Magical Readathon Orilium: Recommendations
Updated: Jul 28, 2022
Although my TBR is already complete and set, I wanted to use the Magical Readathon as an excuse to talk about some books I’ve (recently) loved as well. What better way to do that, then to give you some recommendations for some of the more specific prompts that are included in the subjects. G always does an amazing job of balancing her prompts to create a mix of highly specific and very up for interpretation. Following below is a list of the 14 subjects, and their more “specific” prompts, as well as 3 books to match the prompt that I’d recommend. All titles are linked to their respective Goodreads pages, for easy reference, and full synopsises. With that all out of the way: let's talk books:
Study of Familiars: a book featuring animal companions
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger recommended for: anyone who’s ever wanted to read about a ghost-dog-companion.
His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman recommended for: pretty much any fantasy reader! This is such a foundational part of the fantasy-cannon, that you have to at least give it a go. The “companions” in this case are actually reflections of peoples souls/personality manifesting as shapeshifting animal companions, that takes permanent form as you age.
A Million Things – Emily Spurr recommended for: if you’re in the market for a good cry. In this heart-breaking, yet hopeful story, a young girl faced with a terrible tragedy, keeps herself standing against all odds with the help of her grumpy elderly neighbour and her beloved family dog. Grab your tissues, because you’ll need them.
Familiar Hare: a book with a rabbits on the cover or title Note that I’m including both hare as well as rabbits, as both can be very similar looking, depending on illustration style.
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher recommended for: readers in the market for a retelling of The House of Usher by one of horrors best modern authors.
Rabbits by Terry Miles recommended for: fans of technothrillers and ARG’s, written in the style of Blake Crouch.
Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden recommended for: literary fiction fans who enjoy a bit of magical realism and prose that boarders on poetry.
Familiar Raven: a book with a raven on the cover or title Same here: I’m including both ravens as well as crows. I’m also leaving out Six of Crows and The Raven Boys, as I feel like they’re a given already…
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse recommended for: fans of epic fantasy, set in a phenomenally built world with pre-Columbian American influences.
Year One by Nora Roberts recommended for: dystopian readers who aren’t over the pandemic trope yet
Ordinary Monsters by J.M. Miro recommended for: fans of the world of Harry Potter, the vibes of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and the magical orphanage-trope of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, but aged up to an adult audience.
Ravensparn: a story featuring archers/rangers
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames recommended for: fans of D&D, subversions of classical tropes, or a little bit of humor and a whole lot of heart in their fantasy.
The Rangers Apprentice series by John Flanagan recommended for: fantasy readers craving the nostalgia of the good old “early days of YA-fantasy”. This sure was a foundational one for me.
An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan recommended for: fans of Romeo & Juliet, or who wanted to fulfil this prompt with something other than a fantasy read.
Meile: a book featuring multiple people on the cover There are too many good options for this one to feature all, but if you want some advice on where to find some; check out some (classic) fantasy covers or movie-adaptation covers, as they will often feature multiple cast members.
Basics of Poisons: a book from someone’s “worst” list For this one, I’m giving you three of my personal worst books, that I know are very beloved by others. It pains me to “recommend” these in any way shape or form, but I know that many other readers hold these close to their hard.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig as featured in my worst of 2020-list
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid as featured in my worst of 2018-list
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire as featured in my worst of 2019-list
Adidic Amber: a book with an orange cover
Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power recommended for: YA-thriller readers and fans of the trope of the spooky rural village surrounded by haunted cornfields…
The Martian by Andy Weir recommended for: sci-fi readers in search of a hopeful survival tale with a phenomenal snarky, inventive and resilient protagonist. Because what better to read for a book with an orange cover, than one set on the orange planet.
Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to shout out this recent favourite; a lyrical literary debut about a woman’s co-inhabitation of her body with the cancer that upturned her life, and that of her family. This won’t be a recommendation for everybody, but it felt so much like a quintessential me-book, that I had to mention it. Speaking of quintessential me-books about disability/illness/body: I could also recommend Sitting Pretty, a memoir by wheelchair-using author and poet Rebekah Taussig for this prompt.
Arcane Engineering: a book featuring AI
Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers recommended for: character drive sci-fi fans, in search of short and impactful fantasy.
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini recommended for: sci-fi dare-devils who love to get completely lost in a story, and aren’t afraid to pick up an 800+ brick during a readathon.
The Unseen World by Liz Moore recommended for: anyone who wanted to fill this prompt with something other than sci-fi: here is a heartfelt literary fiction about a girl and her father as his mind regresses due to Alzheimers disease.
Necromancy: a book featuring necromancy
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland recommended for: fans of modern dark fairytales, looking for a short and creepy horror read.
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupecko recommended for: dark-fantasy YA readers looking to start a new, underrated series.
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin recommended for: fans of classic fantasy
Tales of Bonefell: “bone” on the cover or in the title
The Boneshard Daughter – Andrea Stewart recommended for: fans of epic fantasy. Als features a bone-dog, ánd necromancy-like magic, so could fit multiple prompts here.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor recommended for: fantasy readers who like their stories with a good helping of romance. Also anyone who wants to see the angels-and-demons trope done right for once.
Bone Gap – Laura Ruby recommended for: fans of small town magical realism with vibes of The Raven Cycle.
