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On Sale: September 23, 2003
Pages: 432 | ISBN: 978-0-375-89043-7
Published by : Random House Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books

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Read by Trini Alvarado
On Sale: September 23, 2003
ISBN: 978-0-8072-1793-1
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
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READER'S GUIDE READER'S GUIDE
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

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.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

Nawat stood against the wall, relaxed and alert. Before him two men-at-arms were preparing to shoot. Dove stood behind one archer with a handful of arrows, while the duchess held arrows for the second archer. Aly’s mind told her that the duchess would hardly consent to murder just as the first man shot. The second man shot immediately after him. Then both set fresh arrows to the string and shot steadily, arrow after arrow, one at a time, until they had exhausted all the extras held by the duchess and her stepdaughter.

Nawat caught them all with grace and ease, snatching the arrows from the air as if he had all day to do so. When the archers finished, he gathered the heap of arrows at his feet and carried them back to their owners.

He’s so fast, Aly thought in awe. I couldn’t do it, and I’m no slouch! She sighed, wishing Da were here to see it. He’d taught her to catch daggers in midair, but this game was much more hazardous.

The game was not done. The men-at-arms repeated the experiment with javelins, then hunting and combat spears. Nawat caught them all, moving so fast Aly couldn’t follow his hands. She cheered him and the men-at-arms on.

When the bell rang to remind the household it was nearly time for supper, he looked up at the applauding Aly and waved. “This is my favorite game,” he called to her. “Do you want to play?”

“I wouldn’t dare!” she cried, laughing, before she retreated into the room. She’d seen men catch knives before. She had seen the finest archers in the Queen’s Riders draw an outline in arrows of someone positioned against a wooden fence or wall, just to show they could do it. She had never seen anything like this.

Sarai and Dove ran in. Sarai smiled at Aly. “You should have seen your face! Did you know he could do that?” she asked as she collapsed on her bed.

Dove unstrung her bow, shaking her head. “He’s amazing,” she said, coiling her bowstring.

“You know, maybe this horrible old place isn’t so bad,” Sarai told the ceiling. “Not if these wonderful men keep showing up.”

Aly raised an eyebrow at her. “I wouldn’t try kissing him,” she warned. “It wouldn’t be what you expect.”

Sarai wrinkled her nose. “Aly!” she complained. “I found out he eats bugs! I’m not kissing a man with bug breath!”

Aly blinked. I don’t remember him tasting of bugs when he kissed me, she thought. I’d better pay more attention next time.

Her mind promptly reined her up. This was highly improper. There would be no next time. Her task was looking after the Balitang children, not mooning over someone, particularly not a crow turned man.

Even if he could pluck arrows from the air.


The next morning Aly, still on a goatherd’s hours, walked out of the keep into the dawn. The sun had just cleared the walls to light the inner courtyard and the young man who straddled a bench there. Aly stopped to watch him carefully glue pieces of feather onto the wooden shaft.

Nawat looked up at her with a smile that lit his eyes. “You are beautiful in the new light,” he told her. “If I were the Dawn Crow, I would bring you the sun to hatch as our first nestling.”

Aly blinked at him. Her heart felt strangely squeezed by some powerful emotion. She bit her lip to distract herself from a feeling that made her horribly unsure. “Have you been kissing anybody?” she asked without meaning to, and gasped. She had let words out of her mouth without thinking, which was not like her! Worse, they were such personal words, ones he might feel meant personal feelings she did not have! This was the kind of thing that other girls said, those girls who were not bored by all the young men who had courted them. How many handsome fellows had sighed compliments to Aly while, unconcerned, she had mentally wrestled with breaking a new code? At home she never cared about her suitors enough to worry if they kissed other girls. She scrambled to blot out what she’d said. “Not that it’s any of my business, but you should understand, people have a way of kissing for fun, without it meaning anything serious, and I’d hate for you to think someone wanted you to mate-feed them just because they’re kissing—” Stop babbling, her mind ordered. Aly stopped.

Nawat’s smile broadened. That disturbing light in his eyes deepened. “I have kissed no one but you, Aly,” he assured her, serious. “Why should I kiss anyone else?”

Aly gulped. You can continue this conversation, or you can talk about something less . . . giddy, she told herself. Less frightening. “You know I won’t always be around,” she said abruptly. “I don’t belong here, really.”

“Then I will go with you,” Nawat said. “I belong with you.”

He doesn’t know what he’s saying, Aly told herself. He doesn’t know what that means.

She looked at him, arms folded, trying to keep any extra feelings from leaping out. “What are you doing?” she asked, to change the subject to anything less dangerous. Then she grimaced. He was fletching arrows, as always.

She glanced at his bench, then bent down. He was fletching, but these arrows were heavier, and the feathers he used were not bird feathers, but Stormwing. “How did you cut them up?” she wanted to know, genuinely curious. More scraps of cut-up steel feathers lay on the bench.

Nawat pointed to a long piece of what looked like black, chipped glass. “Shiny volcano rock,” he told Aly. “Chip the edge until it is sharp. That cuts Stormwing feathers. They come from the heat of the place where Stormwings were born.”

