Mark Reads ‘Trickster’s Queen’: Chapter 15

In the fifteenth chapter of Trickster’s Queen, I SERIOUSLY THINK THE REBELLION IS GOING TO START IN THE NEXT CHAPTER OR TWO BECAUSE OH MY GOD. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Trickster’s Queen.

Chapter Fifteen: Rebel Preparation

It seriously can’t be much longer, y’all, and the events in this chapter have all but guaranteed that something undeniably huge is going to light the spark of war in the Isles. This is indeed about rebel preparation, as the title of chapter fifteen suggests, but it’s also about real action that marks a point of no return for the raka. There’s no way to scale back from this. There’s no exit strategy anymore. With the slave breakout and the Downwind skirmishes, we are on the eve of a full-on revolution, and perhaps that is literally so. I would not be surprised if the very next chapter is the beginning of the end.

Oh, who am I kidding? I shouldn’t even say shit like that. This is the LEAST PREPARED I’ve been in Mark Reads history.

Anyway, I’m basing my (probably deeply wrong in some sense) statement on all the signs that this shit is about to EXPLODE, such as:

  • Aly’s recognition that the rebellion is increasingly demanding more of her time, which means she’ll have to spend less time as Dove’s maid.
  • The plan that her spies and agents enact on the three remaining slave ships, as well as the poisoning that sidelines 1,500 SOLDIERS AND SAILORS OH MY GOD.
  • The news from the darkings in the palace about Rubinyan’s fears and Imajane’s continuing erratic behavior.
  • Aly’s plan to seed discontent and distrust between Imajane and Rubinyan by planting “evidence” that Rubinyan is cheating with a noble known for being… well, extremely gross.

One of these things or a combination of them are going to send this conspiracy into a rebellion SOON, y’all. I FEEL IT IN MY BONES.

But there’s so much else going on in this chapter, too. Tamora Pierce has never shied away from war or violence in her books, and I love that a common thread throughout all the Tortall universe books I’ve read is one of understanding the impact of war on a personal and political level. Here, Aly worries about the running tally that Chenaol and Ochobu are keeping of the mages killed who all worked for the Crown in some capacity, and it’s a way for her to constantly remind herself that these murders are actual human lives. They’re not statistics. And I completely understand Ochobu’s insistence that these murders are not only necessary, but a way of evening the odds in preparation for the rebellion. It’s Dove who (once again!) brings up an uncomfortable truth: At some point, they are going to have to stop killing luarin and recruit them to their side or they’ll risk creating the same feud-based environment that made them so susceptible to being overthrown in the first place. Pierce brings up Kaddar’s work in Carthak (KADDAR OH MY GOD HELLO I MISS YOU) to explain why nearby nations might see the Isles as weak after a rebellion, and it was a good point to be made.

Aly comes up with yet another way to strike a blown to the Crown here as well: exploit the local merchants by creating a a situation where the crown has to begin asking merchants to fulfill their duty to the Crown by selling items at a much lower cost, creating MORE ENEMIES OF THE CROWN. I love that all of the other raka conspirators view Aly as some sort of evil witch who deserves awe because of all the evil plans she comes up with. For the record, that’s precisely how I view Tamora Pierce. I know she is plotting to destroy me right now. Can it not be with Nawat? I miss him, and that singular mention of him in this chapter wasn’t fair.

There’s more of Dove’s struggle to do what’s best in this chapter, too. It’s fascinating to me that she was concerned about being perceived as a “warmhearted people lover.” That was something that came a lot easier to Sarai, and Dove’s interest in the local merchant culture is more intellectual. But I like that Aly points out that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Dove can still care about the local economy while caring about the people as well, you know? And Dove’s sense for empathy works incredibly to her advantage in these situations. It’s not something she should discount because I think it’s why people are ultimately pleased that she’s taking her sister’s place. She’s the real thing, and the raka can see that.

I got a serious Les Miserables vibe in the post-slave-breakout scene as the freed slaves helped some of their loved ones escaped, but most remained in Downwind to prepare for their skirmishes with the Guard in the coming hours once it was discovered that the slave pens were empty. I think it was the creation of the barricades using furniture and doors that made me think of it. But as I said before, that particular event is not merely another thorn in the Crown’s side; it’s way too serious to be a minor announcement. Despite that Imajane pretended like nothing was going on later in the book, it’s not hard to imagine the chaos behind the scenes.

Which makes worry about about Kyprioth. Here’s a character working behind the scenes in a way that even Aly can’t ever truly understand. His appearance to her here is fairly typical until one specific interchange at the end:

“Why wait for them to push you forward? The regents?”

“Because we’re supposed to be the heroes, rescuing the Isles from oppressors,” Aly explained. “It never looks good to other governments if we rise up against a lawful monarch.”

Kyprioth smiled. “I thought that might be it. Perfectly sensible, of course. I’m sure it will all work out in the end. Get ready, Aly.”

UM, WHEN HAS KYPRIOTH EVER READILY AGREED TO SOMETHING ALY SAID? Y’all, HE HAS SOMETHING PLANNED. My guess? I think he’s going to accelerate this little rebellion by exploiting the fake letters that Aly constructs at the end of this chapter. If Aly and the raka conspirators need unlawfulness, pitting Rubinyan and Imajane against each other seems like the most effective way to get one of them to do something dreadfully illegal in retaliation. The monarchy is so fragile at this point, and I think taking out one of the two (or even both at the same time) is going to be a very easy thing for Kyprioth to do. Of course, it’s not like Pierce gave me very many clues otherwise. But Imajane is very unstable at this point, and I don’t think we should forget that.

Please note that the original text/videos contain uses of the words “stupid” and “mad.”

Part 1

Part 2

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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1 Response to Mark Reads ‘Trickster’s Queen’: Chapter 15

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