Daughter of the Lioness Book 1: Trickster’s Choice

notebook paper

We’re back in Tortall again!!! This series of two books is about the daughter of badass Lady Knight, Alanna the Lioness, and badass spy master, George Cooper. Her name is Aly and she’s less badass and more annoying than either of her parents. Still, reading this book was exciting because I didn’t read it alone! I was joined by artist and noted pipe-enthusiast James Fox, with the understanding that I would provide humorous chapter commentary and he would provide humorous chapter illustrations! Did I mention this was all like a year and a half ago? Anyway, here are the parts of the project that survived to the present day!

Pretty sure James could also design a better cover, but whatever

Pretty sure James could also design a better cover, but whatever

The Copper Isles raka clans were too busy fighting among themselves and those damn white people took over. Plus, their god Kyprioth may or may not have had his ass handed to him by the other gods. Some say the ancient raka royal line is still out there…


Chapter One: Parents
Aly is super rebellious and dyes her hair blue to piss off her mom. Aly’s dream in life is to be a spy in the field, but her mom and dad will not let her! She decides to run away and is promptly kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery. That’ll sure show them!


Chapter Two: Trickster
Aly works for the Balitang family! They are way nice to their slaves, even if they are raka because the first Mrs. Balitang was totally a raka herself! She’s dead now, but her two half-raka daughters are feisty teenagers. Bronau, some kind of prince, warns the Balitangs that the Crazy King thinks they are traitors and they should head off to the country. Kyprioth makes a bet with Aly that if she keeps the Balitang children safe through the summer he will take her home ASAP. He fools the Balitangs into thinking Aly is the new Joan of Arc.


Chapter Three: The Raka
The Balitang children are super curious about Tortall and all the awesome ladies that live there, including Alanna, Aly’s mom. On the entire journey to their country island castle, raka just come out of the jungle to STARE at them, specifically the two teenage girls, Sarai and Dove.


Chapter Four: The Road
Suddenly, the jungle along the road is quiet. TOO quiet! Aly warns the men at arms that that must mean there’s an ambush ahead! Dad Balitang listens to her because she’s Joan of Arc and sends some men ahead to flush out the starving, bandit villagers.


Chapter Five: Settling In
Once they get to Castle Middle of Nowhere, Aly asks the Balitangs if she can herd sheep so that she can get to know the land. In case of attack! Kyprioth convinces the crows to help Aly and they teach her crow language.


Chapter Six: Of Goats and Crows
Nawat, one of the crows, turns into a human!! This is by far the most shocking thing that happens in this book, but everyone treats it likes it’s no big deal. Apparently crows can just turn into humans if they feel like it? Also, apparently being a crow means you’re awesome at making arrows? Because of… feathers? Whatever, Nawat gets a job in the village. Also, he’s hot and all the girls like him.


Chapter seven: Conversations
Prince Bronau arrives! Apparently the Crazy King now thinks he is plotting treason so he has fled the capital too. Nawat flirts with Aly, bird style, and Bronau flirts with Sarai, sketch guy style. Chenaol, the cook, tries to kill Aly when she asks too many questions about Sarai and Dove! Kyprioth appears and tells her not to because Aly is HIS spy. Chenaol and some of the other servants have been secretly protecting Sarai and Dove since they are the descendants of the Ancient Raka Royal Line! Except even though they’ve been doing it for hundreds of years, they are way bad at it, and Aly has to be their new leader.


Chapter eight: A Spy’s Work
Aly snoops around some more and discovers that Bronau is super in debt and so can’t be serious about flirting with Sarai since she is poor.


Chapter Nine: Learning the Ground
Nawat eats bugs and hits on Aly some more. Everyone goes on a ride to the surrounding villages. Prince Bronau is a jerk to everyone. Dove off-handedly mentions that Dad Balitang is third in line for the throne right now, which, you know, MIGHT be why Bronau has been hitting on his daughter hardcore. Aly has a dream about Numair and Daine’s shape-shifting freak baby.


