Trickster's Queen (Trickster Series #2) by Tamora Pierce, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Trickster's Queen (Trickster Series #2)

Trickster's Queen (Trickster Series #2)

4.6 290
by Tamora Pierce

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Aly’s adventure continues. . . . No longer a slave, Alanna’s daughter is now spying as part of an underground rebellion against the colonial rulers of the Copper Isles. The people in the rebellion believe that a prophecy in which a new queen will rise up to take the throne is about to be realized. Aly is busy keeping the potential teenage queen and her


Aly’s adventure continues. . . . No longer a slave, Alanna’s daughter is now spying as part of an underground rebellion against the colonial rulers of the Copper Isles. The people in the rebellion believe that a prophecy in which a new queen will rise up to take the throne is about to be realized. Aly is busy keeping the potential teenage queen and her younger siblings safe, while also keeping her in the dark about her future. But Aly, who is usually adept at anticipating danger and changes, is in for a few nasty surprises.
New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Tamora Pierce captured the imagination of readers 20 years ago with Alanna: The First Adventure. As of August 2003, she has written 21 books including three completed quartets: The Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, and The Protector of the Small, set in the fantasy realm of Tortall. She has also written the Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens quartets. The author lives in New York, NY.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The humour is wicked, and the plot twists will keep the pages turning to the supremely satisfying end.”—School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
Aly and her fellow rebels return in Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce, the sequel to Trickster's Choice, which PW called "densely political, rife with cultural background and sprawling character trees." Aly insinuates herself into the graces of the Rittevon rulers as she accompanies the Balitang family, disguised as a servant, and assists them in their attempt to reclaim the throne. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Pierce's sequel to Trickster's Choice continues the saga of the Tortellan Aly in disguise as spymaster to the raka of the Copper Isles. Returning from winter exile in the farthest island of the chain, Aly arrives with her Balitang family in the capital city of Rajmuat—directly into a growing revolt against the ruling luarin nobility. Naturally, nineteen-year-old Aly has it all well in hand. With the help of her well-trained operatives, her erstwhile crow-man lover, Nawat, and the reappearance of Pierce's clever little darkings, the return of the throne to Aly's princess in waiting would appear to be a sure thing. That is, until Sarai decides to elope, and Nawat makes himself scarce, and . . . Once again Tamora Pierce has stretched her medieval fantasy world into a place of high intrigue, adventure, and battle. It is fun to have the spunky Aly back again, but she is not having as much fun here as in her previous adventures. Perhaps it is because she has already been accepted and there are few new surprises to her character. The book is still a good, rousing read. 2004, Random House, Ages 12 up.
—Kathleen Karr
In writing this sequel to Trickster's Choice (Random House, 2003/VOYA October 2003), Pierce successfully presents the events of the previous book in the opening pages, allowing this volume to stand well on its own merit. Infused with spirited action and intrigue, this fantasy moves with lightening speed toward a war for power in the Copper Isles, home to two races of peoples, the native raka and the usurping luarin from the Eastern lands. The heroine is Aly Homewood, a spymaster from another kingdom sent by the Trickster god to win back the throne for the raka, and in so doing, to help him regain his dominion over the Isles. Many months of recruiting rebels and spies precede the opening pages. The novel begins as Aly accompanies the half-raka future queen and her family as they come home to the capital city from exile. What ensues is a power struggle involving humans, gods, immortals, and fantastic beings, all of whom must choose a side and fight from their hearts. The most interesting new creatures are the darkings, charming little shape-shifting globs who hide and spy for Aly all over the city. There are so many characters that Pierce thankfully includes an extensive cast in the back as well as a glossary of her imaginative place names, gods, and dynasties. Boys and girls alike will enjoy this fantasy-the boys for its nonstop adventure and the girls for its strong female characters. VOYA CODES: 4Q 5P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, Random House, 240p.; Glossary., and PLB Ages 11 to 15.
