May Reading Log

Holy crap, I only read 2 books in May. I would have thought I’d read more. To be fair, I did have a drawback that kept me from audiobooking much. I dislocated 2 ribs. Didn’t know that ribs could be dislocated, but it explains why I tend to have a super sore right shoulder, a stiff neck, and general back pain. Dislocated ribs can cause all kinds of problems. Thankfully, I found and awesome chiropractor, so I’m in much better shape.

Now, onto the books I read this month.

Red Queen -Victoria Aveyard

I found this one browsing Audible, and figured I’d give it a shot. It’s a good thing I didn’t check Goodreads before I did, because someone whose reviews I tend to trust hated this book. I quite enjoyed it.

Sometime in the future, humanity has split into 2 groups: Silvers, and Reds. Silvers are the elite: in addition to money and prestige, they also have abilities that can best be called magical. They can be super strong, turn their skin to stone, manipulate water, or metal, or other things. They’re called Silvers because their blood is silver.

The Red are plain humans, like you and I: average strength, no powers, plain old red blood. The Reds toil to provide things for the Silvers.

Mare is a normal 17 year old Red: She’s unassuming, and that’s a good thing, as she’s a thief. She’s also worried about Conscription, where she’ll have to go fight for her country when she turns 18. When a good friend of hers loses his job, and is scheduled for Conscription, Mare takes some desperate measures to try and keep him safe. Her plans backfire, and end up landing her in the Silvers court, as a servant.

When an unexpected event reveals Mare to have Silver abilities, despite being a Red, she’s thrust into an unpleasant situation: go along with the Silver King, or else. Now, she has to use her wits to do everything she can to survive.

I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t quite know what to think, as I’d gotten 2 different summaries, and they were a little at cross purposes. The book was quite good though. The difference between the Silvers and the Reds is well thought out, and you can feel the tensions between the two classes. Mare despises the Silvers, and with good reason. And, being 17, she doesn’t have it all figured out. So when unexpected things happen, she doesn’t have all the answers.

One of my biggest complaints is the word choices. Maybe it’s because I audiobooked it, but EVERYONE SMIRKS ALL THE TIME. Seriously, they don’t smile, grin, grimace, or frown. They smirk, sometimes with an adverb that conveys an additional emotion. I thought smirking was a smartass thing, not an unhappy or joyful thing to do.

I enjoyed the variety of characters, although they were largely tropes. The bitchy queen, the firstborn heir who wants things exactly as they’ve always been, the ignored second child, the stubborn male childhood friend. They’re not original, but the plot is entertaining, and if nothing else, I enjoyed the magic in the world.

 

Floor 21 – Jason Luthor

I received a copy of this book from Kindle, for voting on it during a Kindle Scout thing. I hadn’t planned on reading it just yet, but I was stuck waiting on a ride, and it was downloaded to my tablet. So I read it, and plowed through it in two sittings, separated by only an hour.

It’s sometime in the distant future. People live in the top 16 floors of a skyscraper. They don’t really know why they’re there, and for all they know, they’ve always been there. Also inhabiting the building is the Creep, which makes you hallucinate, so touching it is not advised.

Jackie is a 17 year old girl who’s tired of living in the building. She wants to know why they’re there, if they’re the only ones alive, and what’s on Floor 1, where no one gets to go? She narrates each chapter using a voice recorder, in an almost stream of consciousness style.

I didn’t know what to expect from the book, and I was pleasantly surprised. While the retelling by a girl into a recorder isn’t my favorite way to read, Jackie’s still entertaining. And, the world she lives in is fascinating. They grow vegetables on the roof, but they’re not like the vegetables we know. They turn black, even though they’re still good to eat. They have limited entertainment, so all the music they have is shared over a network. And lots of their stuff comes from lower levels in the building, brought in by Scavengers.

There’s where the book falls apart for me, at least a bit. Scavengers go into the lower floors 4 times a year, two weeks at a time. They bring back all kinds of stuff: tech, food, entertainment, etc. What confuses me though, is these people have supposedly been in this building for at least 80 years, or so they think. How are they bringing back vegetables, steak, and candy bars? One scene has another character mention they pass by detergents that are all way out of date, and not worth bringing back. How does chocolate, or a steak, stay good that long?

Aside from a few continuity errors, the book is entertaining. I do hope there’s a sequel.