Mark Reads ‘Trickster’s Queen’: Chapter 18

In the eighteenth chapter of Trickster’s Queen, the conspiracy is finally widened. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Trickster’s Queen.

Chapter Eighteen: Conspiracies

HOLY SHIT, WE HAVE SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT.

The Conspiracy Itself

Well, it had to happen sometime, right? Why not now? As much talk as there’s been about wrapping the luarin conspirators in with what the raka have been planning right under their noses, the execution of it is still surprising because the way in which occurs. Seriously, Dove just walks Winnamine and Nuritin into the meeting room and then admits that she already told them everything anyway. DOVE IS SUCH A BOSS. And I think it’s yet another sign of what a fantastic ruler is going to be. Of course, it’s important to acknowledge that she’s doing this so that the raka conspirators understand that she has to be in charge and that they have to trust her judgment. It’s something that pops up multiple times in the chapter, especially once the luarin lords and duchesses arrive and are BIGOTS TO DOVE’S FACE.

The whole thing is appropriately awkward. And by that, I mean that both parties (but especially the raka) are uncomfortable at the outset, unsure how to proceed. I don’t blame them! Even if Winnamine and Nuritin have good intentions, the raka know that they’re trying to overthrow the very class that’s given Winna and Nuritin the privilege and power to exist in the Isles this whole time. However, this is part of the compromise necessary to prevent a bloodbath in this rebellion. The raka have to trust Dove; the luarin have to acknowledge that Dove is the intended queen and that they are going to have to actively dismantle a lot of the legal and social restrictions against the raka. And we see some of that here! Nuritin does her best to demonstrate that she’s ready to contribute meaningful things to the rebellion, the best of which is PRIESTESS QESHI AND DUKE NOMRU. HOLY SHIT. THAT REVEAL IS SO AMAZING. And so is the moment where Fesgao forcefully has to remind Duke Nomru that the world is changing, and he’d better get onboard with their plans to do so or be left behind. YES. YES YES YES YES YES SO AMAZING.

Royal Desperation

Imajane continues to do the work of Aly through her own paranoia. Apparently, committing regicide wasn’t bad enough. She orders the murder of the Crown mages and their guards to sweep up all the evidence of what she did. LORD. It’s just so fascinating to me that as Imajane continues to exercise her power, it further digs her own grave. Again, it’s her use of her privilege that is her worst enemy, and I love how brutally this is represented. Of course, Nomru and Qeshi don’t understand the complexity of this because they’re part of the same social class as the regents. Initially, Nomru doesn’t even believe Imajane would do such a thing! REALLY, DUDE? REALLY? But their cluelessness is to be expected. I didn’t think they’d be perfect conspirators right off the bat, you know?

More chaos!

Dead spies. A massive explosion in the naval shipyard. An uprising on the Fonfala estates LED BY WINNAMINE’S BROTHERS OMG. Stealing food stores to starve the Crown’s forces. The crows stifling outward winged messengers.  Nawat and his men leaving soldiers out in the jungle to fend for themselves. AND THEN THE BEST REVEAL OF ALL:

“It’s the Tortallans, and the Carthakis. They say their mages discovered the storm that sank King Dunevon’s ship was magical, and they traced the magic back to the Gray Palace. They say they will not trade with king-slayers! Every Tortallan and Carthaki ship in port is weighing anchor, even if they don’t have cargo. Even if they’re half unloaded! Olkey says the Tyrans are debating cutting their trade with the Isles, though he isn’t sure they’ll do it. Tyrans are less choosy about where they get money.”

HOLY SHIT. THIS SHIT IS NOW INTERNATIONAL. It’s basically Tortall and Cartak imposing sanctions on the Copper Isles for their actions, and I LOVE THAT THE REGENTS CAN’T IGNORE THIS. I mean, they just put them on BLAST to the whole world. I CAN’T. This rebellion has birthed so much relentless chaos, and it would make Kyprioth proud. Well, I’m still mad at him, but I can’t ignore how fitting it is, you know?

Nawat needs to stop.

I feel like I don’t need to say anything more than that. Goddamn.

The Breakfast meeting

I do think that the scales have tipped in favor of the conspiracy. I’m not here to deny that. And yet, the end of this chapter is eerie. The invitation of all the remaining nobles to a late breakfast with Imajane does not sit well with me at all. Granted, Aly details a lot of the safeguards that the conspirators have put in place that will help protect those who attend and make for an easy escape. I don’t doubt how well-prepared they are, nor do I doubt their talent or skill in protecting those who matter! Here’s what freaks me out:

Aly did not want to tell the luarin conspirators that Imajane and Rubinyan had taken to walking in the gardens at night, out of earshot of her darkings and well away from any of the raka spies. It could be something as basic as Rubinyan wanting to calm his excitable wife and to reinforce their affection after the problem of Lady Edunata. They could also be deliberately discussing plans someplace where it would be hard for a spy to hid, and where it would mean death for the mage who put a listening spell there. Aly could not be sure.

It’s that lack of uncertainty that scares me. This breakfast could be anything, and I don’t like that Aly doesn’t quite know what it is. What if Imajane and Rubinyan have figured out more than Aly assumes they have? Well, I don’t think Aly is assuming anything here; she learned the hard way not to be too confident when it comes to her spywork. So she just has to be on extra alert and prepare for everything. NOW I’M SUPER NERVOUS FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER.

Queen Dovasary

I do like that the chapter ends with Aly reminded Dove that while she may seem to be on the sidelines during this final push, this is all done so that she may be center stage when it’s all over. I have a lot of faith in Dove as a ruler, and I admit I’m eager to know if we’ll get to see any of that. There’s not much left in this book, so I’m not expecting to get much information about Dove as queen. It’s sad, though, that Aly can’t be there for Dove. At the same time, Aly recognizes this really isn’t her place. Not just because she wants to go home, but because Dove and the other raka need to be the ones to rebuild this country. It’s not Aly’s responsibility anymore. Eventually, she’ll have to go home to Tortall and leave this place behind.

But we’ll get there when we get there. In the meantime, I’m going to spend a week being quietly nervous about how this book will end.

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

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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About Mark Reads

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