(image not mine)
I've just finished the Daughter of the Lioness books. Also known as the Trickster's Duo. (well that's what I call it anyway.)
Trickster's Choice (2003)
Trickster's Queen (2005)
The first two-book series, instead of a quartet, for the Tortall Universe and they weigh in at 450+ pages each.
Alianne Cooper (Aly), daughter of the Lioness, and the main character of this series, is an immediately likable person. In the first chapter you can see she's her father's and not her mother's daughter; the sixteen year old's dreams are to be a spy, and her short hair is bright blue. She's very intelligent and once she gets kidnapped and put into the Balitang household by the Trickster god Kyprioth, her intuitive and curious nature is put to good use.
Much of the first book is info-dump, but it's manageable (especially to fantasy readers) and a lot of this historical polical talk is vitally important to understanding the plot, so I recommend not to skim. You may not absorb all, but the main points I remembered enough to recognize in the latter half of the second book. Trickster's Choice really starts to become interesting when Nawat the crow appears. Because when the crows come, you know there's mischief to be managed. Nawat is one of my favorite characters, the crow-turned-man. First glance it sounded a lot like stork-man hawk-turned-Numair. But they're two very different people
The second book has much more action almost right away, and I read it way faster than the first one. About 6 months have passed and there's a change in setting. I can't say much without spoiling the events of the first book, but I can say there are a lot of surprises good and bad, and you won't be disappointed with the ending.
Since I'm not reading the Tortall books chronologically, and read the Immortals books just before these, I missed having Daine's voice in my head with words like 'two-leggers' and knowing what all the animals were thinking, but Aly is a strong person with a good story, so listen up and definitely don't miss out on what the Trickster has in store for her.
What's next for me? I just got the first two books in the Beka Cooper series. Looks like there's three books published so far…maybe there will be four? I'm excited, but a little sad since these are a prequel by like hundreds of years before Alanna. So no cameos or darkings. But hopefully I'll meet some interesting new characters.