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This was a good book in some ways, but messed up enough that I probably won t look forin this series The writing style was fine easy to read, nothing detracting from the story, etc The plot was interesting and moved at a good pace even if it was clearly part of a series and didn t really conclude, there was a nice ending The world, while not overwhelmingly original, managed to stay far enough out of generic fantasy kingdom to be interesting I really liked the crows.Unfortunately, This was a good book in some ways, but messed up enough that I probably won t look forin this series The writing style was fine easy to read, nothing detracting from the story, etc The plot was interesting and moved at a good pace even if it was clearly part of a series and didn t really conclude, there was a nice ending The world, while not overwhelmingly original, managed to stay far enough out of generic fantasy kingdom to be interesting I really liked the crows.Unfortunately, the main character is perfect Eventually I realized that the book wasn t gripping in any way, because I knew that the hero would save the day Yes, most books end up that way, but you want to be tricked into thinking that it might not, because that s what makes it exciting Here, not so much.The funny thing is that I didn t actually dislike the character She starts off really well the smart ass 16 year old daughter of a great hero whose parents want her to make something of herself Okay, so she s good at pretty much everything clever, athletic, attractive, moral, relatively likable All of this wouldn t be a problem, because the character has SUCH an attitude, you expect that she s going to get into a lot of trouble for it, have to learn humility and the value of working with others, and all that The problem is, she never does Everyone loves her, she talks her way out of everything, not once do her actions lead to anything other than the desired outcome and everyone defers to her with only token grumbling.Which leads to the second thing that really bugged me The plot basically hinges on a native people taking their land back from the white skinned invaders These people were warriors, have been subjugated for generations, finally have their prophesied leader at hand and are completely unable to do anything at all without our hero I m guessing the implications here weren t intentional, but once you notice some things, you can t un notice them There s so much to like about this book, but there s a couple of glaring problems with it that I have to cover first 1 This is the first time Tamora Pierce has given us a series that takes place almost exclusively outside of Tortall, but it still has a white protagonist Don t get me wrong, I like Aly I also understand that the Tortall books are essentially a sort of family drama However, introducing a white protagonist whose goal is the liberation of a nation of people of color who have bee There s so much to like about this book, but there s a couple of glaring problems with it that I have to cover first 1 This is the first time Tamora Pierce has given us a series that takes place almost exclusively outside of Tortall, but it still has a white protagonist Don t get me wrong, I like Aly I also understand that the Tortall books are essentially a sort of family drama However, introducing a white protagonist whose goal is the liberation of a nation of people of color who have been conquered and oppressed by white people plays into some unpleasant colonialist narratives I mentioned in a previous post that one possible way to accommodate both the family drama style of the overall series and the Copper Isles setting would have been to have the main protagonist be a Copper Isles native with Aly as a secondary character 2 Aly is continually critical of the planned revolution and asks several PoC characters about the possible loss of life to the mostly white ruling class of the Isles I understand that revolutions can be a bloody business and that Aly is living with a mixed family in the book, which is a reminder to her that the white ruling class is not some nameless faceless evil This does complicate things However, on at least one occasion, it s suggested that the current white rulers of the country have only inherited their situation, as if that diminishes their responsibility for the ongoing oppression and enslavement of the indigenous people This is, frankly, bullshit No one gets to choose their parents, but people do get to choose whether or not to participate in the perpetuation of evil Honestly, I just think that Aly has too much sympathy for and spends to much time worrying about what might happen to the oppressing class when shit hits the fan.These are some pretty major flaws, in my opinion, but I really liked the book in spite of these problems Trickster s Choice is not as quick a read as most of Tamora Pierce s other books and it s far less action driven, dealing largely with political intrigue, but it s got a lot going for it A large and diverse cast of female characters This is a hallmark of Tamora Pierce s work, but it s something that I never fail to appreciate because it s so rare Each girl or woman in the book is well characterized and unique, and they are constantly talking to each other and forming meaningful relationships I especially love how different Aly is from the protagonists of Pierce s other series I like that I never feel like I m reading the same story over and over with Tamora Pierce, and Aly is vastly different from Alanna, Daine, and Kel I loved getting to read about the Copper Isles and their people It s really common for fantasy worlds to have places that are populated by people of color, but it s relatively rare for these settings to be explored in a way that shows those people as multidimensional people with complex societies, cultures, goals, and histories