the awesome nerd-writer over at seekingbazinga.com, to help contribute to this.

For the first week, I decided to do one of my favorite books of all time. This book is both popular and overlooked at the same time.

Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce

Book One of The Trickster Series by Tamora Pierce

Tamora’s Series (in Order)

The Song of the Lioness (Alanna)
The Immortals (Daine)
The Protector of the Small (Keladry)
The Trickster Series (Aly)

The Plot:

This is the first book of Tamora’s fourth series in the Tortall world. Now, it IS helpful if you read the series in order. But it doesn’t ruin the experience. The first Tortall book I picked up was this one. Tortall is a fictional land where there are kings and queens, knights and mages, magical creatures and all sorts of fun and awesome stuff.

Now, Alianne of Pirates Swoop is the daughter of the King’s Champion (who also happens to be the first female knight in over 100 years) and the King’s Spymaster. Her brother, Thom, is learning to be a mage at the palace university and her twin brother, Alan, is being trained to be a Knight of the realm. Aly is sixteen years old, an adult, and has yet to find her way in the world.

However, she knows exactly what she wants to do: she wants to be a spy. Trained at her father’s knee, she is clever and knows the way of a spy world. Of course, she is a well-bred, noble girl and that is out of the question. After getting into an argument with her mother about her future, she does what any other normal sixteen year old would do: she takes her ship out to sea, to go on a nice little sail until her mother leaves again.

Her ship is soon attacked and boarded by pirates and she is sold into slavery in the nearby Copper Isles. Ever the clever girl, she makes herself as ugly as possible in the slave pens to deter anyone buying her as a bed warmer. Instead she is given to the Balitang family, a rich noble family in the heart of the Copper Isles kingdom. She begins to learn the history of the country: how it was once called the Kyprish Isles and was ruled by the brown-skinned raka people…that is until the white luarins from the nearby countries invaded and took over.

It doesn’t take long for Aly to get swept up in a secret, underground rebellion involving the raka slaves and servants of the Balitang house, a trickster god by the name of Kyprioth and the two eldest daughters of the family, Saraiyu and Dovesary, who are both luarin and raka, and have royal blood in each line.

The Good or the Bad:

Obviously since this is one of my favorite books in the entire world, it is definitely good. There are several reasons for this.

Tamora Pierce is amazing at writing fantastic strong female characters. And I love strong female characters (see: Joss Whedon). Aly is only sixteen-years-old and gets sold into slavery in a foreign country, a country which is hostile toward her own. Despite all of this, she’s insanely clever and smart. She fits herself in so well, and gets information without seeming like she is getting information. She forms a bond with the trickster god, Kyprioth, that is more like friendship than worship. Once she uncovers the rebellion going on in the house, she’s intrigued. She’s fighting her hardest to escape and make her way back home but the history of the country and the intricacy of the rebellion is almost like fun for her. Its a chance to finally use all the skills and intelligence she has.

As much as I love all the series of Tamora’s, I love this one the most. Yes, because it was the first series I read of hers, but also because I love how much more complex this story was. The ideas of slavery and invading another country and taking it as their own…these are not new ideas. These ideas are part of our own history. It seems like almost a little bit of a political statement on the part of Pierce. Its just another interesting way to read about slavery and conquering, from the conquered point of view.

There are also amazing characters in this book, besides just Aly. If anyone ever needed a lesson on character development, this is a person to go to. Every single one of her characters are individual and unique and written so well. There’s a character for everyone. All these characters are so round and believable, I can’t think of any of the characters that are flat. And the villians, the royal family of the Copper Isles, are so evil, in such a conniving, sneaky, slippery ways. You’re literally disgusted at the things they do, especially once you start reading the second book.

The best part? There’s romance (which I do love) but its not mushy or forced and roll-your-eye worthy. And  no love triangle. Aly feels something for her new friend, Nawat, but she is more concerned with her task at hand than love. She’s so focused and driven. LOVE it.

So I definitely recommend this book, to anyone. I would recommend it more to girls/women but I’ve heard of guys liking it as well. The link above is a direct link to its amazon page, where you can pick it up in paperback for under 10 dollars. I hope to hear from some of you that you’ve read it or that you plan to! Check out the Tuesday Three tomorrow and keep an eye out for my Comikaze blog coming soon!

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