Mark Reads ‘Trickster’s Choice’: Chapter 12

In the twelfth chapter of Trickster’s Choice, Aly finally meets Ulasim’s mother. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Trickster’s Choice.

Chapter Twelve: The Mage of Pohon


  • I am so relieved that Bronau is gone. THANK THE GODS HE IS GONE.
  • This chapter starts off with a great title, Bronau leaving, and the reveal that OCHOBU HAS AGREED TO MEET WITH ALY.
  • YES.
  • Evidence: Junai finally letting her mask of utter serious fall away so she can express her constant amusement at Ulasim’s discomfort. Junai is the best.
  • Evidence: Nawat reveals that as a crow, he once threw Ochobu’s clothes in the mud, and he’s not scared to go back.
  • Nawat’s adorableness and his innocence is dialed up to a billion in this chapter, and it’s just distracting at this point. I CAN’T DEAL WITH HIM AT ALL.
  • Nawat running. Nawat running.
  • He is too much. Somehow, I bet y’all knew I’d react to him this way.
  • I was a little surprised, though, to see how quickly the raka had accepted his presence. However, it’s revealed here that they’ve kind of always known he was once a crow, since that’s part of the legend of their people’s creation. ALSO, SOME RAKA HAVE APPARENTLY TURNED INTO CROWS TO ESCAPE DEATH. WHAT.
  • “She says the sweetest things of you, too,” said Junai. “I think you are both too proud to apologize, Father.” To Aly she said, “He’s right about a gift, though. Grandmother would only make it explode in your hands.” Two things: Junai is my immediate favorite because of this chapter, and every new thing I heard about Ochobu in this chapter made me even more excited to meet her.
  • Oh my god, when Nawat sees the line of clothing? JUST STOP IT. JUST FLY OFF THE PAGE, NAWAT, BECAUSE YOUR ENTIRE EXISTENCE IS NOT FAIR.
  • And then Tamora Pierce does something magical and wonderful and undeniably hilarious: She has the kudarung fly up to Aly, inspect her, and then VICIOUSLY ATTACK NAWAT. BECAUSE THEY ARE ABLE TO REMEMBER THAT HE ONCE TOOK SOME OF THEIR NESTLINGS AS FOOD. Like, I can’t even comprehend the vicious cuteness here. Tiny flying horses the size of hands attacking Aly and Nawat. It’s too cute! TOO CUTE.
  • And Ulasim’s reaction is priceless. PRICELESS. He just stands there, refusing to help, because it’s “the most amusing thing [he's] seen all year.” So much of this chapter is my favorite, I swear.
  • LIKE ALY KICKING NAWAT BACK INTO THE POOL WHEN HE OBSERVES THAT THE KUDARUNG ARE NOT VERY FORGIVING. Perhaps you should have figured that out before you ate their young, Nawat.
  • Then we get Ochobu, and she is every bit as majestic and perfect as I could have ever hoped. She’s got a great sense of humor; I love how forceful she is; and Tamora Pierce does wonders to give her character a lot more depth than I thought was possible, given that she was already wonderful.
  • I also appreciated that Pierce was well aware of the dynamics at hand in any conversation between Ochobu and Aly. Aly knows that she’s the outsider here, though she’ll have a much more visceral epiphany later on. So she doesn’t speak to Ochobu with antagonism or hatred. No, she’s outwardly polite to her, even if she is trying to convince her that she’s a worthy tool to be used in overthrowing the luarin rulers of the Isles.
  • I also saw why it was necessary that Kyprioth showed up to talk to Ochobu. The mage of Pohon is aware of her god’s sense of humor, since he chose a luarin to be his agent. But this is rooted in something a whole lot more serious, and it was absolutely striking to see that play out between these two characters. Kyprioth makes reference to the good that comes of challenge, and Ochobu is so offended by this suggestion that she insults her god to his face, claiming that if he’s just expelled the invaders in the first place, they wouldn’t have had to suffer for so long. It’s fascinating that this resembles a common spiritual struggle that people of faith must cope with. I certainly did, wondering why so many awful things happened to me if God truly loved me. But I didn’t get what Ochobu gets here. I didn’t get to talk to my god, and I didn’t have someone like Aly, who gently tells Kyprioth that he has to consider what this experience has been like to people like Ochobu. “You gods know you have centuries to turn the tables. We humans don’t. We have short lives that can be made shorter with the stroke of a sword.”
  • It’s also important to note that this moment is where Aly feels the most like an “intruder.” This is not her battle. This is not her people’s fight. She has absolutely no idea what this kind of struggle is like at all. So after she helps Kyprioth and Ochobu understand one another, she stays out things. I love that, and I think it’s a vital skill that people need to learn: when they should excuse themselves from a room or a conversation. So bless you, Aly, for understanding this.
  • Casual reminder that the only time we have ever seen Nawat disappointed ever is when he catches a fish bare-handed and then must return it. He’s seriously a child and a puppy at the exact same time. How is he real.
  • Not-so-casual reminder that Aly sounds exactly like a mother when she scolds Nawat for always wanting to eat.
  • Did anyone else see parallels between Ochobu and Fanche, namely in the idea that the main character must ally with someone who is determined not to be friends with them?
  • I swear, there’s nothing in this chapter I dislike.
  • That includes Winnamine, who continues to grow as a character. It’s so great that she’s become so important to this adventure and that Aly recognizes just how intelligent and brilliant she is. I would like to see Winnamine use her skills in another context! I am also incredibly pleased that due to arrangements with the staff, Aly is now Dove’s maid. MORE DOVE/ALY SCENES. YES.
  • Gods, how I would have loved to get Ochobu’s thoughts about Winnamine and Mequen. Clearly, Ochobu is holding herself back, though there are a few reasons why she’s probably doing that. She is shocked that Winnamine and Mequen are not as vicious or rude as she expected them to be. Truthfully, I bet this is the first time Ochobu has probably ever met luarin “royalty” who aren’t complete jerks to her. Plus, I got the sense that she recognized that this might not be the place to display her feelings towards luarin. Still, I would have adored a POV section from her.
  • Okay, so let’s talk about the prophecy. Twice royal? That refers to Mequen’s line and Sarugani’s line, yes? Which still means either Dove or Sarai. The wise one? Hmmm. That could be Chenaol or it could refer to Dove if Sarai is the One Who I Promised. The cunning one is Aly. The strong one would be Ulasim. Or Chenaol? Hmmm. The warrior is… I don’t know. That could be Chenaol or Ulasim. And where does Lokeij fit in? The crows is Nawat and the crows, obviously. OH GOD, THIS IS SO FUN. I must revisit this again.

Part 1

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About Mark Reads

Vegan cyclist, Internet community nerd, atheist bookworm, high-five purveyor.
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