Imp Wrangler: read a fantasy although there’s choice aplenty, I can’t pass up an opportunity to talk about some of my recent fantasy-favourites.
Foundryside trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett recommended for: fans of Brandon Sanderson, looking for a fantasy trilogy with great characters and a wonderfully built fantasy world with a steampunk-ish magic system.
Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne recommended for: epic fantasy readers, lovers of Norse-inspired saga’s, and Skyrim-players looking for a novel with similar vibes to that game.
Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins recommended for: fans of humorous, slightly chaotic fantasy. Think: American Gods by Neil Gaiman, or anything Terry Pratchett.
Inking techniques: an illustrated book As comics/manga’s/graphic novels are a genre I’ve personally never been able to get into, I’ve altered this prompt to include illustrated works as well. If you want to similarly alter the prompt, here are some suggestions on which books to use for them.
Julia and the Shark or Leila and the Blue Fox, both by Kiran Millwood Hargrave & Tom the Feston recommended for: fans of middle grade novels with themes of family and mental health, combined with an exploration of the natural world. Artstyle-wise: stunning black and white illustrations with accents of a single colour (yellow for Julia, and blue for Leia)
Tales from the Inner City or The Arrival, both by Shaun Tan recommended for: fans of illustrated short-stories with themes of belonging and viewing the world through a lens different from your own. Art style-wise: multicoloured watercolour illustrations
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman recommended for: dark-fairy tale lovers, or anyone interested in the exploration of childhood memories and the way we see the world as kids (that’s what I personally loved most about this tale). Art style-wise: black and white shaded ink illustrations.
Stilling the mind: a cosy read
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Oseman recommended for: cosy-mystery fans, think: Miss Marple in a modern coat of paint.
A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison recommended for: fans of middle-grade fantasy, like The Trials of Morrigan Crow, Frostheart, or The Girl who Drank the Moon. Any middle-grade fantasy could work for this prompt, but I wanted to shout out A Pinch of Magic in particular, because I feel like it’s an underserving underdog compared to its peers.
The Element of Water: Start a book with a drink This one is a little “up for interpretation”, as I feel like G just meant to have a drink whilst reading this next read. Still, I wanted to give some “drink-specific” recommendations that would be perfect to pair with their corresponding drink.
Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour Not only does the cover feature a drink, this novel takes place partially inside a cocktail bar, where the two main characters meet.
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel One of my favourite literary fiction novels follows a main character who is a bartender at a hotel.
Before the Coffee gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi Although I personally didn’t enjoy this one, it perfectly fits this prompt and I know for a fact that it’s a bit of a darling of the book-community.
Wave Manipulation: a sea setting
Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armsfield recommended for: fans of literary horror, with an oceanic setting.
The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake recommended for: YA contemporary readers who aren’t afraid of themes of grief, or the risk of a good book cry…
The Seawomen by Chloe Timms recommended for: fans of feminist-dystopian fiction (ala The Handmade’s Tale or The Crucible), featuring mermaid-folklore with a modern coat of paint. One of my most recent oceanic-reads that I couldn’t pass up shouting out here.
Ancient Caves of Daerune: a desert setting
Sundial by Catriona Ward recommended for: horror readers in search of a supernatural tale that feels claustrophobic and oppressive, not only from its themes, but the squelching heat of its setting.
The Desert Sky Before Us by Anne Valente recommended for: fans of roadtrip stories and explorations of sisterly bonds.
The Hour of Bees by Lindsay Eagar recommended for: anyone looking for a quick but emotional middle-grade read.
Psionics and Divination:
Time-theory: A book featuring time-travel
The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton recommended for: murder-mystery fans, looking to dip their toes in the waters of time travel.
Object restoration: a single object as the focus on the cover
Middegame by Seanan McGuire recommended for: fantasy fans who love stories of alchemy, metaphysical shenanigans and slightly disturbed but lovable characters. Must be able to suspend your disbelieve and confusion in order to get into the story though.
The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher recommended for: fans of The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, or anyone interested in portal-fantasy meets horror.
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio recommended for: fans of dark academia, or The Secret History but with younger protagonists.
Formation of Wings: wings on the cover
Me (Moth) by Amber McBride recommended for: fans of poetry or novels in verse. Content warning for themes of grief.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor recommended for: urban fantasy readers who enjoy their prose on lyrical side
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily XR Pan recommended for: fans of magical realism featuring themes of grief, like A Monster Calls or King and the Dragonflies.
Arcane Anatomy: “Anatomy” in the title
Anatomy of Dreams by Chloe Benjamin recommended for: fans of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the Immortalists, or anyone in search of a literary thriller with themes with dreams.
An Anatomy of Beasts by Olivia A. Cole recommended for: YA sci-fi readers and fans of the James Cameron Avatar movies. Mind you: An Anatomy of Beasts is the sequel to A Conspiracy of Stars.
The Unseen Body: A Doctor's Journey Through the Hidden Wonders of Human Anatomy by Jonathan Reisman recommended for: fans of medical non-fiction
I hope this list has helped at least one of you with finding the right book to add to your personal TBR. I could've honestly made this list longer, so if you're looking fo a specific recommendation, I'd love to help you out. Feel free to message me on Goodreads or my blog. Until then, happy reading.