Aly touched the glassy blade. “Obsidian,” she said. “That’s its name.”

“Yes,” Nawat replied. “Shiny volcano rock.” He set a length of steel feather into a thin groove filled with glue and held it in place.

Aly didn’t see a single cut on his hands, though the feathers were lethally sharp. “Won’t they be too heavy for the glue?” she asked.

“I shaped the glue. It holds Stormwing feathers,” Nawat answered.

“Stormwings really are born in volcanoes?” Aly inquired, curious.

“In the beginning time, when they were first dreamed,” replied Nawat, setting another piece of steel feather in its slot. “Now, if carrying an egg does not kill the mother, they are born from steel eggs.” He looked at Aly and sighed, his dark eyes wistful. “The eggs are too heavy for a crow to take.”

“You’ve already taken enough from Stormwings,” Aly told him, pointing to the small pile of glinting feathers beside his bench. “You could have been killed.”

“There is a trick to it,” he replied, and blew lightly on his fletchings. Holding the arrow shaft before one eye, he squinted down its length. “Perfect,” he declared, and set the arrow down.

“It seems like a lot of trouble and risk when goose feathers are safer to work with,” Aly remarked. “What is a Stormwing-fletched arrow for, anyway?”

“They are mage killers,” replied Nawat. “No matter if the mage is powerful, if he has great spells to protect him. A Stormwing arrow will cut through illusion and magic.”

Aly whistled softly, impressed. “Take very good care of those, then,” she told Nawat. “We might find a use for them.”

“I made them for you,” Nawat said, giving her that radiant, innocent smile. “They are yours, for a day when they will help you.” He offered a finished arrow shaft to her.

Aly smiled at him despite the goose bumps that rippled along her skin. “Keep them until they’re needed, please,” she told him. “My archery skills aren’t very good.”

“You could practice,” Nawat pointed out.

“I’m a slave,” Aly explained. “Slaves who are caught with weapons are killed.”

“Then do not be a slave,” he said matter-of-factly. “Fly free.”

“Not just yet,” she replied. “I’ll see the summer out first.”


From the Hardcover edition.
Tamora Pierce

About Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce - Trickster's Choice

Photo © Stephen Mosher

Tamora Pierce is a bestselling author of fantasy books for teenagers. Her books, known for their teenaged girl warriors and wizards, have received critical acclaim and a strong fanbase.

Tamora Pierce won the Margaret A. Edwards Award in 2013 for her "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tamora Pierce was drawn to books from a young age. Raised in rural Pennsylvania, the child of a “long, proud line of hillbillies,” her family never had much. “We were poor, but I didn’t know it then. We had a garden where my folks grew fruit and vegetables and our water came from a well,” she explains. But one thing they did have was plenty of books. So Tamora read.

A self-proclaimed “geek,” she devoured fantasy and science fiction novels, and by the age of 12 was mimicking her literary idols and writing her own action-packed stories. It was thanks to her father that Tamora began writing. “He heard me telling myself stories as I did dishes, and he suggested that I try to write some of them down,” Pierce says.

But Tamora’s novels had one major difference: unlike the books she was reading, her stories featured teenaged girl warriors. “I couldn’t understand this lapse of attention on the part of the writers I loved, so until I could talk them into correcting this small problem, I wrote about those girls, the fearless, bold, athletic creatures that I was not, but wanted so badly to be.”

Seventeen years later, after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, a brief career in teen social work and some time spent writing for radio, Tamora Pierce held true to her childhood crusade, and published Alanna: The First Adventure, the first in a quartet about a valiant, young, female warrior. Pierce’s heroine struck a chord with readers across the country and quickly earned her a loyal following.

Pierce is now a #1 New York Times bestselling author and has written twenty-five books, including her newest, BEKA COOPER #2: Bloodhound. “It’s a pretty good life, if I do say so myself. Struggling along as a kid and even through my twenties, it’s the kind of life I dreamed of but never believed I would get. Yet here I am, after a lot of work, a lot of worry, a lot of care for details, and a massive chunk of luck, the kind that brought me such strong friends and readers. Pretty good for a hillbilly, yes? And I never take it for granted,” she says.

Pierce lives in upstate New York with her husband Tim and their three cats and two birds.


