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Sixteen is a rebellious age for most young people, and Aly is no exception. With her mother, the lady knight Alanna, forever being summoned to some crisis or other, and the young men of Tortall little more than diversions, Aly is bored and restless. Her father is second-in-command of the country's spies- of only he would let her be one! The former king of thieves, he had trained her in the arts of espionage and knows that she is capable of taking care of herself. But he won't risk losing his only daughter to the dangers of the field, so she spends her time helping him decode messages and dyeing her hair blue.

But everything changes when Aly, sailing alone down the coast of Tortall, is captured by pirates and winds up a slave to the Balitangs, a kindly noble family of the Copper Isles. Years of lessons in the Isles' history have prepared her for their dual cultures- those of luarin, or white, conquerors and those of the brown-skinned, or raka, natives. Fueled by prophecies of a twice-royal queen who will free them, the rakas' resentment keeps the realm in constant turmoil. But Aly is no weeping captive; she's determined to free herself.

Enter Kyprioth, patron god of the Isles, also known as Trickster, who is looking to shift the balance of power back to his raka worshipers. Aly makes a deal with the god: she will use her own trickster gifts to keep the Balitang children, especially the two teenage girls, safe through the summer. In exchange, Kyprioth will give her magical assistance in the form of spying crows and knowledge of events at court- and eventually, her freedom. But deals with gods are never simple matters; she doesn't count on becoming personally involved in the raka revolt, or with an unusual young man who has his own plans for Aly. ...

590 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2005

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About the author

Tamora Pierce

106 books83.5k followers
Hey, folks! I just discovered that apparently I have given some very popular books single-star ratings--except I haven't. How do I know I haven't? Because I haven't read those books at all. So before you go getting all hacked off at me for trashing your favorites, know that I've written GoodReads to find out what's going on.

I return to my regularly scheduled profile:
Though I would love to join groups, I'm going to turn them all down. I just don't have the time to take part, so please don't be offended if I don't join your group or accept an invitation. I'm not snooty--I'm just up to my eyeballs in work and appearances!

Also, don't be alarmed by the number of books I've read. When I get bored, I go through the different lists and rediscover books I've read in the past. It's a very evil way to use up time when I should be doing other things. Obviously, I've read a lot of books in 54 years!

I was born in South Connellsville, PA. My mother wanted to name me "Tamara" but the nurse who filled out my birth certificate misspelled it as "Tamora". When I was 8 my family moved to California, where we lived for 6 years on both sides of the San Francisco peninsula.

I started writing stories in 6th grade. My interest in fantasy and science fiction began when I was introduced to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ by J. R. R. Tolkien and so I started to write the kind of books that I was reading. After my parents divorced, my mother took my sisters and me back to Pennsylvania in 1969. There I went to Albert Gallatin Senior High for 2 years and Uniontown Area Senior High School for my senior year.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, I wrote the book that became The Song of the Lioness fantasy quartet. I sold some articles and 2 short stories and wrote reviews for a martial arts movie magazine. At last the first book of the quartet, Alanna: The First Adventure was published by Atheneum Books in 1983.

Tim Liebe, who became my Spouse-Creature, and I lived in New York City with assorted cats and two parakeets from 1982 - 2006. In 2006 we moved to Syracuse, New York, where we live now with assorted cats, a number of squirrels, birds, raccoons, skunks, opossums, and woodchucks visiting our very small yard. As of 2011, I have 27 novels in print, one short story collection, one comic book arc ("White Tiger: A Hero's Compulsion") co-written with Tim, and a short story anthology co-editing credit. There's more to come, including a companion book to the Tortall `verse. So stay tuned!

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5 stars
3,166 (67%)
4 stars
1,098 (23%)
3 stars
344 (7%)
2 stars
59 (1%)
1 star
7 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 43 reviews
Profile Image for eyes.2c.
2,577 reviews68 followers
November 22, 2019
This is my second time of reading these two books. I must say I am more impressed with them. The writing seems to have matured, as of course have the characters.
320 reviews2 followers
October 13, 2009
I loved this story. Not only because it opened up a hole new land and culture but because it had so much added demantion of character and ploting sneekeiness. Pluse we got glimpses for the lifes of past favoriets from other books and what they were up to now. Once again a real strong heroine and awsome supoting cast.
6 reviews
March 3, 2009
Profile Image for Vanessa.
27 reviews
June 2, 2010
Absolutely amazing! I absolutely love this book; no matter how many times I read it I am still hooked and excited as ever. Just marvelous.
Profile Image for Inkdeathinbloom.
224 reviews3 followers
September 27, 2021
Boy, I remember wanting to enjoy this and lowkey hating it. The nostalgia part of me that had read the Alanna quartet (like a ripe 3 or 4 years prior) was really sad to see that Alanna was...kind of a bad parent. But I was just teenage enough to see how yeah, that did hold up though. And then Aly's adventures were premised on her...throwing a temper tantrum. For me, by 13/14, going out too far to sea realistically meant you should have drowned, and being captured by slavers didn't mean a nice place with a noble family. The gods weren't there to look out for you (wth?) and also screw you that you're going to sell me a story that if you're privileged enough, you can even make it out of a lost-at-sea and enslaved scenario on top and smelling of roses. I haven't really re-read this since then and my general vibe of it doesn't really make me want to? I'm sure there's more there, but...yeah, I choked on the hero.
Profile Image for Katie.
534 reviews11 followers
December 17, 2019
I enjoyed these books far more now than I did the first time I read them. Aly lacks a great deal of self-awareness, and that's part of her charm. The political intrigues and maneuvers hold my interest far more now than when I was a young adult. And the characters feel more real, this time around. With hardly any memories of the duet from before, it was like a fresh read.