Chapter Ten: Assassins
Some merchants come to the castle, but Aly knows somehow that they are secretly assassins, possibly from reading this chapter title! Aly makes a plan with the secret servant conspiracy and kills all of the assassins. Except one hiding in the bedroom who almost stabs Dad Balitang!!! Luckily Sarai stabs her like woah while Aly just kind of stands there.


Chapter eleven: Migrations
Sarai and Bronau create a distraction at dinner by spilling stuff on StepMom Balitang. Then they sneak off for a secret makey-outy rendez-vous. Bronau is all “Be queen of my heart” and Sarai is all “You used to be all about macking on my step mom” but Bronau protests that it’s Sarai he REALLY loves. Then Dove and Aly tell Sarai she is crazy because Bronau is still totes in debt and must not be for serious. Kyprioth takes Aly on a dream journey to watch Crazy King die. Sarai’s parents warn her that Bronau is being totes sketch and she tries to argue with them about the POWER OF LOVE. Then Dad Balitang pulls out his ace of “He has slept with your maid like every night he’s been here”. Ouch.


Chapter twelve: The Mage of Pohon
Apparently there’s this old witch doctor lady in the Pohon village who totally hates white people but has agreed to see Aly if it will help protect Sarai, the True Queen. Nawat gives Aly a rock, explaining that “It is sparkly. Females like sparkly things”. A bunch of really tiny winged horses start attacking Nawat because apparently when he was a crow he ate one of their babies? Then they attack Aly too until Aly yells at the Witch Doctor. Kyprioth comes and yells at her some too. Witch Doctor agrees to come back to the castle in case of magic attack.

Chapter Thirteen: Ladies of the Raka
Nawat can catch arrows out of the air! Aly dreams about her mom having a practice fight with Kel!!!!! Yay Kel!!!!! I get way too excited about such a brief glimpse of my BFF. Aly also learns that her dad has finally figured out where she is (sort of) and is a’coming!

Chapter Fourteen: Pivot
Kyprioth takes her magically to the capital city where they watch the new king, Hazarin, totally die of Being Too Decadent. Now some little kid is king! Then Aly and Kyprioth mystically witness Bronau blatantly trying to kidnap His Very Little Majesty. Some guards catch him and Bronau runs away. Mithros, the Head God, and the Great Mother Goddess appear and ask Kyprioth why the heck he seems to be meddling with the Copper Isles since (see Prologue) they totally settled this hundreds of years ago. Aly wiles Kyprioth out of it.

Chapter Fifteen: Winged Messengers
Nawat reveals that he is not even a month old. A winged horse comes to the Balitangs with a messenger who tells them about Bronau’s treachery and to try to get them to get him to come back to the palace to stand trial. Bronau comes and is all “I was just worried that they were smothering His Very Little Majesty! They misunderstood” and Dad Balitang totes believes him? Sort of? He agrees to go to the capital with Bronau to try to smooth things over.

Chapter Sixteen: Betrayal
Attack in the night!!! Bronau wants to force Sarai to marry him, Dad Balitang to claim the throne, and then abdicate in favor of him! What a great plan! For some reason, Dad Balitang isn’t swayed, and gets injured in the sword fight. Dove shoots Bronau with some arrows and he dies. Nawat’s crow flock turn into humans and fight the soldiers. Dad Balitang dies and Aly vows vengeance! Some guy comes asking to buy a girl slave. At first StepMom Balitang is all “WE WOULD NEVER SELL ALY” and then realizes instantly that the man is lying anyway. Way to be stealthy, George, I thought you were a spy master? George, Kyprioth, and Aly have a pow-wow, but of course Aly wants to stay to see this thing through since there is another book about her!

Sorry the illustrations ran out. I’m not sure if James did them and I lost them, or if he is just a quitter. Don’t worry, James, this post has taken my like a year to write, we are both quitters. Maybe guilt will inspire him to join me for Book 2: Trickster’s Queen.

Previously: Protector of the Small Book 4: Lady knight
Next: Daughter of the Lioness Book 2: Trickster’s Queen

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