PRAISE

“[Tamora Pierce’s heroines] faithfully reiterate an ideal–of feminine power that relies on brains, not beauty; of feminine attractiveness that relies on competence, not helplessness; and of feminine alliances that grow stronger, not weaker, in the face of conflicts.”–The New York Times

BEKA COOPER #1: TERRIER

"With its rollicking adventures [and] appealing characters . . . Terrier will be in strong demand by Pierce's fans. It will keep readers on the edge of their seats."–School Library Journal, Starred

YOUNG WARRIORS
“Memorable characters and well-drawn settings. . . . This timely and appealing anthology will surely help swell the ranks of teenage fantasy readers.” –School Library Journal

TRICKSTER’S QUEEN
“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.”–School Library Journal

TRICKSTER’S CHOICE
“Aly arrives fully formed, a snarky, talented uber-heroine. Cameos of old favorites complement a rich cast of new characters. Aly’s difficulty with the complexity of colonialism adds surprising, welcome depth.”–Kirkus Reviews

LADY KNIGHT
“Unrelentingly realistic in its depiction of the horrors of war, this novel draws the reader into a complete and believable fantasy world. Pierce provides exquisite details of the weaponry, topography, and culture of her world, and her control of a voluminous cast of characters is masterful.”–Voice of Youth Advocates
Praise | Awards

Praise

“Aly arrives fully formed, a snarky, talented uber-heroine. Cameos of old favorites complement a rich cast of new characters. Aly’s difficulty with the complexity of colonialism adds surprising, welcome depth.”—Kirkus Reviews


From the Paperback edition.

Awards

WINNER 2004 ALA Best Books for Young Adults
WINNER 2004 Texas TAYSHAS High School Reading List
NOMINEE 2005 Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award
Reader's Guide|About the Book|Author Biography|Discussion Questions

About the Book

Tamora Pierce’s first book, Alanna: The First Adventure, was published in 1983. In the twenty years since, she has gathered a legion of diverse fans, all awaiting Trickster’s Choice with bated breath. Why? Not just because it is another Tamora Pierce novel filled with adventure, magic, drama, fighting, strong girls, sexy boys, fabulous creatures, sly humor, and an exciting hint of romance. But also because this is the story of Alanna’s daughter, Alianne (known as Aly) who is ready to start on her own path to glory in ways her legendary mother never would have.

About the Guide

In Trickster’s Choice, Tamora Pierce brings readers another riveting Tortall adventure. Alianne is the teenage daughter of the famed Alanna, the first lady knight in Tortall. But more fun-loving Aly follows in the footsteps of her father, delighting in knowledge and the art of spying. This causes an ongoing rift between Aly and her mother, who thinks Aly should be focused on her future. Early in the story, Aly is captured and sold as a slave to an exiled royal family in the newly realized realm of the Copper Isles. It is in these unusual circumstances that Aly finds her own calling and in doing so gains a new understanding for her mother and the ways that they are alike. For in a world filled with political intrigue, murderous conspiracy, and warring gods, Aly needs both her father’s skills and her mother’s stubborn courage to survive and thrive. This is the first of two books featuring Alianne.

About the Author

Tamora Pierce lives in Manhattan with her husband, writer filmmaker Tim, and their four cats, two parakeets, plus a floating population of rescued wildlife. She enjoys her hectic life as a full-time writer and hopes that her books leave her readers with the feeling that they can achieve anything if they want it badly enough.

For more information on Tamora Pierce, visit her Web site at www.tamora-pierce.com


From the Hardcover edition.

Discussion Guides

1. In the first pages of Trickster’s Choice, Aly’s mother, Alanna, accuses Aly of “not wanting to do anything.” On the same page Aly says to someone else: “You try being the daughter of a legend. It’s a great deal of work.” How do these two statements relate to each other? When Aly is separated from her family, how does it change both her and her mother? Could these changes happen in a contemporary setting?

2. “This is going to be my greatest trick ever, pulled off under the noses of mortals and gods alike,” Kyprioth tells Aly. What trick is he talking about?

3. Aly keeps her true identity a secret in the Copper Isles. Why?

4. How are the Balitangs different from other slave owners? Does it make a difference in their relationships with slaves? How are slaves and servants different in the Copper Isles?

5. Kyprioth remarks that Aly is “marked by fate from birth, just like her parents.” What characteristics does Aly share with her parents? Which characteristics are unique to her?

6. How are the morals of the people in Tortall different from those in the Copper Isles? How are the raka and luarin different? Tamora Pierce is inspired by both history and current events. Can you think of specific times, places, or events that might have inspired her when she wrote Trickster’s Choice?

7. Why do the Balitang’s raka slaves and servants protect Sarai and Dove? What does it mean for the raka people?

8. “It isn’t just children who need heroes. Don’t you see what she’s done for women, for all women?” Dove asks Aly when inquiring about the Lioness. Whom does each of the characters in the novel look up to?

9. To survive as a slave and a spy, Aly has to use what she has learned from her father and others. What are some examples of what she has learned? How has she put that knowledge to use?

10. Why is Nawat the only crow to turn himself into a human? Why does Aly resist falling in love with him? Is she only afraid to be vulnerable, or is it something more?

11. What is Bronau’s interest in Sarai? Why doesn’t he ask her father’s permission to court her? What was his relationship with Winnamine, Sarai’s stepmother? Who do you think understands Bronau’s motivations best?

12. How is Aly’s family like and unlike the Balitang family? How do those two families compare to the royal family of the Copper Isles? Do you think the families in this fantasy setting reflect the relationships in families today?

13. If you could be like any of the characters in Trickster’s Choice, whom would you choose? Why? Are you already similar to any of the characters? If so, How?


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