It’s finally here, the first Magical Readathon where our characters get to go to Orilium Academy and take classes there. I can barely contain myself I’m so excited!!! Here is G’s announcement video with a brief overview of what’s to come, how the readathon works and even a few hints about what the Autumn Equinox will look like (it’s very similar to the previous Magical Readathon in terms of structure).
Orilium Spring Equinox 2022
How awesome is that?!
To sum up the essentials:
This is a month-long readathon that runs throughout April. You and the character(s) you created get to choose which career you want to pursue, you find the classes you need to pass listed alongside and then you check the syllabus to see the reading prompts that go with them. After that it’s just a matter of planning a TBR and waiting giddily for April alongside us other crazy bookish people. 🙂
G has outdone herself yet again with the beautiful careers booklet that she created. You can browse through the many options, either going for a career that you (or your character) identify with the most, or you can pick them by the classes they require. Each Guild also has one career choice that is exclusive to them. I chose one primary career to pursue and one secondary career that just sounds so damn cool but that I will only try to achieve if I do well enough on my main career.
It comes as very little surprise that I chose a career that has to do with collecting and writing down knowledge for future generations. This also fits my character Sistani, who loves to be surrounded by people, travel the world, and learn new things. Just because you know how to have fun doesn’t mean you can’t also have an organized mind and want things to be written down neatly. So if we achieve this career goal, I see Sistani traveling all over Aeldia, meeting new and interesting people from all over, listening to their spells and stories, and collecting them in tomes upon tomes upon tomes.
For this career I need to pass the following classes:
- Elemental Studies
- Spells & Incantations
During the Autumn Equinox, I will have to read a total of seven books to qualify for this carer.
Now this is the slightly more mischievous career choice. It goes very well with my traveling scribe, as Illusionist Rogues also travel a lot. Except they also have a gift of changing their appearance, influencing people with their charisma (and maybe a bit of magic) and making friends everywhere. Sure, the career could be used for not 100% morally acceptable reasons, but Sistani is a very kind person who tries to use her powers for good.
To become an Illusionist Rogue I need to pass these additional classes (sadly, no overlap):
- Art of Illusion
- Psionics & Divination
During the Autumn Equinox, I will have to read a total of four books to qualify for this carer.
Classes and Reading Prompts
This is where it gets interesting. G has been very kind with her reading prompts again, keeping most of them vague enough for everyone to find a fitting book. Although there are some that don’t sound difficult, they turned out to be super tricky. You can find the full syllabus linked here on Google Drive, I am only listing the classes and prompts here that I need to fulfill for my career(s) of choice.
|Elemental Studies||under 100 pages||Clap Back|
|Inscription||an intimidating read||The Winged Histories|
|Spells & Incantations||short story/essay collection||Snow White Learns Witchcraft|
|Lore||mythology inspired||The Star-Touched Queen|
|Shapeshifting||creature with claws on the cover||Over the Woodward Wall|
|Illusion||a trope I like||Portrait of a Thief|
|Psionics & Divination||set in the future||The Marrow Thieves|
For my Scribe career, most prompts were clear and I had no problem finding a fitting book, but that healer prompt drove me nuts. Not only did I have no idea how to approach my TBR in search of books with healers but, often, whenever I thought there might be healers involved in a story, there’s really no way for me to find out from the synopsis. So I went with my best guesses, assuming that where a magical illness plays a big role, there will also be healers of some kind.
For the Illusionist Rogue, it was the claws on the cover that posed some difficulty. But with a large enough TBR it’s possible to find a few dragons and tigers and birds that provide the necessary claws.
My Readathon TBR
As I’m not the fastest reader at the moment and my mood changes rather quickly these days, I needed to make sure I have one thing covered with my TBR: choices!
So I have three books picked out for each reading prompt in the hopes that even if I bounce off one of them, I’ll enjoy one of the other ones. As the Hugo Award finalists for 2022 will be announced in April, I may ignore all of this careful planning and see if I can fit the finalists into these prompts somehow.
A BOOK UNDER 100 PAGES
This sounds like a gift but it actually isn’t that easy to find a book under 100 pages. Novellas tend to fall somewhere between 100 and 200 pages, so I had to go with a short story for this prompt. It’s either going to be No Good Deed by Angela Slatter or Clap Back by Nalo Hopkinson. Both of these are under 50 pages, so I am safe. Memento by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff would also fit. Plus, this prompt will give me a quick motivational boost for finishing the first class in one day.
