Mark Reads ‘Trickster’s Queen’: Chapter 20

In the twentieth chapter of Trickster’s Queen, Aly and the rest of the raka forces converge on the palace. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Trickster’s Queen.

Chapter Twenty: Battle Joined


  • So, I instantly loved the idea of making the Balitang house the safe house for the luarin who were going to take part in the revolt but needed somewhere for their loved ones to hide. I dunno, I just love the idea of making that place one of safety, especially given how it’s basically represented that over the course of the novel, too.
  • “It was time to start changing their old policies, Ulasim had told the conspirators. If people who were not on their side were spared when possible, it might create goodwill after the fighting was done.” I LOVE THIS. I love that it doesn’t ignore that these are mostly likely shitty people. Instead, it’s more practical for the raka that they have as much support as possible in the coming days. I suppose I also like this a lot given what Aly has to say about Imajane and Rubinyan later in this chapter, since it’s clear that while political validation and support is possible, Aly understands that at the end of the day, the raka have more than enough of a reason to torment those who have tormented them.
  • I was also deadly serious that I want fanart of Aly braiding Ulasim’s hair. Please tell me this exists.
  • ALY FINALLY REVEALS HER DARKINGS TO THE RAKA CONSPIRATORS. Well, not all of them. I agree with her in that it would have been way too complicated for her to explain the darkings to the entire group. It was brilliant to introduce them at this point because… shit, there’s no time to question Aly at this point anymore. Plus, it’s a perfect way for all the commanders and leaders to communicate! And in terms of the format of this chapter itself, this allows Pierce to keep the reader updated on what the rest of the characters are doing.
  • Bless Trick, though, for totally spoiling Aly’s plan not to tell Ulasim precisely where the darkings came from. Could you imagine being given one of those things on the eve of the biggest day of your life, and then it says, “HI, I’M MADE FROM STORMWING BLOOD AND MAGIC IN THE REALM WHERE ALL THE GODS LIVE”? Ulasim rolls with it, though.
  • I’m so pleased that I now understand what it was that Aly meant when she told Dove that she had to stay “safe,” WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE. The whole bit about staying out of arrow-shot? SHE WAS HINTING THAT DOVE SHOULD FLY THE KUDARUNG. OMG.
  • I was so proud when Aly’s friends and fellow conspirators defended her against charges that she was too young. SO PROUD OF EVERYONE INVOLVED.
  • Can we also just take a moment to acknowledge that Chenaol fights by ax??? Gosh, she is so hardcore that I can’t even deal with it.
  • It was vital that Pierce openly acknowledge the emotional and physical difficulty of the group’s journey across the city. She set the scene with the previous chapter, and the riot that began the day before still rages across the city. The various groups have their own challenges as they move across town. Some face the King’s Watch or the Rittevon Lancers, and most can’t travel inconspicuously. With Aly’s group, the urge to stop and help everyone along the way nearly overpowers the others. It’s fascinating to me because it’s the other end of the struggle. Fesgao and Ulasim battle other people, while Aly and her spies battle their own desire.
  • It’s no secret that I love heists in all forms. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. So, any story that’s about people sneaking around or sneaking into something in order to achieve a goal is already something I love? I couldn’t deny the serious heist vibe I got from Aly and her forces sneaking through alleys, gardens, across roofs, and through tunnels. I LOVED IT.
  • I was pretty stoked that Duke Nomru was also in charge of a force cutting their way across the city, but then I read that he wasn’t discerning between Crown forces and rioters and DUDE. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO WORK YOUR BIGOTRY OUT.
  • I loved that Pierce didn’t ignore any of the senses in describing the atmosphere in Rajmuat, but in particular, it was the sounds that affected me the most. It was eerie to think about the roar of the riot spreading across town.
  • So, the convergence at the shrine for the Jaguar Goddess is one of my favorite scenes here, and I love the nervous energy that permeated that scene. Everyone is just so aware of what’s about to happen, and so they take a moment to appreciate the calm of their own surroundings and offer up a token to the Jaguar Goddess. Then we get that tiny moment where Nawat kisses Aly’s fingers and that is definitely too much for me to deal with. I am not going to be happy if this doesn’t end well.
  • I found it very entertaining that Pierce didn’t reveal Aly’s plans to the reader prior to this because it made this chapter so much more exciting. Truthfully, I had no idea what they were going to do in the Palace to guarantee that Dove would sit on the throne. Depose of the regents? Capture some people? Kill others? How was this going to work?
  • Which is why it was important that Pierce established, through Aly, that the regents might very well be murdered during all of this. It called back to that scene at the beginning of chapter twenty concerning the loyalty tests because Aly knew it would be politically beneficial if Imajane and Rubinyan had remained alive. But how could she order these people not to kill the people who have done their best to ruin millions of lives? The whole bit about not giving a command that won’t be obeyed reminded me of Wyldon ordering Kel not to go after the kidnapped refugees from Haven.
  • D O V E  F L I E S
  • “If Aly were out there, fighting for the freedom of her native land, that sight would inspire her like nothing else.” You stop it, Tamora Pierce. Stop doing this to me.
  • CAN WE JUST. Y’all, one of the coolest things about Aly is the way she exploits men by using their own sexism against them. She plays right into their expectations of how she should act in order to get what she wants or to slip by them, and the guard she talks to here up on on the wall is a perfect example of that. These men are used to servants who are demure, who won’t complain if they’re sexually harassed, and who can serve their every whim. So Aly plays the part, and it’s precisely how the man is eventually poisoned. I LOVE ALY SO MUCH.
  • I got chills when Aly had to warn her fellow conspirators off the wall. This was it. The forces were converging on the Palace, and the battle for the Isles was going to happen RIGHT THEN, and the regents had NO CLUE what was taking place.
  • So, one of Aly’s plans was to get Sevmire’s keys and free the people who were tortured by him. THAT IS SO AMAZING OF HER. Of course, she’s upstaged by Vitorcine, WHO KILLED SEVMIRE AND THEN SET HIM ON FIRE. !!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • This chapter ends in the WORST PART. The raka and luarin conspirators’ forces are all outside the Palace and attacking and then Dove flies overhead like some sort of majestic creature and THE END. NO MORE. Why? Why must you hurt me in this way? I suppose this means that next week will be eternally not okay.

Please note that the original text and the videos contain use of the word “crazy.”

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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