of their own I like that, while Aly is from Tortall, the story of what is going on in the Copper Isles so far has nothing to do with how it is going to affect Tortall I think the book is, for the most part, properly focused on the people of the Copper Isles and what they want for themselves While I already said that it bothers me that this story is being told from the point of view of a white outsider protagonist, I do like that, again for the most part, Aly is working with the people of the Copper Isles as a helperthan as a leader She s an important helper, and she has a leadership position, but she s not the leader of the revolution she s helping to foment and it s pretty clear that this revolution would happen with or without Aly This doesn t negate the problem that I have with it, but it does prevent it from being a Dances With Wolves Last Samurai situation Nawat Crow is an interesting character He s definitely the weirdest possible love interest for a protagonist that I ve seen for a while, and I m curious to see how that plays out I love Sarai and Dove And Winnamine Buddy read with Castle And my first reread O.O the last time I read this was like 5 or so years ago High school college Damn Coming back into this book after 5 years away, I had only a vague recollection of it I remembered Aly, and the Balitang sisters, and the fact that Aly wanted to be a spy, but not much else I think I spent half the book asking myself how in the hell Aly had been my least favorite MC up to this point, because she kicks ass Also, Dove and Sarai For noble b Buddy read with Castle And my first reread O.O the last time I read this was like 5 or so years ago High school college Damn Coming back into this book after 5 years away, I had only a vague recollection of it I remembered Aly, and the Balitang sisters, and the fact that Aly wanted to be a spy, but not much else I think I spent half the book asking myself how in the hell Aly had been my least favorite MC up to this point, because she kicks ass Also, Dove and Sarai For noble born girls, they kick ass all on their own and I LOVE it Can t wait to reread Trickster s Queen So I didn t think I would like this yeah, yeah, Tamora Pierce trying to make Alannainteresting now that she s in middle age, suprise here s her kid who s just as whacky and awesome, OMGs But seriously She s teh awesome And nothing like the Lioness books, which make them even better While Alanna was all about her proving herself to be stronger and better than people originally assumed she was, the Trickster series is about a spy, born and bred she lets people think she s dumb as rock So I didn t think I would like this yeah, yeah, Tamora Pierce trying to make Alannainteresting now that she s in middle age, suprise here s her kid who s just as whacky and awesome, OMGs But seriously She s teh awesome And nothing like the Lioness books, which make them even better While Alanna was all about her proving herself to be stronger and better than people originally assumed she was, the Trickster series is about a spy, born and bred she lets people think she s dumb as rocks if it suits her Ally is interesting, the development of old characters is awesome Alanna would so be the neglectful mom too focused on work to pay attention to her kids, and George would be Daddy The crows are cool too, and make me wish I had a crow for a side kick But I don t Alas 04 February 2009The Trickster s Choice AlianneKypriothNawatAlianne Aly Cooper is the daughter of George Cooper, His Majesty s Spy master, and Alanna Lioness Cooper, King s Champion She has as her god parents a King and Queen and as her adopted uncle and aunt the most powerful Mage in the realm and a half goddess enchantress But what will happen when sixteen year old Aly sneaks away from her over protective and powerful family The adventure beginsCaptured by slave traders and 04 February 2009The Trickster s Choice AlianneKypriothNawatAlianne Aly Cooper is the daughter of George Cooper, His Majesty s Spy master, and Alanna Lioness Cooper, King s Champion She has as her god parents a King and Queen and as her adopted uncle and aunt the most powerful Mage in the realm and a half goddess enchantress But what will happen when sixteen year old Aly sneaks away from her over protective and powerful family The adventure beginsCaptured by slave traders and with it not being Pirate season yet dumb pirates, can t they tell time, they re not due for at least another month she is taken from her ancestral home Tortall to the political turmoil of the Copper Islands Bought by Duke Mequen, third in line for the throne, she resolves to escape and return to her father as soon as possible, but is swayed from her resolve by The Trickster Kyprioth, Trickster and rebellious little brother, he is determined to reclaim his throne the worship of the Copper Isle peoples that was stolen from him by his bother, Shining Mythros, and his sister the Mother Goddess Aly is caught up in his scheme from the very beginning He offers her a wager keep Duke Mequen s children safe for the summer and win a trip home and a place within her father s inner circle of spies, or lose and be Kyprioth s thrall for a year.The draw of the game is too alluring to refuse, she accepts, and is thrust into the world of political intrigue and violence, where you are assassinated for the blood that runs through your veins Nawat Crow, the handsome Crow man took human shape to protect Aly from the dangers that haunt her He can run like a horse, swift as and eagle, yet silent as the wind, and his fingers are so swift they can pluck arrows from the air like ripe cherries, and delicate enough to fletch arrows with deadly Stormwing feathers This man is protector and danger, all rolled into one of the funniest heroes every to stalk the pages of the mystical realm Protector of Aly s future and danger to her heart, he is both alluring and