I became an avid reader at a very young age, but it was not until middle school that I found my favorite young adult fantasy books. Because I love libraries and organization I always try to work my way through an entire section, reading everything that sounds interesting, before moving to the next one. Middle school was around the time I finished the Young Adult section and moved on to the Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy section. Yet because my favorite young adult author, Tamora Pierce, has a last name that hid her books in the last shelf of the room I almost passed her by! After reading books filled with strong female characters (and lots of magic, which I’m always a fan of), I became a fan of “girl-power, feminist, girls can do everything boys can do” young adult lit. It makes me happy, and it is nice to see female characters in traditionally male-dominated roles like knights and King’s Champion.

 

Trickster's Choice

Tamora Pierce is a prolific author, with well over twenty published books and many awards. At the point that I stopped reading her books (sometime in high school, when I found several epic fantasy series’ in the adult fantasy section), she had five completed quartets, three of which take place in the world of Tortall. The other two quartets are as equally wonderful and magical. Tortall is a country in a war-torn world, with both wars against other nations and border raids, and immortals that have started crossing from the world of the god’s to the mortal realm. The world Pierce created is full of magic, mythology, political intrigue, and strong-willed characters. The Tortall world was introduced in The Song of The Lioness Quartet, four stories about Alanna, a young girl who pretends to be a boy to become Tortall’s first female knight. Trickster’s Choice continues Alanna’s story by following the life of her teenage daughter.

 

Alianne, Aly for short, is the daughter of Tortall’s most famous female knight and the nation’s best spy. While her twin brother trains to become a knight and her older brother is a powerful mage, Aly struggles to create a life that isn’t overshadowed by her famous parents. She lives the typical life of a noble woman, attending parties and handling her many suitors, but dreams of a career as a field agent in her father’s spy network. After a fight with her parents, Aly leaves for a small trip to visit friends and is captured and sold into slavery. Now living on the Copper Islands working for an exiled royal family, Aly becomes involved with a god’s battle to win control of the Islands and place the family on the throne again.

Aly is one of the more complex characters in the Tamora Pierce books I’ve read. She is spoiled and used to being the center of attention because of her parents and her beauty, but she is also incredibly resourceful and driven to succeed. When captured by the slave owners, she willingly fights with other slaves to get cuts and bruises, ensuring that she would not be sold as a bedroom companion and thus have a better chance to escape. She uses all her knowledge of code breaking, lying, and observing other people’s actions to create a spy network of her own to protect the exiled royal family, but is willing to admit she can make mistakes and learns from them. She misses her family and easy lifestyle, but when given a choice stays to protect the family and her new friends. Using her intelligence, keep intuition, and personal drive to make something of her life, Aly has become one of my favorite characters.

Despite being aimed at younger readers, I loved this book. I read it years ago when it first came out (2004, I believe), but hardly remembered it. I reread the book because I wanted to rediscover my love for Tamora Pierce’s books, and was not disappointed. I highly recommend this book for all ages, not just young adults. A great story of mystery and plot twists, Trickster’s Choice is an ideal read for lazy weekends.

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