Book Review: Tamora Pierce’s Trickster’s Queen

Posted December 30, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Young Adult readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Tamora Pierce’s Trickster’s Queen

Trickster's Queen


Tamora Pierce

It is part of the , series and is a fantasy in Paperback edition that was published by Random House on October 11, 2005 and has 469 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Lioness Rampant, Wild Magic, Trickster's Choice, Wolf-Speaker, Emperor Mage, Realms of the Gods, First Test, Page, Squire, Lady Knight, Terrier, Bloodhound, Mastiff, Daja's Book, Sandry's Book, Tris's Book, Briar's Book, Magic Steps, Street Magic, Cold Fire, Shatterglass, The Will of the Empress, Melting Stones, Battle Magic

Second in the Daughter of the Lioness young adult adventure-fantasy series (seventeenth in the overall Tortall series) about Aly Cooper, 16-year-old spy for the raka rebellion. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Tortall books on my website.

My Take

Most of Pierce’s stories are written at a children’s level. This series is geared more toward young adults simply because of the longer sentence lengths, more sophisticated wording, and the greater reading comprehension required. Do not however let this hold your kids back! This is a fascinating read and much too compelling to put down easily!!

I still disagree with Pierce’s placing Ulasim in the role of a footman. In most noble or royal houses, a footman is a lower class of servant. It would have been much, much more appropriate to have made him a butler or steward.

I very much enjoyed Aly’s cheeky responses to people. It would be a good skill to acquire and a great way to disarm people who are angry with you.

The Story

The Duchess has freed Aly from slavery and Aly has taken over intelligence operations for the raka rebellion. A position made easier when Kyprioth takes her in hand, for Prince Rubinyan and Princess Imajane are perfectly comfortable with assassination and betrayal.

Fortunately, when the Balitang household returns to Rajmuat from exile, Aunt Nuritin is there to ease their return, but there isn’t anything Aunt Nuritin can do about the metaphysical signs of approval.

The danger only increases when the Princess commands the Balitang family to the Palace. For the young Duke Elsren to play with the three-year-old King Dunevon and the ladies of the family to return to Court. Under Princess Imajane’s eye. Dangerous for Aly as well when she is dragged before the king’s spymaster. Even more dangerous when she discovers how extremely competent Taybur Sibigat is at spycraft.

At first, the regency is without problem but then the betrayals begin, a situation of which Aly takes advantage, pushing for rebellion.

But then Princess Imajane proposes a marriage. A suggestion that sets Lady Sarai off on a dangerous course before a horrible act fans the flames.

The Characters

Alianne “Aly” Cooper was recruited by Kyprioth as a bodyguard. Nawat Crow is a crow shifter who took human form in order to court Aly. Tkaa, a basilisk who is friends with Aly’s parents, arrives at Court with gifts for the new king. Darkings are small magical beings which can take on any shape and transmit what they hear and see to each other. Sir Alanna and Baron George Cooper are Aly’s parents and have been worried sick about her. Aly’s brothers are Thom, the family mage, while Alan, her twin, entered page training over three years ago.

Duchess Winnamine Balitang‘s son Elsren is next-in-line to the throne after Dunevon; the duke was killed in Trickster’s Choice by the betrayer, Prince Bronau. The duke’s half-raka daughters from his first marriage, Saraiyu and Dovasary, and his luarin daughter with Winnamine, Petranne, are back in Rajmuat on Kypriang Island amongst the Copper Isles. Aunt Nuritin Balitang is the de facto head of the Balitang household.

Ulasim is the head footman and the commander of the raka rebellion while Chenaol, the family cook, is in charge of weapon procurement for the rebellion. Fesgao is still a man-at-arms and the war leader of the rebel army. Ochobu, a raka healer and mage for the rebels, accompanies the family back from exile along with Junai Dodeka, Ulasim’s daughter. Their old healer nursemaid, Rihani, is still with them and a warrior in the raka cause and now Dove’s bodyguard. Quedanga, their old housekeeper, comes back to the household and gathers in the gossip and talk of the markets from servants, slaves, artisans, priests, and more. Ysul is the Chain’s mage in the Windward District of Rajmuat, Ochobu’s equal in power.

In Trickster’s Choice, Aly began training selected servants to function as her spies and includes Boulaj, Sarai’s maid; Pembery, Winnamane’s maid; Atisa and Guchol Libo are sisters; Kioka; Eyun; Rasaj; Jimarn; Yoyox; Fegoro; Olkey; Hiraos; Lokak; Ukali; Gian, Elsren’s manservant; Dorilize, Lady Nuritin’s maid; Wayan, a house messenger; and, Bacar, a footman in another’s house. Then there are the ones whom Aly converts, double agents like Vitorcine Townsend. Vereyu is the head of the raka spy network in the palace while Callyn works for the harbormaster.

Nobles who are looking to rebel against Princess Imajane include Lord and Lady Wesedi, Lady Adona, Lord and Lady Obemaek, and Lord and Lady Lelin. Baron Qovold Engan is the royal astronomer and the Lady Dove’s former tutor in cartography and astronomy. Duke Vurquan Nomru, a former commander of the army, is one of Dove’s favorite chess partners. Imgehai Qeshi, Winnamine’s father, is a priestess of the Black God. Matfrid Fonfala.

Prince Rubinyan Jimajen is married to Princess Imajane, the dead King Oron’s half sister. Their three-year-old son, Dunevon, is first-in-line to the throne after King Hazarin. Taybur Sibigat is the new commander of the King’s Guard. He also cares very much for the young king. Duke Lohearn Mantawu, a.k.a., Topabaw, is the spymaster for the Copper Isles and a mage. Aly reports her findings to Master Grosbeak. Sevmire Ambau is Rubinyan’s private spymaster.

A Catharki, Lord Zaimid Hetnim, is one of the courtiers paying court to Lady Sarai. He is also the youngest mage to become head of the Imperial University’s Healers’ Wing in Cathark. Count Ferdolin Tomang is a wealthy noble also courting Sarai.

Kyprioth is the Great God, the Trickster, to the raka and ready to re-take the Copper Isles and put a raka queen back on its throne. Mithros is the Great God to the luarin. He and the Great Goddess, Alanna’s patroness, are siblings to Kyprioth, but several hundred years ago, they overthrew Kyprioth and the raka. The Graveyard Hag, a lesser trickster, plans a joke on Kyprioth.

The Cover and Title

This cover with its dark brown background displays the left side of Lady Dovasary’s face, almost a mirror twin to the cover on Trickster’s Choice. Instead of a brown hood, Lady Dove’s hair is gathered behind her neck with a copper chiffony light gathered atop her head and trailing behind.

The title is apt as this time the Trickster’s Queen is chosen and installed.