frightening.Sarai, Dove, Namair, George, Jonathan, Thayet, Alanna, Mythros, Winnie and Alan are just a few of the characters that will march into you heart through the heralding pages of Trickster s Choice and lodge there, bringing mystery and excitement with them The game of The Trickster, is just beginningThe Tricksters Choice, has been made Okay, sothis book iswell it was sure written It contains many words And, if we go with the premise that we re all individuals treated individually, rather than part of great patterns and tides of culture, there were lots of great characters.The thing is that s not true We ARE consumed by patterns and tides of culture, and this book did a really, resoundingly bad job of dealing with it.Let me say just right up front There are no people who prefer slavery Oppression, even in the form of Okay, sothis book iswell it was sure written It contains many words And, if we go with the premise that we re all individuals treated individually, rather than part of great patterns and tides of culture, there were lots of great characters.The thing is that s not true We ARE consumed by patterns and tides of culture, and this book did a really, resoundingly bad job of dealing with it.Let me say just right up front There are no people who prefer slavery Oppression, even in the form of condescension masking as kindness, is not to be supported That is a trap, a false flag, and we should not fall for it CONTENT WARNING no spoilers, just a list of topics view spoiler slavery, inelegant discussion of slavery, death, murder, broad hints at sexual and domestic violence, mild uhbestiality hide spoiler Things not to hate The Balitangs Aside from their slave owning proclivities they were, umnice They filled the role of benevolent master very well, and served to make a great point about how people will always see mixed race people as one or the other, as it suits them No wait Dammit I m trying to say nice things They were nice, except for the large people owning elephant in the castle Our old friends I have been a fan of Tamora s since I was a small child My heart just goes to pieces when I see my old friends living in the new Tortall They re still lovely Although I have some words for Alanna and George, in the next section of my review The headstrong conflicts Aly is too smart, quite flighty and knows she s pretty While I have issues with all of that, actually, I think Tamora was trying to write an honest child of a rich and famous family with a mother known for her strong personality and temper Probably it s right The struggles we see in the family do feel fairly honest, and it was interesting to see my beloved Alanna from the viewpoint of someone trying to distance herself from her mother s will But it was still clumsy and not as fun to read, for me.Things that disappointed me as a long time fan Slavery discussion OBVIOUSLY This was bad The book showed slavery as a choice many would make because they eat better than the free yet destitute, and for the small price of constant rape, you could have a warm bed We have a lot of responsibility if we re going to discuss slavery and this just completely dropped the ball It was physically painful to listen to I kept expecting someone to shout The war wasn t about slaves at some point That would have really sold the whole narrative Continuity Alanna and George raised a spy and then forbade her to be a spy The conspirators were so careful that no one could ferret out what was going on, and then became so clueless that a 16 year old girl had to tell them how to keep their mouths shut No No Sex politics One of the things I loved best about Tamora s earlier works is that sex was treated like a real thing with different viewpoints These were all over the place Flirting is good fun Flirting gives the wrong impression Kissing is too unladylike Sleeping with whomever is a choice I get it, it s confusing for a lot of people, but the main narrative here was one of shame You should be ashamed for leading on men but it s totally cool if they proposition you constantly You should be ashamed to be kissing people you re not serious about You shouldn t go to bed with anyone unless they re rich or a king or something Very upsetting after such a long run of sex positivity in age appropriate language Plot Suuuuuper thin So very thin It basically came down to he s crrraaaazy Kay Writing It wasn t awful, and the narrator was good But it feels like Tamora s writing has becomeandgeared towards younger and younger audiences, which is a shame It was so lovely to have appropriate but honest books in the 10 14 range that didn t avoid violence or sex, but didn t overdo it, either Romance Yo The love interest is a crow that looks like a human, and who is so animalistic that Aly keeps commenting on how he s not really a person I mean, he s cool and sweet but we have to draw the line somewhere He s a bird Humans don t fornicate with or marry birds I think that s still true, right I m likely forgetting things, but I ll stop here I m torn about whether to continue to the second book This is an author I ve long admired I did book reports about her in school So part of me wants to trust her But part of me is very timid about reading a book about freeing a people written from the POV of a spoiled white noble girl given this mess A real shame |DOWNLOAD PDF ♾ Trickster's Choice ♶ 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 This book, and its sequel Trickster s Queen, were given to me for my birthday by my dear friend Corey I had recently been longing for some escapist media the world has felt a little too real recently, and I wanted a break The books came highly recommended from Corey, who loved them for the ways that they are explicit tales of anti colonial uprising, with cross species romance and Gods touched descriptions of obligations and duty Needless to say, I ate this book up with a silver spoon