Mark Reads ‘Trickster’s Queen’: Chapter 3

In the third chapter of Trickster’s Queen, THIS IS SO UNREAL. THIS HAPPENED. THIS IS WHAT THIS BOOK HAS BECOME. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Trickster’s Queen.

Chapter Three: Topabaw


  • If you listen very closely in the second video below, you can hear Queen Tammy cackling at the precise moment I figure out the layers of spying present in this book. It’s there. I promise.
  • God, this book is going to be INCREDIBLE, I can already tell. I was quite nervous as the Balitangs made their way into the palace because uncertainty is built into this narrative. We don’t know what to expect from these people, you know? How desperate are Rubinyan and Imajane? WHAT IF “THE RAINS OF CASTAMERE” STARTED PLAYING WHEN THEY WALKED IN THE THRONE HALL? Who else thought of that when you read the part about the men with crossbows up in the balconies?
  • I’m repeating myself, but I love all the signs of the restless populace that Aly notices. Oh, shit, when the revolution hits, it’s going to be SO RIDICULOUS. That tension is present in nearly every scene of this chapter, and it’s just so impressive to think of how well-written this is. I mean, there are signs of unrest on both sides, though they tend to manifest as fear when it comes to the luarin rulers. Even Topabaw’s behavior is a manifestation of this, you know?
  • More on him later. How great is this sentence? “Today it was as if Rajmuat held its breath, waiting for something to shatter the stillness of the air.”
  • What’s striking about this all is how obvious the Rittevons are about their fear. They have no idea that they’re wearing their weakness on display for everyone to see. The men in armor on the wall. The King’s Guard in the Throne Hall. The listening spells on the collars of monkeys. (RUDE.) Of course, Dove comes the same realization as Aly does just seconds later because she is SO GREAT.
  • I do not apologize for my reaction to the moats. I don’t. This is just who I am. I like moats a lot, okay.
  • Example of why I adore Aly: “Then a happier idea made her smile: she would enjoy putting an end to the kind of rulers who would think of such a brutal way to punish their followers, however rebellious.” I just want to reach through the pages and high-five her. This is a totally rational and normal reaction to fiction, okay.
  • THE CROWS ON THE STATUES OF MITHROS AND THE GODDESS. Kyprioth, you little shit. You know he was watching everything and just cackling.
  • It’s not lost on me that the most gorgeous palace we’ve ever seen in Tortall holds the ugliest behavior. Oppression and brutality is often wrapped within a pretty package.
  • A package that once belonged to Kyprioth, for the record.
  • And then we’ve got King Dunevon in the midst of this and it’s so sad. This four-year-old is supposed to lead a country, and he’s bored, and the King’s Guard at his side is more interested in making sure the kid doesn’t kick his feet than… I don’t know, acknowledging and treating him like he’s a four-year-old??? It’s so disturbing, y’all, and it doesn’t help that Aly can read the power-hungry desire on the faces of Imajane and Rubinyan. Y’all, I feel like my prediction that Dunevon is going to die is terribly, horribly right, though I’m still uncertain how it’s going to happen. Will the raka kill him? Other conspirators? Oh god, that poor kid. I FEEL SO AWFUL.
  • See, I totally expected that this chapter was going to address the return of Winna, Sarai, and Dove to Rajmuat and the awkwardness of the royal court, and THEN SOMEONE BASICALLY KIDNAPS ALY WITHIN SECONDS OF IMAJANE GREETING THEM. It’s so blatant, y’all, and I worried that they’d figured out who Aly was.
  • And thus, Tamora Pierce truly shows us how talented Aly is by putting us in her head. The way that Aly is able to compartmentalize her identity in order to hide the truth from her captors and Topabaw is simply astonishing. It’s a conscious thing, too, not some sort of magic. Which isn’t me ignoring that Kyprioth is protecting Aly, but I really think what she does here is largely based on her own skills.
  • So I would like to point out something very unique to Aly.
  • Aly is so good at what she does that upon being forcibly brought to another spy, SHE SPENDS THE ENTIRE TIME MENTALLY INSULTING HIM BECAUSE HE ISN’T GOOD ENOGUH. Who does that???? OH MY GOD.
  • “You’re supposed to stroke and slap me, so I won’t know what’s coming, she though, exasperated with him already.”
  • Aly is the only character in the universe WHO IS EXASPERATED THAT HER INTERROGATOR ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH.
  • I can’t do this I CAN’T.
  • It’s so fascinating to read because I felt like I was learning how to read the signs in Topabaw! Like the Rittevons and their transparent fears displayed for all, I quickly picked up on the fact that Aly purposely played into all of his eager expectations and he wasn’t the wiser. He’s lazy and he’s looking for the easiest way to solve his problems, whereas Aly and her spies are far more patient and meticulous.
  • I mean, look at how quickly she is able to “revert” into a horrible racist so quickly. Topabaw relied so heavily on the truth spells that he never stopped to think that someone could lie on them. It’s not the only weakness or flaw that he exhibits here, but it was the most glaring one.
  • Just…. okay. Y’all. Aly, a spy, was hired by the very man she is spying on (who is a spymaster) to spy on the people she actually works for, who are also part of her own network of spies, and the word “spy” appears to have lost all meaning because I’ve typed it so many times.
  • THIS IS GOING TO BE SO INCREDIBLE. Her close proximity to this fool is going to work perfectly in her favor, and through it, she’ll be able to root out who is a spy for Topabaw and who isn’t.

Please note that the original text and the videos contain uses of the words “mad,” “idiot,” and “slut.”

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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1 Response to Mark Reads ‘Trickster’s Queen’: Chapter 3

  1. Brett Ruezga says:

    Fantastic! Do you happen to grasp who owns it?

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