The daughter of the famous warrior Alanna the Lioness, Alianne (known as Aly) has inherited none of her mother’s dreams of knighthood. She has a different passion: she wants to become a spy. It seems, in some ways, a likely dream. Her father is the head of the realm’s spies, and has taught her secrets of the trade from a young age. But he refuses to let her become one, insisting that it’s much too dangerous. Soon, though, Aly gets her chance—though it’s not where she expects it. She is captured by pirates and sold into slavery in the Copper Isles, islands known for political tensions between the native people and those who invaded three hundred years before, tensions that are ready to break.
At first, all Aly can think of is trying to escape, even after she has been sold at auction to a noble family known as the Balitangs. But she gets her chance without having to risk her life. The patron god of the isles, known as Kyprioth, offers her a deal. If she can protect the two oldest girls of the Balitang family over the summer, he’ll get her out on the Autumnal equinox.
But the deal isn’t as simple as it seems. Kyprioth, often called ‘the Trickster’, has his own plans for not just Aly, but everyone in the Isles as well. Rebellion stirs among the natives, who have been oppressed and enslaved for generations. Aly gets her chance to test her skills as a spy—but at the same time, she must test her life.
Trickster’s Choice (and its sequel, Trickster’s Queen) is an excellent, well-plotted book. The Copper Isles offer a rich setting full of hidden conspiracies and well-concealed secrets. Tamora Pierce has written three quartets also set in this world (including the Song of the Lioness Quartet and the Protector of the Small Quartet), which I would highly recommend, but Trickster’s Choice was different from them, because Aly was different from those heroines. She is a funny, sarcastic, and clever character who won’t let anything stop her, with the personality of a spy. I would recommend Trickster’s Choice to readers ages thirteen and up.