Re This book, and its sequel Trickster s Queen, were given to me for my birthday by my dear friend Corey I had recently been longing for some escapist media the world has felt a little too real recently, and I wanted a break The books came highly recommended from Corey, who loved them for the ways that they are explicit tales of anti colonial uprising, with cross species romance and Gods touched descriptions of obligations and duty Needless to say, I ate this book up with a silver spoon Reading it on the subway or otherwise in the down time minutes, I flew through it in a few days One of the things that s on my mind these days is how to tell a different story than the story that repeats the narratives of white male supremacy and neoliberal global capitalism Forgive the buzz word lingo for a minute, friends In the essay that I m thinking about and sorting out how to write these days, I ll take the time to explain what I m talking about when I say these things But for now, bear with me I think about this as an ideological problem with just about everything I see read consume these days from James Bond to Indiana Jones to smaller works like a great independent movie I just saw Sleep Dealer to these books And what I was deeply touched by in these books is the attempt to tell a different story and that these books are intended for a young adult audience Hell yes, I think.The specific problem that I am wrestling with, which I think is a primary focus of this novel, is how to convince recruit folks with privilege to the cause which will bring about the liberation of everyone a liberation that will require the loss of privilege resources by the owning ruling class What does it take for people to get on the right side of history This novel s answer is pretty specific The luarin white woman who is the novel s protagonist is kidnapped and sold into slavery and becomes ensnared in another country s revolution, largely through a wager with a deposed Trickster God By being a foreigner and a slave, the protagonist sees and experiences the world from the eyes of the people who have been violently oppressed by the luarin ruling class for several centuries She is operating out of her own interests freedom from slavery via the God , and using the skills that she was raised with as a member of her home country s luarin ruling class So, her privilege is definitely in play, and she is not actually brutalized by her slavery still has that luarin white skin, for one thing, and for another her slavery rapidly becomes a disguise to her advantage But the pivot point which makes her realize that she will stay to fight the revolution which is, honestly, the climax of the story is when the luarin ruling class of this country has proven itself so corrupt and bloodthirsty that they attempt to murder the whole family of honorable luarin that the protagonist has been sold to That they succeed in killing the patriarch is significant it is with that news that the protagonist decides to willingly give her energy and expertise to overthrowing the corrupt luarin throne I m fascinated by this, because even with a story that s interested in the narratives of liberation, the story is still told via the perspective and experience of a ruling class individual This person is stripped of the outward vestiges of her power, yes, and it is that change of perspective that gives her the ability to broaden her thinking and see what needs to be done and what her role must be, as a person with a set of highly dangerous, highly regulated skills thieving spying But see, here s the criticism the luarin protagonist with privilege maintains privilege throughout the book and certainly into the sequel, which lays out the mousetrap of their revolution At no point does this character actually have to make a sacrifice for her revolution She provides a service, certainly, but the liberation of the raka the brown folks of this world is never her liberation And yet and here s the trouble she is given a privileged place amongst the rebels She sees things they don t see, because she is the daughter of a ruling class of mixed blood immortal mortal heritage, and because she is specifically touched by a God, and is preternaturally good at what she does She makes a few mistakes along the way, but they are not actually all that costly And in the end, there is regime change and, importantly, a redistribution of land but I m struck by the way that the fundamental power structures were never really challenged So now that I ve held this text to the coals and run it through my particular ideological lens, I will say this it s very entertaining, and well plotted, and still does portray an uprising that at least touches on these issues And I m glad that young people are reading this, and thinking through these narratives with probably an evencritical eye than my own With thanks and love to my friend Corey on my birthday Don t worry that I take the text apart, hon That s one of my favorite activities, toodontcha know grin Okay, I did like this But, the fact that it took me over a month to read it knocked off a star in my overall review.I ve heard so much about Tamora Pierce on this site, that I figured this would be a no brainer maybe it s me Yeah, it s probably me But, first of all, I found out that this is the first book in the SECOND series of books and that was turn off numero one I don t like coming into a story if characters have already been introduced It s like watching Problem Child 2 before Prob Okay, I did like this But, the fact that it took me over a month to read it knocked off a star in my overall review.I ve heard so much about Tamora Pierce on this site, that I figured this would be a no brainer maybe it s me Yeah, it s probably me But, first of all, I found out that this is the first book in the SECOND series of books and that was turn off numero one I don t like coming into a story