—Leslie Carter
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2004: Pierce continues the story of brave and clever Aly, daughter of Alanna (from Pierce's The Story of the Lioness quartet) and heroine of Trickster's Choice (an ALA Best Book for YAs; reviewed in KLIATT in November 2003), in this feminist fantasy about conspiracies in an exotic land. Aly, age 17, is bodyguard to Dove, the potential queen of the Copper Isles, and her siblings, as well as spymaster for a rebel group hoping to put Dove on the throne. Aly must use her magic to protect her charges and to help the rebel group, as dangers lurk everywhere. She is aided--and courted--by Nawat, a young man who had once been a crow, who provides training in the fighting arts, as well as by crows, mages, and helpful little shape-shifting "darklings." Meanwhile, only the trickster god Kyprioth knows Aly's true identity as part of a famous family from the rival kingdom of Tortall. The Prologue briefly summarizes the events of the first book, but this complex and rewarding tale, with its admirable protagonist, will be best appreciated by those who have already read that one. A cast of characters and a glossary are appended. (Sequel to Trickster's Choice). KLIATT Codes: JSA--Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Random House, 467p. map., Ages 12 to adult.
—Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-In this sequel to the well-received Trickster's Choice (Random, 2003), Pierce deftly weaves an unforgettable story about Alianne (Aly) of Pirate's Swoop. As the novel opens, the wife and children of the late Duke Mequen Balitang return to the capital city of Rajmuat from their exile on their distant estate. Aly has become a maid to Lady Dovasary, daughter of the late duke, and, more importantly, she is now the spymaster of the raka rebellion that is determined to put Dovasary's sister on the throne in place of the four-year-old luarin king. The light-skinned luarin have oppressed the dark-skinned raka for centuries, and the luarin co-regents now in charge of the Copper Isles are losing their grip on reality as well as on their kingdom. With Aly in control, the raka rebellion is able to stir up enough unrest to cause the uprising to begin. Aly, who is the daughter of Alanna the Lioness of Tortall (from the "Lioness Quartet" series), is delightful in her deviousness. The teen is exceptionally brave, sassy, and diplomatic. She is surrounded by a large supporting cast, which is well developed and necessary to the story. The plot sweeps readers along in a whirlwind of court intrigue, deception, murder, and romance. The humor is wicked, and the plot twists will keep the pages turning to the supremely satisfying end. Teens will be inspired by Aly's determination, her resourcefulness, and her heart.-Anna M. Nelson, Seabrook Library, NH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A mix of best and worst in this exciting but oddly paced conclusion to the Trickster duet. Several months have passed since the conclusion of Trickster's Choice (2003) and Alanna's daughter Aly has been training her network of raka rebels against their colonial luarin overlords. Now the Balitang family-Aly's former owners, current unwitting hosts to the rebellion's leaders, and home of two half-raka daughters prophesied to rule post-rebellion-has returned to the capital city. Aly must hold her simmering rebels in readiness, keep her identity secret, succeed at romance, and prevent an all-out bloodbath. Along the way, she plays nursemaid to Balitang daughters Dove and Sarai and a tense and dangerous city. Aly's cleverness and a god's help bring an idealized conclusion to the realistically complex colonial setting-if only it were so easy in the real world. Too rushed for satisfying depth (another volume would have helped develop the fascinating but shallow web of secondary characters), but Aly is easily among the most interesting of Pierce's heroines. Thrilling fun, despite its flaws. (Fantasy. 12-16)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Trickster Series, #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.56(w) x 8.31(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

