I read three books this month, including the first books of two trilogies, Mistborn and Red Rising. Coincidently, all the books this month were about oppression. That made for some interesting comparisons to see how different authors handle that theme. I also gave in to social media pressure when it came to beverages this month.
The world that Sanderson created is a desolate place ruled by an all-powerful tyrant, the Lord Ruler, who claims he’s a god. During the day, ash falls from the sky, and at night the eerie mists covers the land and the stars. There are two classes in their society, the nobility and the skaa (peasants). Most of the nobility are very harsh on their skaa workers to keep them in check to quell any rebellious feelings. The Lord Ruler keeps the nobility in check with his obligators and Inquisitors, and to make sure that they don’t have any bastard children with the skaa. In the nobility bloodline is a power called Allomancy, which allows a person to draw specific powers from different metals. Kelsier, a thief and survivor of the mysterious Pits of Hathsin, is an Allomancer. He gathers a team of other Allomancers and an apprentice and together they plot to overthrow the Lord Ruler, who has been in power for thousands of years.
It’s a really good read, and although it’s long, it’s well paced, so it reads pretty quickly. It has pretty much everything you could want out of an epic fantasy, including world building, epic fight scenes, and magical metal powers that remind me of Magneto.
In the future, we have outgrown our planet Earth and are in need of a new place to live. Darrow is part of the lowest class, the Reds, in this new society. The Reds are preparing Mars so that future generations will be able to live there. His wife, Eo, has always dreamed of a world where her children don’t have to work under the surface of Mars, mining the resources necessary for habitation. Soon, however, Darrow learns that humans have been living on the surface of Mars for decades and that the Reds have been lied to all along. He wants to fulfill his wife’s dream, so he becomes a part of a plan to infiltrate and bring down the ruling class, the Golds. He gets into the Institution, which is basically the Gold college where they learn how to rule and stuff. There, he is set up to fight his classmates until one comes out on top.
This was a very exciting read, and the class system is a lot more complex than that of Mistborn. However, I would have appreciated more world building in the beginning to learn more about the Reds. Also, the game where the classmates fight each other was an interesting combination of Hunger Games and Percy Jackson, so if you like either of those series, you should pick up a copy of Red Rising.
It’s the summer of 1963 in Cayuga Springs, Mississippi, and nine-year-old Starla Claudelle is on her best behavior so that her Mamie will let her go to the Fourth of July celebration in town. But, when she punches the neighborhood bully in the nose, she gets put on restriction. She sneaks out to the parade anyway, but gets caught. She runs away, scared that Mamie is going to send her to reform school. Starla meets a black woman who offers to take her to Nashville, where Starla’s mom is trying to make it as a singer. Starla is confident that her mother will want her, and that her daddy will come to live with them too and they’ll be one happy family. However, Starla encounters several bumps on the road and learns about the oppressive segregation going on in the South as she travels with Eula.
This book reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird in several ways, but it’s also very different. It’s a coming-of-age story and delves into the dream vs. reality theme.
I don’t know what it was, but I had this craving for chai tea with cream and sugar. I’d only had chai tea once before when I was in Japan, so I had to go out to the store and get me some tea bags. Chai tea is really nice on rainy days. I’ll have to try iced chai tea when the weather’s right.
I was skeptical of the pink drink at first, but considering it’s on Starbucks “secret” menu, and not some half-baked seasonal drink idea (Remember the Cherry Blossom Frappuccino?), I figured I’d give it a go. If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s not really all that secret. It’s a Starbucks strawberry acai refresher with coconut milk instead of water. It was actually pretty good, and did have that beautiful pink color that Instagram is going nuts over. My one complaint is that my drink was definitely more ice than drink and it was gone in a flash.