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.
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.
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?
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.