Trickster’s Queen, by Tamora Pierce. Sequel to Trickster’s Choice. Aly is heading back to Rajmuat with the remaining Balitangs, and it’s getting closer to the time when the raka will rise and put their twice-royal queen on the throne. Lady Nuritin, the aunt of the late Mequen, now lives with them as well. Aly becomes Dove’s maid and things progress smoothly. The only problem is that the raka, and any half-raka who know the prophecy, come out to stare at them silently without saying anything. Nawat is also encountering problems, he’s not sure how he fits in, not sure if he’s a crow or a man. And Imajane and Rubinyan are acting the same as always. Dunevon is too. But Aly meets the commander of the King’s Watch, the man who takes care of Dunevon. Taybur Sibigat, and he is devoted to his small charge.
So Aly finds out about all the secrets of the house and gathers gossip, and sends out a bit so that the royal spymaster (nicknamed Topabaw) will fall. So things progress somewhat normally. Though I have to wonder why Aly didn’t tell the raka that Dove might be their queen when some mini kudurung flew through her window to perch on her. After all, their prophecy did say that the kudurung would come to her willingly. After awhile, Nawat goes to help with some rebellions, and Aly continues to collect information. She also finds out that there’s a laurin rebellion too (which is more of a complaints club), and Tkaa has come to the Copper Isles as an ambassador. The funny thing about this is, he’s also there to see Aly, and he’s “the whisper man’s” greatest spy. The whisper man is Aly’s father, Baron George Cooper of Pirate’s Swoop. Anyway, Tkaa brought a gift for Aly, a couple of darkings, creatures her aunt Daine met while in the Divine Realms. They are made with Stormwing blood and magic (created by the former Emperor Ozorne). Which is one of the reasons I like them. One of the other reasons is that they are so, so so so so so so cute. And their names are sweet too. Things like Trick, Spot, Lace, Ace, Flame…. stuff like that. Two had their names changed though, Spot became Secret, and another one became Foul (because he was amazed at someone’s bad language and repeated it all). XD
They are very helpful to Aly. And so is the Tortallan money that arrives anonymously to support the raka rebels. And Aly’s pack have done some things too. Blowing up the slave harbor with blazebalm for instance or putting baskets of rats in the rooms of spies (I think it was spies). And then, when she least expected it….. Topabaw was made an Example of. Which basically means he was killed and hung up for the public to see. Sevmire, his replacement, had none of his files, and was used to only commanding a hundred spies. And what was his first order as royal spymaster? “Kill Topabaw’s spies”, at least Grosbeak had the sense to flee when Topabaw died. And Aly protected the two who had come to their side. After that, things started moving faster. Kyprioth had Mithros and the Goddesss’s shields stolen and hidden, and when they came back to the Copper Isles, Kyprioth and the lesser tricksters joined in a war against them. This brought about a riot, which was swiftly put down.
But while this went on, through the efforts of Ulasim and Aly, Rubinyan’s army is stretched thin. And through Kyprioth’s murmurings, Dunevon and Elsren got killed when Dunevon’s first ship made it’s maiden voyage. Tybur Sibigat didn’t get killed, but he sent Aly a message shortly after saying that he would help her with whatever it was she was trying to do. It’s so exciting! But once again, not for children.