And the inclusion of "Bone's Day Out" in the ebook edition made me smile. It was nice to see a theiry related to spidrens that had long existed in fanon be confirmed as part of the actual canon via the events in Bone's story.
782 reviews5 followers
August 16, 2017
I love the main character, Alianne. But if I read her in a fanfiction piece, I'd be expecting screams of 'Mary Sue'. Alianne is a bright, attractive young woman who ends up in a situation that she has effectively been groomed from birth to be perfect for. Add to that magical 'sight', a cohort of 'helpful' crows, a god who keeps sticking his oar in, and the perfect spies that are only known to her, and she is the only one who can succeed. I did occasionally have problems with suspension of disbelief, but I didn't spend that time going "but the author just wants to *be* her".
Profile Image for Andi.
17 reviews1 follower
July 30, 2020
Tamora Pierce has done it again. It took me so long to read these intially because I was unsure of how they'd be. But I love this story of the daughter of Alanna and George, and how her determination and smarts clearly come from them. I also love how Tamora doesn't shy away from topics like racial discrimination and inequality. This story was just inspiring to read, and I can't wait to read it again sometime!
Profile Image for Andrea.
242 reviews4 followers
April 8, 2018
I had also read this series before, but I guess it was a long time ago because it wasn’t on my list! I really like the themes and the complexity of the plot in this one, and Aly is another strong female character. I just love Tamora Pierce.
Profile Image for Janet Gruver.
15 reviews1 follower
October 18, 2018
Got to love Kyprioth, Allie and Nawat Crow, in this Amazing addtion to the Tortallan characters, C/O the copper Isles
350 reviews
December 13, 2019
5stars for a must read duet!

I'm enjoyed rediscovery Tamora Pierce books and this duet filled my quest for escape to adventure and the world of hers. A returning fan!
Profile Image for Susan.
1,447 reviews
December 17, 2016
This is an omnibus containing Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen, from The Daughter of the Lioness series. Aly, Alanna's daughter, is the heroine of the books.

Trickster's Choice
Aly would like to be an active spy, but her parents won't let her. She is out sailing when she is captured by pirates and carried off the the Copper Isles to be sold as a slave. She lets herself be beat up so she will not be attractive and no one bids on her, so she is thrown in as a freebie and ends up in the Balitangs household. There is much tension between the native raka and the white luarin who conquered the Isles, but this household contains luarin, raka, and half-raka, who all get along, and the slaves and servants are well-treated. Then the trickster god Kyprioth shows up, convinces the Balitangs that Aly has been sent as the gods' messenger, and makes a wager with her. If she can keep the two half-raka daughters (the twice-royal) of the house alive until autumn, he will take her home again. She uses all the tricks she has learned from her father and grandfather about spying, codes, etc., as well as her own limited magical power, to get involved in an incipient raka uprising to remove the luarin from the throne of the Copper Isles.

Trickster's Queen
This book covers the progress of the revolution. Kyprioth is involved in a battle of his own with the sun and moon gods who exiled him to the Copper Isles in the first place. His strength is somewhat dependent on the raka being successful, but he can't provide much help to them. I can't describe the story without giving away too many spoilers, but it is exciting, with a couple of good plot twists. I really enjoyed re-reading these books.
Profile Image for Rebecca Alasdair.
Author 1 book33 followers
September 1, 2017
For me, this was THE book. The book that properly introduced me to YA literature, the world of high fantasy, and kick-started my eternal adoration for reading in general. I therefore find it fitting that it is now the subject of my very first Goodreads review.

I read Trickster all the way back in 2007 (the first time, anyway). Using a voucher I received for my thirteenth birthday, I purchased the hardcover double-whammy of Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen--a monstrous beast I thought would take me months to read. It didn't. I plowed through the book in about a week, a feat that was unheard of for me at the time.

But I was captivated from the very beginning. Captivated by the vibrant world, the fast-paced plot, and the sharp and brilliant mind of the MC, Aly Cooper. Add in meddling gods, an uprising by the long-subjugated natives, and romance with a crow-turned-man, Trickster is a book that brings me endless enjoyment even now, ten years later.

My only mistake was reading it before any of Tamora Pierce's other books--a problem I soon rectified by speeding through every single one of the Tortall books then available. From one year to the next, I went from reading fewer than 10 books in 2007, to almost 50 in 2008!

So thank you, Ms Pierce. Thank you for making my 13-year-old self fall in love with books...and helping set me on the path of writing my own.

