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  • Writer's pictureThe Fiction Fox

Magical Readathon Orilium: Spring '23 Equinox TBR

As this is a continuation of an ongoing readathon (although you can join at any moment, as G explains in all of her videos and posts), I’m going to link to my post on the first Semester at Orillium, in which I go into a little more depth about the readathon an my character. For 2023’s readathon I will be expanding on what I’ve already built with her.

To match Lyra’s ambitious nature, I’ve again created an ambitious plan for her; picking a secondary career path for her to pursue. Last year, Lyra completed the Alchemists questline, making her an Apprentice-level Alchemist already. For this year, I’d like her to continue that path, as well as return to her naturalistic roots a little by “minoring” in either Herbology or the Druids-path. I’ll decide which one in August, as the prompts for this round overlap so much that I’m able to keep all options open. In order to meet the requirements for the Assistant Alchemist ánd Novice Druid- and Herbologist, I’ll need to fulfil 11 prompts. I’m absolutely pushing my luck with those numbers, but as I have a few planned vacation days in April, I might be able to tackle it. All that said, let’s get into my personal curriculum (aka TBR) for the month:


ALCHEMY: principles of transmutation. - Read a book with a metal in the title. The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell

The first prompt was immediately the hardest to match, as I only had 1 single book that would fit available. Although I don’t read a lot of mystery novels, I love the occasional cozy mystery as a “comfort read” once in a while. The Golden Spoon combines cozy mystery with another one of my guilty-comfort-pleasures: The Great British Bake-Off (or its Dutch equivalent Heel Holland Bakt). In short: we have a closed room murder-mystery that kicks off when one of the contestants of a televised baking competition is found dead on set. I’m hoping for uncomplicated cozy fun, to clear my mind after the book mentioned next.

ANIMAL STUDIES: heads and tails - Flip a coin. Heads = Read a non-fiction book. Tails = Read a fiction book.

My coin landed on Heads, so I have to pick a non-fiction book. I’ve debated this pick quite a bit, as I’ve started it twice already, and couldn’t finish it because it hit too close to home. Between Two Kingdoms is Jaouds memoir, in which she details her experience of surviving cancer, and navigating the whiplash from a “terminal diagnosis” to being unexpectedly “cured”, and having to find her way back to the kingdom of the living. Obviously, if you know me and my personal background, you might see why that hits very close to home here. I still desperately want to read this book, as I think I could benefit from it, but I haven’t been in the right headspace. For that reason, I’ve decided to give this one more go: third time is the charm. If it’s still too much for me, I’m resigning in the fact that this isn’t for me at the time, but that I’ve at least given it a valiant attempt. As a backup plan, I have Into The Planet; My Life as a Cavediver reserved from the library.

ARTIFICARY: conduit enhancement - Start a book with a snack. Emily Wildes Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

This prompt is a bit of a wild-card, as it can obviously be filled with any book you like. I debated on leaving it open, but to be honest, I already have a pretty good idea what book I’ll want to pick up this month regardless. Emily Wildes Encyclopedia of Faeries is one I’ve been putting off, as “fae/faeries” is one of my most potent anti-buzzwords as of late. Heather Fawcett is an author I’ve enjoyed in the past however, and I’ve heard such great things about this book that I still decided to take a risk on her. Emily Wilde promises to be more scholarly-cottage-core, and less broody-romance than your typical faerie story. In this, we follow curmudgeonly professor journeys to a small town in the far north to study faerie folklore and discovers dark fae magic, friendship, and love. I’ve sampled the first few pages already, and I’m hoping the atmosphere and distinctive writing thus far continue.

ASTRONOMY: the Eclipse-Effect - Read a book with two E’s in the title.

One of my most anticipated releases to come out in April happens to fit this prompt perfectly. This is a literary fiction novel about chronic illness, nature and learning to cope with change, following our protagonist who, after a pregnancy triggers a chronic illness, starts on a selfreflective journey over beaches of Europe in search of sea-beans (salt-hardened tropical seeds carried by the ocean-currents across hundreds of kilometers, to wash up on a different continent).

DEMONOLOGY: impersonators - Read a book that is compared to one of your favourites

My ever-going quest to find more weird-alienation-sci-fi-biological-horror fiction (yes, that’s hyper-specific, I know) like Annihilation continues. This time, I’m trying my hand at a very new release that I hadn’t heard much about, until it was comped to me as “Annihilation meets Event Horizon”. Of course; I immediately clicked “pre-order” as soon as humanly possible. The synopsis might explain indeed does remind me of those two titles. We follow a group of scientists send to investigate a the mysterious phenomenon of a mountain that has suddenly appeared in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. As their findings start to make less and less sense, paranoia rises as to the purposes of their expedition, as well as the motives of the shadowy organization that send them in the first place. I’m hyped for this book and can’t wait for April 20th to be here.

