A Look into Pierce's Trickster Series

November 2011 Lisette Westerveldt

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Like most kids of my generation, I first picked up Pierce’s work when I was grade-schooler. A sucker for anything that involved fantasy or adventure, I eagerly snatched up The Song of the Lioness series, then bulldozed my way through The Circle of Magic quartet, and finally devoured the Protector of the Small saga when it finally hit my library’s bookshelves. I enjoyed reading anything and everything that she wrote, for the most part. But, over the years however, my favorite has always remained the The Daughter of the Lioness duology.

As is with many of Pierce’s books, the Daughter of the Lioness series takes place in the Tortall universe. The story begins when sixteen year old Aly Cooper—the only daughter of Alanna and George—is kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in the Copper Isles. From there, Aly is approached by Kyprioth, the god of tricksters and makes a deal with him. Under his guidance, Aly thus becomes involved with a rebel conspiracy created by the raka natives to rise up against their luarin (white) conquerors. She is sent to work for the noble Balitang family, where she acts as a spy to protect the two daughters of the household, Saraiyu and Dovasary. Half raka and half luarin, the two girls are connected to a prophecy that predicts one of them will become queen. During her time there, Aly becomes more and more involved with the conspiracy, eventually deciding to take charge and become the raka’s spymaster. After that, the series generally follows the adventures of Aly and the rebellion.

Since I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot, I won’t go into specifics, but I will say that I found the series to be extremely engaging and always full of twists or other unexpected plot developments. In contrast to Pierce’s prior stories, where much of the story centers upon fighting, magic, war, etc…, the Trickster series involves political intrigue, secrets, and psychological warfare. Instead of using her physical abilities to win battles, Aly has to rely on her wits to manipulate and out-maneuver her opponents—something that I (personally) found more interesting than say, reading about a sword fight.

That, in addition to great characterization and plenty of humor, make this series a must read for any and all Tamora Pierce fans. I would also recommend this to those who enjoy fantasy and adventure.