AN INTIMIDATING READ
Sure, one could simply use a big fat doorstopper novel for this prompt but I wanted something that intimidates me for other reasons. I went with Gallant by V.E. Schwab because I have been so disappointed by this author and all her books that came after the lovely A Darker Shade of Magic. I’m afraid this is the book that will decide whether I’m going to keep giving her chances or just stop reading her altogether. My second choice is Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey for somewhat similar reasons. I discovered and loved the Pern books when I was still pretty young and I haven’t read any of them for a long time. I am afraid that I will find the themes and especially gender roles in the series dated. So while I want to continue the series, I’m also scared it will ruin the beautiful image I have in my memory. And then there’s The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar which is only intimidating because A Stranger in Olondria was so beautiful and dense that it’s hard to follow.
A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES
I have so many books for this and I look forward to all of them. First, there is the Mythopoeic Award winning collectin Snow White Learns Witchcraft by Theodora Goss, then an e-ARC of Boys, Beasts & Men by Sam J. Miller, and thirdly I could read The Tallow-Wife by Angela Slatter. I am looking forward to all of these and will have to completely let my mood guide me when it comes to choosing one.
A BOOK FEATURING HEALERS
The search was long and tedious but I have found two books I hope will fit the prompt. There is the third book in the Nevermoor series, Hollowpox by Jessica Townsend. The synopsis says there is a strange illness that affects Wunimals, so I hope that it will also involve healers.
My second pick is Before Mars by Emma Newman in which the protagonist is not supposed to trust the colony psychologist. Although I don’t know how prominently healers really feature in these books, I am confident they’ll at least show up an help me fulfill the prompt. And lastly, one that definitely fits is Conjure Women by Afia Atakora.
A MYTHOLOGY INSPIRED READ
My TBR is filled with books inspired by mythology, so in order to narrow it down, I looked at the page count and chose a few shorter books. I don’t have to make things extra hard for myself after all. I’ve been dying to read Ariadne by Jennifer Saint but if I feel more in a YA mood I could also go for The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. I mean, I’m only years behind everyone else in finally reading something by this author and I can’t resist a good Hades and Persephone retelling! And in case I get pressed for time, I’ll throw in Valiant by Holly Black because I just know it’s going to be a quick read.
A BOOK WITH A CREATURE WITH CLAWS ON THE COVER
This was surprisingly tough. I thought as a fantasy reader, it would be easy to find covers with dragons and griffins and whatnot but it turns out I don’t have that many covers with animals on them. And horses definitely don’t have claws. I did find When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo where you can actually see the tigers’ claws. Alternately, I have Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir on my TBR. Since I have my difficulties with Muir’s writing style (but somehow ended up loving Harrow the Ninth anyway), I am curious to see how I like it when she does a twisted fairy tale. The dragon on the cover surely has claws even if they’re not visible, and that little goblin creatures even waves a claw out of the window. Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker (Seanan McGuire) has birds on the cover and birds have claws, so that counts.
A BOOK WITH A TROPE I LIKE
This prompt is a pure gift and I am going to read a brand new release. Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Lin puts a spin on the thieving crew doing a heist trope and I am here for it! This book comes out in early April and since I’ll only get to this prompt once I’ve finished the ones for my Scribe career, it should fit into my reading plan nicely. If it counts as a trope, I’m choosing a retelling of a classic, The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo which tells The Great Gatsby not just from a different perspective but also changes that perspective to a queer immigrant woman. For the book within a book trope, I’m picking The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern which is also me giving the author a second chance at delivering a plot.
A BOOK SET IN THE FUTURE
Another easy choice for a reader of science fiction. The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline has been on my radar since it was a book club pick for the Sword & Laser Podcast. And if I feel like catching up on a newer release, I’ll go for Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi. And to top it off with something even more different, I’m adding Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro to the list which is about an AI and that’s all I know.
Other readers got super creative and elaborate with their characers so I felt inspired to give my Sistani a little more backstory as well. As the daughter of an Iltirian and an Elf, she is a rather unusual girl, especially considering that she grew up in a bustling city on Kerador, surrounded by all sorts of cultures and people. Her childhood has instilled upon her a love for meeting new people, learning their languages and cultural habits, and generally being open to new experiences. She is rather quirky for a Half-Iltirian and rather uninterested in the moon for a Half-Elf but then, who doesn’t rebel against their parents when they are young?
Sistani is passionate about the written word but she also loves solving riddles and being clever. Whether it’s training and managing to run a particularly difficult obstacle course or solving a puzzle, her ambition usually grants her the strength to pursue her goals single-mindedly. She has been called a know-it-all on more than one occasion…
Unsurprising, she was chosen to join the Guild of Archivists who get full access to the amazing underground library of Orilium Academy. Here are the traits I have achieved through participating in readathons so far:
- Half-Iltirian, Half-Elf
- Urban from Kerador
- bonded to the goddess Ausra
- Conduit is a staff
Now let’s use this coming month to turn her into a Scribe and level up her status within the Guild. I cannot wait to see you all at Orilium Academy! Happy reading, everyone. 🙂