In honour of the 2020 Magical Readathon, I’m doing something many a book-blogger have done before me: recommending books based on your Hogwarts house. I know it’s not the most original idea, but I’ve always liked these kind of ideas, and I love hearing peoples rationalisations for placing a certain book in a certain place. This year, I’ll be doing my own version, in which I recommend 10 books that I feel fit a certain house well, including my reasons for that, ánd the 2020 O.W.L. prompts they will fulfil. Each list will be as varied as possible: including different genre’s and age demographics, and I will try to match as many O.W.L. prompts as I can for those of you looking for last-minute recommendations.
Sidenote: as the prompts for Astronomy (read the majority of this book at night) and Divinations (pick a book using a random generator) can work for any of these, I won’t be mentioning them.
Ravenclaw values intelligence, creativity, learning and wisdom. As such, the best readingmaterial for a Ravenclaw is that which requires the reader to actively think along. Where some people might put a book down because it requires too much effort, a Ravenclaw might buckle down to get to the bottom of it. This list features a mix of just such books, as well as ones that simply feature Ravenclaw protagonists for my fellow Ravens to relate to.
What it’s about: A patchwork of worlds within worlds, and stories within stories, centred around a young man who finds a mysterious book that happens to contain his life story…
Matching O.W.L. prompts: Defence Against the Dark Arts, Muggle Studies.
Why Ravenclaw? Two reasons: first, The Starless Sea is all about books about books and stories within stories, which is sure to catch a bookish-Ravenclaws attention. Secondly, I feel like Erin Morgensterns dreamlike writing style matches the internal voice of a Ravenclaw very well. It can be a bit confusing at times, but it invites the reader to keep an open and quizzical mind in order to keep up, which will surely match the Ravenclaws curious style.
What it’s about: In this sci-fi-fantasy cross-over we follow a set of twins, separated at birth, who re-find each other through unconventional means of communication. They soon find out that this wasn’t supposed to happen: there are people out there who want to prevent them from reuniting against all costs, and are willing to kill to achieve that goal. The twins soon find out they aren’t what they thought they were, and end up constricted in a complex web of alchemy, science that boarders on magic and secret societies out for the highest possible goal: Godhood.
Matching O.W.L. prompts: Herbology
Why Ravenclaw? Middlegame is one of the most science-focussed fantasy-novels I’ve encountered, and at times it asks the reader to put in the same “scientific curiosity” and deductive skills as the characters, in order to keep up with the plot. This book is a bit of a puzzle that makes it a joy for the Ravenclaw-mind to solve.
What it’s about: Introverted librarian Lazlo Strange has been obsessed with the legend of the forgotten city of Weep since he was a child. The chance of a lifetime presents itself in the form of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, on their way to discover the forgotten city and the secrets within. Lazlo offers his services as an “expert” on Weep mythology, and begins the journey of a life time…
Matching O.W.L. prompts: Transfigurations
Why Ravenclaw? Gosh, I can’t even explain why I love this book so much, and why it screams Ravenclaw to me without spoiling the whole thing. All I’m going to say is: a librarian main character (who could be considered a Hufflepuff ór a Ravenclaw, I’m not sure), a smartly constructed story about the power of the mind ánd of course: Laini Taylors superb lyrical writing. My Ravenheart couldn’t ask for more.
What it’s about: Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.
Matching O.W.L. prompts: Arithmancy
Why Ravenclaw? My first impuls was to put Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle here, but as that one has been featured on virtually any Ravenclaw Recommendation-lists out there, I figured I had to come up with an alternative. Enter the story of this female Sherlock Holmes inspired detective who uses her wit and inquisitive mind in order to solve a mystery that nobody else could.
What it’s about:
Matching O.W.L. prompts: Astronomy (I read this book in a single night, as I just couldn’t put it down to save my life)
Why Ravenclaw? I’ve seen many people put Ready Player One on their lists, as an homage to “nerd culture”, but I think One Word Kill foots that bill even better. Not only is it about a group of borderline genius outcasts, who find friendship in a game of Dungeons & Dragons, it also features some of the most mind-bending plot devices in literature: quantum physics and time travel. This one is sure to break your head a little, but in the best way possible. If you happened to have already read this one, but are up for some more quantum physics trickery, I also recommend Recursion or Dark Matter, both by Blake Crouch. Equally good, only without the Dungeons & Dragons.
What it’s about: Matilda hasn’t got the easiest childhood, growing up as the genius bookish daughter of two rather idiotic parents, and being the victim of bullying by her horrible school principle Miss Trunchbull. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and magical ability, waiting to be discovered.
Matching O.W.L. prompts: Arithmancy, Charms, Muggle Studies, History of Magic (we can call her powers witchy, right…?)
Why Ravenclaw? Because if Ravenclaw were to have a posterchild, it would be Matilda for sure…
What it’s about: In a post-apocalyptic world, under a diseased and dying sun, we follow Stefan Advani, a down-on-his-luck scholar who’s just trying to survive. Stefan documents for us his journey across the monstrous, overgrown land, as he’s being escorted to the only remaining prison on earth. This story however, is full of twist and turns, colourful fellow-prisoners and an overgrown wasteland that is as scientifically intriguing as it is frightening to Stefan.
Matching O.W.L. prompts: Care of Magical Creatures
Why Ravenclaw? My personal favourite part of the story was the narration, and Stefans voice. As a scholar by trade, he’s very analytical and perceptive, but realizes that he couldn’t be farther outside his league in this brutal new world. He’s very self-aware that he’s more brains than brawl and it was wonderful watching him adapt, whilst sprinkling his narrating his own struggles with a generous dash of self-deprecating humour.
What it’s about: Set in the days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
Matching O.W.L. prompts: Muggle Studies, Charms (depending on your edition)
Why Ravenclaw? This novels biggest strength lies in its quiet beauty and the inner (often quite philosophical) thoughts of the characters. Above that, I feel like my fellow Ravenclaws, like me, love a book that has them thinking for a long time after they’ve finished the book. That was the exact effect that Station Eleven had on me, and the reason that after years, it still remains within my top 3 novels of all time.
What it’s about: In this speculative sci-fi horror novel the mysterious phenomenon known as Area X has baffled authorities and scientists alike for years now. The first research expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. We follow the four women of the 12th expedition on their quest for answers, each with their own motives and secrets that might put them in even more danger than they already are.
Matching O.W.L. prompts: Defence Against the Dark Arts
Why Ravenclaw? Speaking of stories that make you think and/or break your mind a little: Annihilation is one of the best examples of a book that does both. I feel like more than any other house, Ravenclaws are okay with stories that leave something to the reader to figure out for themselves. If you want all the answers clearly laid out for you by the end of your story, Annihilation might be a frustrating experience. If you however, enjoy doing a bit of thinking and speculating about what the heck you just read: this one is for you!
What it’s about: A fictional collage of short stories dreamed by Albert Einstein, concerning his theory of relativity, a new conception of time and the way that time might manifest in many different possible worlds.
Matching O.W.L. prompts: Arithmancy, Potions
Why Ravenclaw? The story of a sensitive young genius, Einstein, time travel and philosophy… It doesn’t get more Ravenclaw than that….
Once again: I hope you enjoyed these recommendations. As you know, there is one more Hogwarts House I haven't covered yet, so to all my Hufflepuffs: I haven't forgotten about you! Please check back in tomorrow for 10 books for Hufflepuff readers. Until than: happy reading and stay safe!