Orilium Spring Equinox TBR - Magical Readathon April 2022
After a little bit of a hiatus, it is back: my favourite readathon, and the only one I’ve participated in consistently and enthusiastically for years no. It’s of course the Magical Readathon: Orilium, organised, hosted and created by G from BookRoast. If you’re not familiar with this readathon I highly recommend you check out this video on the BookRoast-channel, as it’s far to in-depth for me to explain shortly. That’s also what makes this readathon so special, as it honestly feels more like a reading-themed D&D-campaign within the book community by now. In this post, I’ll walk you through my created character, and the books I’ll be reading during the month of April to pursue my chosen path.
Back in September of 2021, our Orilium-journey started with round 1 of the readathon: The Novice Path, in which we were able to create our characters and make our ways to the magical academy of Orilium. Based of the prompts I managed to fulfil, and a bit of my own imagination, I’ve crafted the following character for myself.
Meet Lyra, named after one of my favourite fantasy-protagonists from His Dark Materials. She’s an Earthling, bound to the element of Earth and has grown up in the Wild forests of Aeldia. She comes from a long line of passionate herbalists and apothecaries, to whom natural magic and the art of potion crafting seem second nature. However, after years of being an apothecary’s apprentice, Lyra’s ambition has outgrown their small village. Fascinated by the art of combining natural ingredients to make potions, she wants to study a similar technique on bigger scale. This sent her on her journey to the Orilium-academy with dreams of becoming an Alchemist: a highly ambitious career, in which she’ll learn to combine the very elements of nature to craft magic itself.
Prompts and TBR:
For my chosen career as an Alchemist, I need to read 10 books during the Spring Equinox Readathon, and will have to read another 14 during the Autumn Equinox. It’s going to be an ambitious careerpath, but I’m excited to give it a go. Below are the “classes” I’ll be taking during the April-readathon, and of course the books I’ve picked to fill each prompt. There’s going to be a theme of diversity and disability-novels/ARCS, as they’re part of a larger project I’m doing, so I’m combining the two.
Alchemy: Potion of Infatuation – A book featuring romance Breathe and Count Back from Ten by Natalia Sylvester Since I’m not big on books where romance is the primary focus of the story, I picked a contemporary novel from my ARC-stack that features a secondary romance-plotline. Breathe and Count Back from Ten follows Verónica a Peruvian American teen with hip-dysplasia, who uses swimming as an emotional outlet and a form of physical rehabilitation. Her audition to become a Mermaid-performer at the local Floridian theme park starts a journey of navigating first love and feeling at home in her own body. Although I’m mostly interested in the disability representation, I’m interested to see how the romance pans out. really hoping to see a positive and supportive one, and not a case of boy-saves-disabled-girl (gag!)… The blurb and themes of this book reminded me a lot of Like Water by Rebecca Podos, which I loved, so I have high hopes.
Animal Studies: Ways of Pegasus – A quick read Sadé and her Shadow Beasts by Rachel Faturoti or The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody When I read this prompt, I knew I wanted to pick a middle-grade novel featuring animals. Immediately, two books came to mind, and I’ll pick between them based on whether the ARC of one arrives at my door in time. That ARC in question is Sadé and her Shadow Beasts, a 2022 release marketed as “an illustrated story for fans of Onward and A Monster Calls, about grief and love for readers 9+”. You can imagine how fast I was to request the ARC. In case, however, the ARC doesn’t make it in time for this readathon, I have a back-up on hand. The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody is a middle-grade fantasy about a boy who accidentally bonds with a magical Beast, and is sent on a whimsical adventure into the magical Woods. Its cover alone makes it a great match for the Animal Studies prompt.
Astronomy: Asteroids & Comets – The book at the top of your TBR-list Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore No need to think too long on what book would fit this prompt, as one of my most anticipated releases of 2022 has just arrived at my doorstep: Lakelore is Anna-Marie McLemore’s latest release, featuring her signature stunning prose and own-voice representation take on diversity and acceptance. This time, we follow two Latinx non-binary teens who are pulled into a magical world under a lake, when lines between reality and lore begin to blur. I don’t need to hear anything else: I was sold based off AM’s name alone.
Demonology: Shadow Demons – A book with the word ‘shadow’ in title Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne For Demonology, I picked a novel that would’ve worked as my “intimidating read” as well, but ended up here by virtue of its title. Shadow of the Gods is the start of a Norse-inspired high fantasy series featuring dead Gods, dragons, ancient legends and more. I’ve been wanting to read this ever since its release last year, so this felt like my cue to get on that.
Elemental Studies: Basics of Air Dynamics – A book under 100 pages Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie For this prompt I had to dig deep through all the tomes on my shelves to find one short enough, and found one that I (again) have been meaning to get to for about a year now. Notes On Grief is the long-form essay by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, describing her experience of losing her father and grieving his absence amidst the COVID-lockdown of 2020. I’ve loved the authors previous writing, so I’m excited to explore her take on this topic.
Spells & Incantations: Anti-Gravity Spell - Short story/essay/poetry Phantom pains by Therese Estacion Within the theme of disability-short fiction, this collection of poetry has been on my radar ever since it was mentioned by Jen Campbel in a video-haul. Based off the authors own experiences of limb-loss following a severe blood-infection, this collection explores disability and grief through the lens of Filipino folk- and horror stories.
Inscription: Glyph of Strength - An Intimidating read The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyam I was already dreading this prompt before I even scanned the list, as every rendition Magical Readathon has included one similar to this. My dread for this book is trifold. It’s a Russian fantasy novel, so it’s already far outside my comfortzone to begin with. It also features a full cast of characters with various disabilities, and I’ve heard mixed things about the representation (from great to harmful), which has me apprehensive. Lastly: it’s almost 800 pages thick. Nonetheless I’m desperately hoping to find a good fantasy novel with (positive and substantial) disability representation, so I’m genuinely hoping to love this. It’s time I bite the bullet and just find out for myself.
Restoration: Cure Wounds – A book featuring healers A Map of our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer With quite a few fantasy novels on this list already, I really didn’t feel like adding another one, so I took the term “healers” loosely to include doctors to be able to fit in one more disability-project-read. A Map of Our Spectacular Bodies is a new debut release, described as “being part lyrical coming-of-age story, a meditation on illness and death, and a kaleidoscopic journey through one woman’s life—told in part by the malevolent voice of her disease.” Say no more, I’m interested!
Artificery: Scematic Literacy – A book with an Earth-setting
I could’ve picked almost any book off my selves for this prompt, but based of the “scematic literacy” prompt, I wanted to go with a literary fiction novel, set in everyday life. For this I picked The Swimmers, by Julie Otsuka. In this story we follow a group of regulars at the local swimming pool, circling their daily routine of morning- or afternoon laps. Their repetitive routine is rudely disturbed when a crack appears in the bottom of the pool, forcing pool-management to close the pool down “temporarily”.
As swimming is something I do multiple times a week, this fit the idea of a novel about “mundane-earthly life”, but with a twist perfectly.
Lore: Myths Most Known – A mythology inspired novel The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott Last but not least, multiple novels before could have fit this prompt, but I’m going with The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott. This magical realist novel interweaves themes of climate change, personal regret and healing, through the story of two people’s impossible search for “the Rain Heron”; a bird from local mythology, known to bring about rain. Magical realism based off obscure myths and legends, an Australian setting, and some great reviews from friends I trust make me very excited for this one.
Wish my luck on my ambitious but exciting journey this month. The Magical Readathon is always one of my favourite times in the book-community, so I’d love to see what other people are reading. In case you’d like to join us, be sure to consult all G’s resources and show her some love, and as always: happy reading!