There were spells written deep within the walls that surrounded the Balitang home. They appeared as a shimmering silver blaze in Aly’s Sight. As the processsion passed through the gate, she saw magic sunk below the stones, wood, and carvings. It was partially covered by common magical signs for protection and health that any house possessed. They gleamed silver in the carving on the foundation stones and front steps. Unless someone else in Rajmuat had the Sight in the strength Aly had it, no one would see anything but the everyday spells. The raka mages were very good at keeping their work hidden.
Ornately carved pillars lined the long front porch and framed the front door of Balitang House. The roof was layered, each lesser roof sporting upturned ends. After the summer’s heat and rains, and the winter’s cold and rains, with no staff to keep the place up, the house should have looked run-down. But this house gleamed. Not one clay tile was missing from the roof. The stucco was the color of fresh milk. Gold and silver leaf glimmered on the eaves and on the carved wood above the posts.
The staff was lined up on either side of the flagstone road. They wore luarin tunics and breeches or hose, raka wrapped jackets and sarongs, or combinations of styles in an explosion of colors that made Aly blink. Housemaids wore white headcloths; the men wore round white caps. They all looked to be wearing every piece of jewelry they owned.
Aly counted. Nearly sixty people were here, not including the men-at-arms. Balitang House was as fully staffed as it had been the previous spring.
The duchess could not afford this. When King Oron had exiled them, he had made them show their loyalty with gold, emptying Duke Mequen’s coffers. Winnamine had drawn on her dowry to pay household costs. If Prince Rubinyan had not virtually commanded her to return to court, she would have remained at Tanair, which was affordable.
“Fesgao,” Aly murmured. The man had come to stand by her elbow. “Who’s paying for this?”
“Don’t worry,” the raka man told her. “It seems our situation has changed. Ulasim will explain.” He went to help the duchess out of the litter.
Aly looked at the steps. Ulasim waited there on the ground, smiling. He was a hard-muscled man, in his forties with the brown skin of a full-blood raka. His nose had been mashed against his face on several occasions by someone not kindly disposed toward him. A tightness in Aly’s heart loosened at the sight of the head footman. He was the leader of the far-flung raka conspiracy, wise and strong at every trial. He had drawn Aly from suspicion to respect. Back under Ulasim’s wing, the Balitang family seemed much less exposed. Back under Ulasim’s eye, Aly could turn to her specialty and leave him to deal with assassins and alliances.
The big raka bowed to Winnamine. As Aly watched, reading his lips, Ulasim told the duchess that they had not spent money they did not have. He reassured her that all would be explained to her satisfaction. once she’d had a chance to eat and rest. As he soothed her, Aly identified a familiar face at Ulasim’s elbow. Quedanga, the housekeeper since Sarai was born, had stayed in Rajmuat when the family left the city. She had now returned to Balitang House.
“How did they afford this?” Dove murmured as Aly handed her down from the litter.
“It will be a lovely tale,” Aly replied, her voice sweet. “Some parts may even be true.”
Dove looked up at Aly, smiling slightly. “You sound as if you wouldn’t put it past them to have raided the royal treasury.”
Aly raised an eyebrow at her mistress. “Do you think they wouldn’t, my lady?”
Dove sighed. “I hope not. It would complicate things.” Dove had understatement down to an art.
Hands folded in front of her, Aly followed Dove toward the house. They did not get far. A tall woman stepped out of the house. She was a silver-haired luarin with perfect posture. Her luarin-style gown was pale blue with a high collar. Instead of the traditional over robe, she wore a stole like the raka wrapped jacket, made of shimmering white lawn.
Sarai and Dove looked at each other. “Aunt Nuritin,” they whispered in shock.
Aly had heard of Nuritin Balitang–or as Sarai and Dove called her, the Dragon. Though Duke Mequen had been technically the head of the family, it was his aunt who ruled it. When he had sunk into mourning for his first duchess, it was Nuritin who had badgered him into making a new marriage and a new life. Among the Balitangs, her word was law. Among the nobles of her generation, her opinion was the first they sought.
It did not bode well that she looked very comfortable in Balitang House.
Winnamine was the first to recover. She approached the old woman with outstretched hands and an apparently genuine smile on her face. “Aunt Nuritin, it’s wonderful to see you. Girls, come greet your great-aunt. Elsren, Petranne, come.”
Aly looked at Ulasim and made sure the nobles couldn’t see her before she hand-signed: Does she live here?
Ulasim nodded slightly.
Again Aly’s fingers flew. Are we safe with her in the house?
Ulasim came over to whisper, “As safe as anywhere in Rajmuat. We’re stuck with the old Stormwing, and that’s that. She will learn nothing we do not allow her to.”
Aly shook her head. “Well, then,” she said, “we’ll all just be one happy family. What harm could come of that?”
Once inside, the duchess looked at her late husband’s aunt. “Lady Nuritin, may we have some time to settle in before we talk? I’m not at my best so early in the morning, and this is quite a surprise.”
“Of course you need rest, all of you,” the old woman said. “Go. Bathe, change, unpack, take naps if you need to. We shall have our talk after lunch, and I can explain everything then.”

Meet the Author

Tamora Pierce’s fast-paced, suspenseful writing and strong, believable heroines have won her much praise and a large, devoted fan following. She lives in Syracuse, New York, with her husband, Tim, five cats, two birds, and various freeloading wildlife. Visit her online at

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