ELEMENTAL CONTROL: botanical control - Read a book with a flower on the cover

There were plenty of choices for this prompt, but I chose this one, as my library-hold just came through. This book came to my attention mostly because of its beautiful cover, as well as being described as reminiscent of Rory Powers Burn Our Bodies Down. The town of Bishop is known for exactly two things: recurring windstorms and an endless field of sunflowers that stretches farther than the eye can see. And women—missing women. So when three more women disappear one stormy night, the case is quickly closed and their daughters are left in their dusty shared house with the shattered pieces of their lives. Until the wind kicks up a terrible secret at their mothers’ much-delayed memorial, sending them on a quest for answers.

ILLUSION: disguise self - Match the cover of your book to your clothing.

This one is a little difficult to predict beforehand, but I cán make an educated guess. Since its still early spring, and therefore quite chilly in The Netherlands, I love to wear my super-fluffy sea-blue fleece vest whenever I curl up on the couch with a book. The cover of Tides by Sarah Freeman matches that shade of light blue perfectly. This is another grief-read, featuring a woman who escapes her previous life after a terrible loss and ends up adrift in a wealthy seaside town with a dead cellphone and barely any money. Mired in her grief, Mara detaches from the outside world and spends her days of self-imposed exile scrounging for food and swimming in the night ocean. As an unexpected connection to the local wine-shop owner threatens to develop into something more, Mara is forced to confront her past, in order to have a shot at moving on.

INSCRIPTION: glyph of flight - Pick a book from your highest shelf. Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger This prompt forces me to reread a YA or middle-grade favourite, as my top-shelf is dedicated to them. I’m choosing Elatsoe, which I originally read and loved in 2021, and have been wanting to revisit ever since. Elatsoe tells the story of a Lipan Apache teen, who lives in an America quite similar to our own. This America has been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. When Ellie’s beloved cousin becomes the victim in a horrible crime, she sets off on a journey for answers. Along the way she is accompanied by her loyal companions of raised ghosts, most importantly her ghost-dog Kirby, the friendly spirit of their childhood family-pet.

LORE: Legends of Dia - read a book with a map.

For this, I picked A Fire Endless, the sequel to A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross, which features a beautiful map of the magical Isles of Cadence. This series has its roots firmly in Scottish mythology, and tells the story of two rival clans inhabiting the aforementioned Isles, where magic flows like rivers, and natural spirits are more than just elements of folklore. When local girls start to vanish without a trace from their villages, the local clans are quick to point fingers to the trickster spirits and other mystical forces they share their Isle with. We follow the reluctant duo of Jack and Adaira; a bard from the east and a Laird from the west, forced to join forces to uncover the mystery and return the girls home safely. I’ve been waiting for the conclusion to this duology for months now, and the lush and magical atmosphere that radiates of these pages makes it a perfect match for a magical readathon.

SPELLS AND ENCANTATIONS: magical missiles - read a book with a length between exactly 389 and 410 pages The Rattled Bones by S.M. Parker

Other than the “metal” prompts, this too proved unexpectedly difficult, as I spent quite some time looking before I found a book on my shelves that matched this exact length. I finally found it in The Rattled Bones by S.M. Parker, which comes in at exactly 400 pages. I know fairly little about this book, but I’ve heard it described as “coastal ghost-story about uninhabited islands in unruly seas, grief, memory and the blurring of the line between life and death”, and that was all I needed to hear to be intrigued.

RESTORATION: oculi cures - close your eyes, shuffle your TBR and pick a book.

I was very nervous about this, but I’m very happy with the book that ended up in my hands. The Hollow Kind has been on my radar ever since its release and I’m still as intrigued as ever by it. When a troubled woman inherits her grandfather’s turpentine estate, she quickly seizes the opportunity to escape her current life, and flees to Georgia with her eleven-year-old son, Max, in tow. What she finds isn’t the idyllic refuge she hoped for; a decrepit farmhouse isolated amidst an eerie forest. A series of unexplainable and frightening events kicks off to unearth the true legacy of the Redfern family: kingdom of grief and death, and a haunting to which Nellie's own blood has granted her the key.

I would love to know if you are participating in the Magical Readathon this year, and what book on your TBR you’re most excited to get to. If you’re new to the readathon, below will be the links to all the resources you need to get started, all credits of course to G from Bookroast. Happy reading this month, and to all of you participating; I wish you a magical reading adventure!

Magical Readathon recourses:

Introduction to the Magical Readathon Spring Equinox ’23 Announcement Video Google Drive where you can find all syllabi, character guides, additional quests and more


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