The god inside the man glanced at Aly. “This is your chessboard, I believe, my dear.”
Aly beamed at him. “So it is. And the game begins.”
Profile Image for Ilyse.
332 reviews8 followers
October 11, 2016
I love trickster folktales, so Tamora + Trickster should have been smash hit. I was a little too old when this came out, freshman in college, but this series still felt like catching up with old friends (Alanna, George, Kel!), and making new ones. Seeing from Aly's point of view the drawbacks of having the "Lioness" as a mother was great fun, and very humanizing.

This series is probably the most political--we have slavery, and a community of color (the "Copper Isles") experiencing social upheaval. Aly isn't my favorite of Pierce's heroines, even though she's lovely--clever, resourceful, and a trickster herself. I hate the love interest here--I find the crow/human dynamic icky, plus just not a fan of how the sex scene is
Aly: no/no/no/
Crow: yes/yes/yes
Aly: yes
then bam, fade to black.

But I found all the female relationships--sisters Sarai, Dove, and their stepmother, the girls and Aly, and especially Aly and Dove, true intellectual equals and soul sisters, to be fabulous. I always get a chill when I re-read Aly pledging her loyalty to Dove.
Profile Image for Fallon Willoughby.
178 reviews21 followers
August 18, 2014
Tricksters is actually two books in one: Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen. I have already reviewed the first book somewhere else, so let me review Trickster's Queen here.

As always, my favorite thing about Tamora Pierce's books are her characters. The people she writes feel believable, and are loveable (or hatable, as needed). Again, in this novel, Aly and Nawat are my favorite, but Dove really grows into her own and becomes fantastic. The characters make the novel.

The plot works really well in this novel, and there is even a very nice curve ball in this one that I fully and completely love. We also get to see some of our favorite characters from Tortall. I think it is great that so many of her books are able to link together and continue to paint a picture (even if it is in tiny sections) of the lives of those we already have an interest in.

I wanted to put a few quotes in here, but it will have to wait, as my book is at home.

More to come.

Profile Image for Allie.
94 reviews
January 1, 2015
With Tamora Pierce, there aren't really surprises. I got a little annoyed in the second book because the main character, Aly, is just so good at what she does and everyone loves her, which can get old. That said, the characters were fun, the story was very intriguing and interesting, and overall reading it was satisfying. Pierce definitely pays homage to her other works and characters, which I also found a bit tiresome, but I haven't read most of her other stuff (except the Lioness Quartet), and I found this to be better. Definitely worth a read whether you like her other works or not.
Profile Image for Teresa.
17 reviews
February 13, 2016
Loved these two books. Ali is such a different kind of heroine to her mother and it was refreshing and exciting. I enjoyed the intrigue and since George Cooper was one of my favourite characters from the series I'm glad to see more of him and his daughter. These two felt a bit more grown up than previous novels, perhaps as they were written as two larger novels rather than a quarter of shorter ones but the content seemed more complex: colonization, subjugation, racism, rebellion, intrigue, plots and coups. Just another amazing addition to the Tortall universe.
Profile Image for Daniell.
271 reviews4 followers
August 18, 2013
I discovered Tamora Pierce many years ago and fell in love with her books. Starting with Alana I was truly intrigued and I'm grateful that she has continued the Tortall series. I love all the new stories and characters as well as the return of many of the original characters just to get a glimpse back into their lives as they move forward. Start at the beginning and savor the adventures this series has to offer, you will not be disappointed.
Profile Image for Evan.
152 reviews23 followers
July 5, 2007
This is a truly top notch fantasy series, dappled with a few extremely well written characters, set in a wonderfully developed fantasy realm, teeming with intelligence, cunning, and intrigue. Its two books are separate novels, each with their own beginning, middle and end, and each show a different progression of a fascinating girl becoming a formidable spy-master.
Profile Image for Christina Getrost.
2,171 reviews68 followers
July 11, 2007
I'm late to reading Tamora Pierce's books, so I'm gradually catching up on her various series. I love the world she's created and the mix of magic, immortals, and swordfighting/vaguely medieval trappings. Plus her heroines are a lot of fun!
Profile Image for Jenny.
159 reviews1 follower
April 9, 2013
I liked the first book in this series but it was nowhere near as good as Tamora's other books.
I skipped through the second book and pretty much just read the end.
That being said it was nice to be able to reconnect with the other characters and get a brief look into what they are doing now
176 reviews3 followers
March 31, 2013
Tamora Pierce is one of my favorite Young Adult authors. She always has very strong female characters, even when they're not the lead. The Daughter of the Lioness series focuses on Alanna's daughter, Alianne. Both books are filled with interesting adventures. I recommend her books to anyone.
49 reviews1 follower
April 12, 2015
I love Tamora Pierce's books. Every book has strong female heroines which is why I bought the full set for my niece, who loves them too. I strongly suggest this and all her other books to fantasy loving females young and old!!
Profile Image for Jay.
15 reviews11 followers
January 18, 2010
I have the feeling that this isn't what it's titled as. . . I think i've read this as Trickster's Choice, with a sequel called Trickster's Queen. :( I thought that this was an entirely new book. . .
Displaying 1 - 30 of 43 reviews

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