Just like a sommelier recommends the perfect wine for your meal, I am here to pair the ideal drink for your reading pleasure. Book Pairings is an unconventional book review that expresses my thoughts and feelings about a novel in terms of booze.
The Book: Trickster’s Queen by Tamora Pierce
The Booze: Rum Mangonadas with Chili
Hmm, I feel a little weird about mixing alcohol with a Young Adult book, but let’s get serious here, you’re never too old for a good YA novel and if you disagree, you’re in denial. I read Trickster’s Choice, the first book in the Daughter of the Lioness series ages ago and I don’t know what happened; I never picked up the sequel, Trickster’s Queen! Now, years later, I was looking through the stacks at the library and it jumped out at me. I remembered how much I enjoyed the first book, and was eager to see what happened where I left off.
To those growing up in the late 90s with a hunger for fantasy, the name Tamora Pierce should ring a few bells. She has authored numerous books and short stories set in the medieval and magial kingdom of Tortall, all of which follow badass young ladies wielding great power and destroying gender roles. As she kept on writing, Pierce has matured along with her audience; The Tricksters books are much longer and deal with darker, more sophisticated content than those of her first three series, The Lioness Quartet, The Immortals Quartet, and The Protector of the Small. However, fans are rewarded with allusions to past characters and the lore of Tortall. Both Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen follow Alianne, the daughter of Alanna, Tortall’s first lady knight, as she finds herself in the exotic, but tumultuous Copper Isles. Her wit and ambition have won over the favors of a cunning, umpredictable god who has decided to use her as a pawn to restore the rightful queen to the throne. At first she sees this task as just another game to play, but soon develops strong ties to the future rulers, the rebels, and an important ally, Nawat, a crow who has transformed into a man.
The first book, Trickster’s Choice, can run a bit slow at times, as it is primarily world building to set up the real action in Trickster’s Queen. The political history of the Copper Isles and its many lines of succession can get complicated and often murky, but our heroine Aly’s charm and romantic sideplots make it worthwhile. Once Aly has truly aligned herself to the rebels’ cause in Trickster’s Queen, does the story accelerate. It is here, that the rebels move to the capital city and Aly becomes their spymaster. I couldn’t get enough of the spy aspect of things! The romance, which is pretty cliche for a YA novel, also diminishes, while action and intrigue is turned to full throttle. Unfortunately, the can-do, sassy attitude that makes Aly attractive in the first book can get a little pretentious and overwhelming after a while, but all in all, I recommend the Tricksters series for an entertaining read.
I’ve decided to do something a bit different for the pairing this time; I’m giving you a recipe for Rum Mangonadas!
Trickster’s Queen takes place in the Copper Isles, a land that Pierce says was highly influenced by Indonesia. To experience the feel of a jungle paradise, the basis of our book pairing is a refreshing mango smoothie mixed with rum to harken to the ships coming in and out of Rajmuat’s (the trade center of the Copper Isles) harbor. Aly was in for a shock when she arrived here, as the food of the Raka, the native people, is dangerously spicy. If you’re a hot sauce fan like me, this sounds great! Add the spice of the Isles to your smoothie by garnishing it with chili powder. But that’s not all! Just like the protagonist Aly, everything hides a secret. She wouldn’t be able to help pull off a coup d’etat if she didn’t look like a sweet lady’s maid, of course while harboring deadly skills. Your mangonada is concealing a dollop of chamoy, a Mexican condiment that salty, sweet, sour, and spicy all at the same time. Much like our young spymaster. Your drink should end up looking like this…
… unless you’re an idiot like me, in which case it turns out all mixed together.
Do I have you intrigued? If so, try making the following recipe while reading Trickster’s Queen, and be sure to let me know how it goes!
Rum Mangonadas with Chili
- 2 cups frozen mango
- 1 cup water
- 2 shots rum
- 2 tablespoons honey or agave
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Chamoy to taste
- Can be found in the international section of your local supermarket, or you can make your own!
- Chili powder to taste
First, dice the frozen mango and place it in a blender with the water, rum, lemon juice, and honey.
Blend until you reach a frappe consistency. If it’s not mixing well, add more water and mash fruit with a spoon. Add more honey or agave if not sweet enough.
Next, place the chamoy at the bottom of your glass and cover it by filling the rest of the glass with mango smoothie. You can add additional layers of chamoy and chili powder if you want.
Garnish the top with more chamoy and chili.
(Check out the original, nonalcoholic recipe here)