Bewildering Stories

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Tamora Pierce's Trickster's Choice

Trickster's Choice
Author: Tamora Pierce
Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, Sept. 2003 432 pages
ISBN: 0375814663
Price: $17.95

I first noticed the cover on Trickster's Choice. It was quite different than your run-of-the-mill YA fantasy cover. Very classy. And I read the inside cover blurb about Aly, the heroine, captured by slavers and then being co-opted by the trickster-god of the vanquished locals, Kyprioth. So, I said, Okay. I've like what I've read of Tamora Pierce in the past, so I'll give it a try.

Good choice. This book is a continuation of Pierce's "Tortall Saga", and the 16 year old heroine, Alianne, is the daughter of "The Lioness" the famous Knight-Protector and "Woman Who Rides Like A Man". It is hard living in the shadow of famous parents, because also her Dad is second in command of the espionage group that works for the King of Tortall (second only because he likes staying in the background as much as is possible) and they won't let her do the spying jobs she's been trained for ever since she was small... because it's dangerous.

The book is fast moving, well written, and thoroughly enjoyable. There is little of the magic-use that almost overwhelms the previous books that Pierce has written. The cast of characters is interesting, and the interplay between the downtrodden raka (brownskins) and their conquerers the white-skinned luarin is fascinating in its racial overtones, especially since the enslaved Aly is a whiteskin like the luarin overlords.

There are murderous plots, romantic interest in the form of a crow turned young man, the machinations of the Gods, a wager with Kyprioth (very much like the native American "Coyote") and a very well plotted tale.

Pierce has been an enjoyable YA author since the first of her Alanna books, but she has improved as a writer, and this book, Trickster's Choice, shows her at the top of her form. Highly recommended.

Copyright © 2004 by Jerry Wright

A Review of Summerlands