I previously read Trickster's Choice with courageous teenage girls a little over a decade ago, and I wanted to revisit it. I had forgotten just how easy it is to get drawn into Aly’s adventures which cause her to become a slave as a girl, and I am so glad to have revisited because it was similar to visiting with an old friend. This is the story of Alianne Cooper, who wants to be a girl spy, and is the daughter of Spymaster Cooper and the famous Lioness of Tortall and champion of the throne. Certainly Tamora Pierce is one of my favorite writers in this genre, and Alianne (Aly) stands out among her heroines.
All Alianne wants to do in this Asian-influenced fantasy is be a spy like her father, however her parents don’t agree. Deciding to prove she is an independent teenage girl, she takes a couple of days to head off to visit family and friends nearby in her trusty rowboat, Aly is surprised to see pirates in the bay. Before she can turn around, she finds herself captured and soon sold into slavery, all while hiding her magic and her wits. It’s very good that sixteen-year-old Aly has had some interesting training growing up and doesn’t let a little thing like being sold stop her from being determined to get free and back to her family.
Aly is sold as an angst-filled slave to the Balitang family as a general worker, and makes a deal with the Trickster God, Kyprioth. If she keeps the Balitang children alive until autumn, he will convince her father to allow her be a spy in his upbeat way. Keeping this deal through court-intrigue may be harder than it seems. She eventually comes to care for her charges, has adventures, makes friend, learns the language of crows, does spy work including playing a variety of roles for the family, and starts to realize that there’s a rebellion brewing on the horizon in the Tortall kingdom.
I would have to say that I have read most of Tamora Pierce’s books and have loved them all, and Trickster's choice is defiantly a hit with Aly as a phenomenal woman of steel, and none of the women showing the typical woe-is-me-waiting-to-be-rescued traits of many fantasies. Aly is an interesting strong female lead who is both feisty yet likable, and knows how to handle herself when the action comes. Pierce has a really descriptive writing style with action, humor and romance. I would recommend Trickster’s Choice to anyone who likes engaging YA fantasy.