if characters have already been introduced It s like watching Problem Child 2 before Problem Child It s just wrong Second, I get really tired of having to figure out names I m not expecting everyone to be named Kelly or Larry or something easy like that but I m tired of trying to remember who Lokeij is and if that person is Bronau or who s Nawat again Okay, that s a lie, I can t forget Nawat I didn t hate it and I ll probably read the sequels Although, I won t be happy with myself Like when Ted McGinley joined Happy Days in Season 8 Sometimes you just can t stop I was hoping that I would enjoy this series better than Tamora Pierce s other Tortall books, which, while entertaining, didn t enamor me, mostly because they felt like they weren t original fantasy, and because Pierce seemed ham handed with her messages I put that off to the fact that many of the other Tortall novels were oriented towards younger readers around 4th grade , and because the Alana books, in particular, are older, which would ve made them ahead of their time as far as feminist I was hoping that I would enjoy this series better than Tamora Pierce s other Tortall books, which, while entertaining, didn t enamor me, mostly because they felt like they weren t original fantasy, and because Pierce seemed ham handed with her messages I put that off to the fact that many of the other Tortall novels were oriented towards younger readers around 4th grade , and because the Alana books, in particular, are older, which would ve made them ahead of their time as far as feminist content goes, but perhaps underwhelming to the contemporary reader Trickster s Choice, while written at a higher reading levelmiddle grade, early high school YA and withcomplexity insofar as the political plot, has several other problems for me At the very least, I found it BORING The main character is boring, and I can t think of any defining character traits to describe her She s conveniently good at everything, and I don t actually believe or am drawn in by her supposed emotions concern for her family, embarrassment at being courted, anxiety that her charges may be killed She s also smart ass, but not enough of one to make her anything but mildly irritating and make her seem like a petulant child, which she is, since she s on her whole mission just to one up her parents She also conveniently possesses all the necessary skills and doesn t have to learn anything, except how to not overtly be an upper class snob since she s pretending to be a slave The main character s romance is boring.The book doesn t have much action, which would be fine, except that the politics are stereotypical For convenience sake, I m going to refer to the majority pale skinned rulers Luarans of the islands as white and the dark skinned population native to the islands who were enslaved Raka as black Worse than being boring, it s hard to get over the whole Tom Cruise Last Samurai aspect For some reason the black population, who has leaders, mages, and an army, which have been built up over the last several decades needs a blue blooded white girl to launch their revolution Although Pierce mixes in some comments of admiration for the Raka s organization, she also writes things to the effect of, To the Raka, who had never dealt with political intrigue before, Aly must have seemed like a godsend I m not quite sure why Tamora Pierce didn t tell this story from some other character s point of view except that she figured that she could reelreaders in probably rightly so because Aly is the daughter of the beloved characters Alanna and George Another statement that likely was thoughtless but which could potentially be construed as extremely offensive was the line after the crow turned boy Nawat commented after running his fingers through Aly s of course light colored and fine hair, Your hair is so easy to preen Um, since it s highly likely that all of the other girls whose hair Nawat preened were Raka black or part Raka, they probably had textured hair Sothe main love interest in this book just showed a strong preference for white features cringe Greeeeat message for girls, not Something that might be dealt with better later on is the fact that the two girls whom Aly is supposed to be guarding are bi racial of royal Luarin and Raka bloodlines , and due to an old prophecy, everyone thinks that these girls will be the ones to overthrow the yoke of Luarin white rule on the Copper Isles Thisis just complicated, and Tamora Piere doesn t do a good job whatsoever, if at all she just ignores it except for saying that they re beautiful, probably because of the whole, mixed babies are beautiful mentality , depicting what must be significant difficulties for these girls in dealing with not only their biracial heritage, but also their biculturalism, considering that it was definitely not the norm for their white royal father to marry a black woman While it makes sense via the prophecy as plot device for these girls to eventually play a role in overthrowing the current oppressive Luarin rule, it just seems in poor taste to me This isn t the same as taking some European country s King and some other European country s princess and marrying them off to solidify political and economic ties If the existence of bi multiracial children could magically change the entire racial landscape, then WTF is up with the American South and America in general To add insult to injury, Aly berates the bitter black old woman mage who hates all white people about reverse racism, and how they can t kill off all Luarins since there has been substantial racial mixing either through marriage or less consensual means.I don t think that Tamora Pierce intended to be racially and culturally insensitive, but Tamora Pierce isn t Shannon Hale She apparently doesn t have the fine touch to deal with complex racial, cultural, and economic issues in a children s fantasy book