Mark Reads ‘Trickster’s Queen’: Chapter 11

In the eleventh chapter of Trickster’s Queen, HOLY SHIT, ALY DID IT. If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to read Trickster’s Queen.

Chapter Eleven: A Few Changes


I really think that Trickster’s Queen will go down as the most suspenseful book of Tammy’s for me, and the constant building of tension and drama over these pages is a WORK OF ART. Put it in a museum. Wait, don’t do that, because I need to finish this.

So, let’s talk about the first thing that Queen Tammy does that’s both evil and brilliant: she keeps the main cast of characters away from the two huge events that happen in this chapter. The diversion and the breakout at Kanodang both happen at a distance, and the characters all just wait. I said at one point in the first video that this was unbearable, and it’s so true. I COULDN’T BEAR IT. I wanted to know if it worked. I wanted to know if Aly and Ulasim’s people had gotten out alive. I wanted to know if I could breathe a sigh of relief! But I had to wait. NO, IT’S NOT FAIR, I’M NOT IN THIS STORY, JUST LET ME KNOW.

And yet, even when the first explosion happened, I still had to acknowledge that just because the blazebalm had been lit doesn’t mean the plan went off as intended. But thankfully, it’s not long before Aly returns to her workroom to find every single one of her people undressing in joy. Oh my god, they did it. THEY DID IT. Of course, the good planning was a large reason why. But once more, poor organization and a lack of readiness on behalf of those in charge contributed to the ease in which the diversion was executed. It’s a fantastic way for Pierce to convey the fact that these people have become complacent because of their own privilege. Dove later mentions that the luarin regents would never consider the raka capable of pulling off what they’ve all done so far, and it’s because of their racist, classist views. They view the raka as inferior, and because of that, they assume the worst. They literally believe the raka are lazy and unmotivated, which is why they were so “easy” to conquer. Of course, that logic falls apart because if the raka are this terrible, then why are the luarin the ones forcing them into slavery to do all their work? WHOOPS.

Anyway, this wonderful news is followed by the sound of the alarm bells up at Kanodang. MEANING THAT THE PRISONERS HAVE BROKEN OUT. Oh gosh, I’M SO HAPPY, EVERYTHING IS WORKING AND THERE’S NOTHING HERE THAT COULD BRING ME DOWN AND –

Aly sauntered back into the house. She did not delude herself. She would get the formal reports later, but she guessed they might have killed between two hundred and five hundred at the harbor fortresses, if some of the wedged doors had been those in the barracks. With Kanodang she could not be sure, since Ulasim had told her they had people who worked inside, but she could guess a death total of fifty to one hundred. She owed a debt to those ghosts. The Kanodang breakout had been her idea, as had the attack on the fortresses. This was what her parents had done all their lives, racked up lists of those who could thank them for their deaths.

It’s extremely necessary for Pierce to do this, and not just because it’s in line with what she normally puts into her books. I admit that I was celebrating while reading this. It was exciting! The rebellion was actually progressing forward! But human lives were the unfortunate cost of this all, and as much as Aly wished that she could have a bloodless revolution, it wasn’t possible. Aly knows that she also has to keep her humanity about her; she can risk becoming bloodthirsty or unable to acknowledge the affects of her actions. She’s not the first character in a Tortall book to do so, but I love where this bit is placed in the chapter.

That didn’t make me less excited and relieved when Fesgao reported that they’d gotten out over a hundred political prisoners, including Duke Nomru, and that they lost none of their own. I also loved that they were spread out over the other islands. THAT IS VERY SMART. But the conspirators are clearly a few notches above the luarin in terms of just… basic planning? The Kanodang guards didn’t know there’d been a breakout for HOURS. Hours. Oh, it’s just so lovely to know that they’re taking advantage of the problems the ruling class have. I ADORE IT.

But this chapter isn’t without more of Tammy’s evil nature. Aly gets a moment alone to talk to the darkings, and what she learns through them is interesting up until the point where it’s RITUALLY UNFAIR:

It was Rubinyan’s darking once again who provided Aly with the tastiest bit of information at all, as the late-afternoon light streamed through cracks in her shutters. When Aly heard it, she had to savor it, but she had the self-discipline to wait until she had given all of her darkings one last check.


For one thing, Ulasim and Ochobu at least would like to know how she’d found it out, and she was not ready to tell them about the darkings. For another, she wanted to see the look on each face when they realized she had done what they had thought impossible.

No, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? What did Aly do? Pierce, cackling her way through the next six pages, DOESN’T TELL US AT ALL. Oh god, why would you do this to me? There’s some stuff here to distract me from the BURNING QUESTION, like Dove’s astute observations, the explicit sense of hope littered throughout these pages, the plans to hopefully inspire the luarin conspirators more than before, and Sarai.

And look, I’m not going to deny that it’s impractical for her to be so frank about how she feels. It is. She’s nowhere near as conscientious as Dove is, but you know what? I love her anger. I love that she refuses to keep these thoughts to herself, and I love that she tells it like it is. It’s a good quality to have. Ill-timed every so often, yes, but admirable. So much of the culture in Rajmuat is about keeping things to yourself. It’s rooted in polite expressions of civility while in the public eye. Actually, it’s not just in the public sphere; Nuritin frequently insists that Sarai keep her thoughts to herself while in their own house. Well, partially because of SPIES, but also because Nuritin thinks it isn’t ladylike. So yeah, I do like when Sarai is acting as she does here to the news about… oh god.

AND THEN IT STARTS TO HAPPEN. Oh my god, the people who come to just stare at Aly… I just got chills thinking about it, y’all. I now know what they mean, and it’s UNREAL. I JUST NEED TO QUOTE THIS:

“Your Grace, my ladies, I…” He paused for a moment, so oddly for him that the ladies looked worried. Ulasim was the ideal manservant and never fumbled. “It’s Topabaw,” he said at last. “He’s – They made an Example of him. By the harbor mouth.”






The original text/videos contain uses of the words “mad” and “idiot.”

Part 1

Part 2

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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