Publisher's Note:  

Tamora Pierce brings readers another Tortall adventure! Alianne is the teenage daughter of the famed Alanna, the first lady knight in Tortall. Young Aly follows in the quieter footsteps of her father, however, delighting in the art of spying. When she is captured and sold as a slave to an exiled royal family in the faraway Copper Islands, it is this skill that makes a difference in a world filled with political intrigue, murderous conspiracy, and warring gods. This is the first of two books featuring Alianne.

Trickster's Choice (Daughter of the Lioness #1)

by Tamora Pierce

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Overall Review:  

Trickster's Choice, the first of two books, is a political intrigue/spy story set in author Tamora Pierce's world of Tortall, a world made familiar from many of her previous books (The Song of the Lioness quartet, The Immortals quartet, Protector of the Small quartet, and the Beka Cooper trilogy).

16-year-old Alliane, a young luarin (white-skinned) girl, has no interest in the life of a warrior like her mother, the Queen's Champion known as the Lioness. Nor is she interested in marriage. Her greatest desire is to utilize the skills learned from her father to become a spy. However, that dream is summarily dismissed by both parents. This leaves Aly no choice but no run away until her parents can change their minds.

Her carefree adventure goes horribly awry when she is captured by pirates and sold as a slave to the Balitangs, a foreign noble family which houses many raka (dark-skinned) servants. Not one to brood on her misfortune, Aly loses no time in plotting her escape. But before she can put her plan into motion, she is visited by the god of mischief, Kyprioth himself, and set a wager - if she can keep the Balitang's two eldest daughters alive until the autumn equinox. Kyprioth will send her home forthwith, no questions asked. Intrigued at the offer, Aly accepts the wager. She follows the Balitangs into a summer of trickery and deception, where crows become allies, men wrestle for power, and an unexpected royal lineage may help the oppressed raka rise up in revolt against their luarin conquerors.

Featuring a strong female lead and a great deal of humor, Trickster's Choice is a story that will appeal to readers of Garth Nix, Mercedes Lackey, and Anne McCaffrey.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  None 

Violence/Gore:  There is a retelling of a country's violent history; several mentions of war, and fighting; characters occasionally argue; a character is captured by pirates, with some description of bruises and injuries; a character brawls, with some description of blood; a character is reported to have killed an axe-wielding maniac; a character has been known to slaughter entire families; characters are sometimes threatened by others; secondhand report of a character's death due to a riding accident; characters engage in a small skirmish (not graphic); characters are captured and threatened with execution; characters fight with each other; a child is seen playing with a dagger; characters occasionally draw weapons on others and/or threaten others with weapons; a character gives a secondhand report of people being nailed to crosstrees on a mad king's whim; a character offers to mob and kill someone; a character is said to have been executed for having bad thoughts; a character is attacked by another; characters hear sounds of battle; characters are killed or wounded, with some description of blood (not graphic); a character stabs and cuts another's throat (not overly graphic); a character relates how an entire village would be annihilated if one person should die; a character is killed with magic; characters are found dead; characters are attacked by tiny winged creatures; a character dies of old age; a male character tries to kidnap a little boy; a character is pursued by guards; a character says he will rejoice if a certain someone's blood is shed; a character dies of ill health from bad living; characters are occasionally injured in swordfights; a character cuts another's throat (not overly graphic); a couple characters are stabbed and killed with a sword; characters are shot and killed with arrows; a character's ribs are broken; many characters are killed or wounded in a night attack; the aftermath of a battle is described (not overly graphic). 

Sex/Nudity:  A character is said to have been "squiring" another; characters occasionally discuss marriage; characters sometimes contemplate love, romance, and kissing; a character talks about a pregnant woman; a character speculates on the possibility of being sold as a slave toy; characters are mentioned to have multiple wives; it is implied a character habitually takes girls to bed with him; a character thinks a man would have her "in his lap with a hand up her tunic before she could sneeze"; male and female characters occasionally kiss each other; it is implied a female character is seen naked (not sexual); a character is encouraged to produce an heir; a character relates how winged horses are forced to breed; characters are seen wearing only loincloths (not sexual); it is implied that a character mentions breasts; male and female characters occasionally embrace; characters bathe/help another bathe (not sexual); a shapeshifter suggests mating to produce nestlings; characters occasionally flirt with each other; a character is told she may refuse to bed a man; a shapeshifter's child is told to "choose a shape and sex and stick with it"; a character wears a provocative dress; characters occasionally kiss and embrace passionately; a character is said to be barren; an unmarried female character is said to go to man's bed each night; a character sometimes talks about kissing and/or mating; a character says she might end up with "skirts around my waist, like those maids he tumbles"; a character is described bare-breasted "in the style of the priestesses of old Ekallatum"; a character says to have left home to avoid being bought and "popped" into bed with someone.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Slavery, beating, war, spying, assassination, death, murder, battles, kidnapping, racial prejudice.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Characters often drink wine/are served wine; characters pass around a skin of hard liquor; a character is said to like strange drugs; characters share an evening drink; a character often serves wine at meals; a character mentions some checking for poisoned food; characters are given "truthdrops."

Reviewed By Katrina
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