Carolynn's Reviews > Trickster's Queen

Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce
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Apr 09, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: do-not-read

Tamora Pierce was part of my literary diet when I was growing up. The combination of Western fantasy with Western science fiction means that even now I picture the fantasy city with wide boulevards, low-gabled houses, and amber sunlight dappling the warm streets.

Malheureusement, growing up one comes to perceive the limitations of such a treatment of the genre.

Trickster’s Queen, then, is a painful reread because I approach it this time with a new clarity of vision. It is a story, essentially, about colonialism.

I mentioned to a friend how the Daughter of the Lioness stories distinctly map onto the USAmerican presence in the Philippines.

Pierce’s Tortall is a place where dogs are trained in Malay, after all – if Pierce can come up with faux-foreign vocabulary for all the other regions of her world, I find it shameless to simply grab Malay wholesale.

But, to return to this book: in Trickster’s Queen, the white woman convinces the indigenous peoples to support a mestizo regime because she and only she knows what will save them. She is kingmaker, power-broker, saviour all in one. In the Trickster’s Queen universe, this is unquestionably a righteous happening; Aly is vindicated by the appearance of demigods who hail her for her political and military intervention in the Copper Isles.

I find it remarkable how the parallel of the novel’s plot with historical and contemporary USAmerican influences in Southeast Asia could fail to escape readers. The book’s and author’s politics – Pierce has written, for example, short stories whose plot boils down to ‘save the niqabis from themselves’ – are distasteful enough that, if I ever have a nostalgic craving for the Summersea quartets, it’ll be heigh ho, heigh ho to the library instead.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Amanda Doty Pierce weaves real themes into her
fantasy. In the Beka Cooper books, it's slavery. In these books it's colonialism. But Aly, though playing a role of a white savior for POC, is not the colonialism the raka are facing. They had been oppresses for centuries when their god (who is a full god, not a demigod) fights to regain control of his land. I think Pierce does a great job of showing the dangers and hardships an oppressed people face when trying to regain their independence and their homes.


Megan Fermo I think the books ring true more about the Spanish occupation of the Philippines, rather than the American.Like how they colonized it for more than three hundred years and all.


Chelsea I love this review. I never see anyone criticizing this and I thought the white savior-y crap was really icky. I absolutely do not understand why this story had to be told from Aly's perspective instead of Dove's, or from some other third person. And Aly had that whole ~not ALL luarin! We have to get along!~ attitude and it's like really, lady?? Did u.... w... W?????


Anne Marie It doesn't matter that Alt isn't the colonial danger the Raka face. It's still repugnant that it upholds the white saviour narrative. If Aly had been instrumental in the downfall of the white tyrants, but the Raka had done most of the work and most of the thinking it would be a different matter, but this was very much presented as only she could have done it... which, racial politics aside, is b.s.... if someone else, anyone else, highly placed in the rebellion with half a brain had received the gift of the darkings then the job would have gotten done.


Anne Marie *Aly

Also, if you want to read Pierce as an adult and not be disappointed, I recommend her Beka Cooper series. So good.


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