Mark Reads ‘Trickster’s Queen’: Chapter 19

In the nineteenth chapter of Trickster’s Queen, a risky wage on the part of the Crown ignites the long-awaited fire in Rajmuat. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Trickster’s Queen.

Chapter Nineteen: Rittevon Square

Tamora Pierce hasn’t forgotten the price that these people are going to have to pay for victory, and I admit this has made me worry about the remainder of this series. What happens in chapter nineteen was a long time coming, and it’s even more brutal than I thought it would be. Which certainly means that the next chapter? Yeah. YEAH. The final battle has to be a bloodbath. But that’s how this has to unfold because of what’s at stake here, something that Pierce always keeps in the forefront of this struggle. You’ve got an occupying force who have enjoyed the spoils of their privilege for thousands of years. They’re now coping with the loss of that power. They underestimate those they’ve oppressed, and it shows. And when you think about what the raka are fighting for, it’s freedom. It’s for their own culture, their own lands, and their right to live as they please instead of living beneath the oppressive power of slavery. They’re fighting for what the luarin have had (and taken for granted) this entire time!

Pierce appropriately imbues the text with a lot of ominous signs and scenes, and it helps that the vast majority of this book was been an exercise in suspense. You’ve got Aly and Nawat’s love-filled goodbye, WHICH IS NOT OKAY. DON’T SAY THINGS LIKE, “If you get yourself killed, I will be very unhappy with you.” DON’T EVER DO THAT. Then you’ve got the nerve-wracking trip to the palace, where the raka citizens continue to draw more and more attention to Dove. Again, you can’t control the people of the Isles, but you also can’t ignore that this exacerbates the situation. In addition to all of this, the murky water in the green belt? NO. NOT A GOOD SIGN.

Taybur Sibigat only adds to the tension himself. Y’all, even putting aside my excitement for him turning against the Crown, the very fact that he’s willing to assist Aly is just UNREAL. That’s how bad things have gotten for the people in power. It’s a disaster. I can’t say I know how Taybur is going to play into the final battle, since I didn’t pick up on any clues, but I’m hoping he’ll prove to be a valuable ally for the raka. And then he can be Aly’s best friend and they can go on spy adventures together???

Or she could go on adventures with Fesgao. I really saw that scene where he showed Aly the escape route not just one of tactical importance, but a demonstration of trust. Fesgao makes a point to state that only four other people know about this exit within the conspiracy. And as I said in the first video for this chapter, it’s so fascinating to me that the raka have been keeping up such traditions or plans completely underground. I love the idea that while they have faced centuries of challenges and despair, they still refused to give up hope. They may have waited for the right time, but that doesn’t mean that the waiting was fruitless or silly.

I suppose I thought that the ladies’ meeting with Imajane was going to be the focus of this chapter; truthfully, until the Aly learned what she did in this chapter, that’s what Pierce was hinting at. Something was going to happen at this meeting. BUT NOPE. RED HERRING. It was the journey back home that held her true plans, and SWEET MOTHER OF ALL THAT IS HOLY. Thinking back on how this riot started, I’m struck by how obvious it was. It’s not that Imajane planned it poorly; it’s her certainty that it would work that disturbs me. The King’s Watch openly refused to help the Balitangs and instead, assisted the assassins and soldiers through their lack of activity. Again, the Crown underestimated the raka here, since they didn’t expect anyone else to come to the Balitangs’ aid. However, the signs were always there if they’d been truly paying attention. See, they’d noticed the attention that was showered upon Dove. (In this chapter, it’s literally done so, since the raka rain down flower blossoms on Dove.) They probably noticed the open shackle insignia. But instead of seeing this as a viable threat or emblematic of a vicious current of resentment in the lower classes, the Crown treats their opponents like misbehaving children. They assume they have all the power, and they don’t ever consider that the raka are gearing up for a war themselves.

Still, that doesn’t mean that the King’s Watch or the Rittevon Lancers don’t have their own advantages. What we see play out here is a demonstration of how they use their privilege to exploit and express others. Look how quickly they go after CHILDREN! They want to hurt the raka in the worst possible way. They’re used to brutality. They’re used to thinking of these people as disposable. So none of them question the assassination attempt on Dove. (Well, they were ordered to stand aside, obviously, but I suspect that the soldiers here wouldn’t disagree with the Crown if pressed, since they get to act out their own horrible beliefs on the raka every day. I understand that military service is a complicated experience, but I have little sympathy for people who willingly murder those beneath them on order of their superiors.)

But it’s the brilliant actions of the everyday raka who turn the tide in favor of our heroes. The riot starts out with stones and flowerpots, but it quickly becomes horrifically and chaotically violent. Y’all, Pierce does a fantastic job at conveying the atmosphere here, especially since it’s filtered through Aly. When Aly starts panicking? I’M PRETTY SURE THAT SIGNIFIED IT WAS OKAY FOR ME TO PANIC. Aly performs well under pressure, but this? I don’t think she expected it at all, you know? Which isn’t to say she doesn’t perform well here because HOLY SHIT SHE IS INCREDIBLE. She takes her uncle’s advice and not only protects Dove from immediate attacks, but she identifies the potential targets for others.

OH, AND THEN A CHESTNUT KUDARUNG COMES GLIDING DOWN AND GIVES DOVE A RIDICULOUS DISPLAY OF RESPECT AND THEN ALLOWS DOVE TO RIDE AWAY ON ITS BACK AND IT’S THE BEST DEUS EX MACHINA EVER. Not one part of this bothered me from a storytelling perspective because the visual metaphor was TOO POWERFUL. I mean, just in terms of the raka’s own myth culture, Dove could not have done better than this. IT’S AMAZING.

I actually liked that the book didn’t remain in the riot here and instead, we’re given a much more intimate look at all of this back at the Balitang house. First of all, this isn’t the big battle; that’s next. (OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD.) And thus, we need time to regroup. No named characters die in the riot. (THANKFULLY, BUT I’M STILL SCARED.) And then we get that INCREDIBLE scene where Nuritin and Chenaol are now best buds??? I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THEM FIGHTING BACK-TO-BACK. Or how about Dove telling Petranne that she’s not going to be “that kind of king”? WERE YOU DEAD BY THEN BECAUSE WOW. NOT OKAY.

“Get up, all of you, please. I never want to see any of you on your knees again, for anyone. Winna, please, don’t. You’re my mother, Petranne’s my sister.” Her chin wobbled. “Please don’t close me out.” She looked at Aly. “That applies to you as well.”

NOPE, DONE. BURY ME RIGHT HERE. Actually, I shouldn’t say that because I’m certain the next chapter is going to ruin me. After finally regrouping with the raka conspirators, Aly and Ulasim have to discuss the inevitable: What the hell are they going to do next? The riot from that afternoon is STILL GOING. No, it spread. And with the rebellion ignited in Rajmuat, Ulasim vocalizes what I have been waiting to hear this whole book:

“I think it is plain to all of us that the war has begun ahead of schedule,” he said drily. “Any child knows it is better to swim with the tide than against it. We attack in force at dawn.”

OH GOD OH GOD. IT’S HERE. IT’S HERE. HOLD ME.

Please note that the original text/videos contain use of the word “mad.”

Part 1

Part 2

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About Mark Reads

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