Magical Readathon 2021 – The Novice Path wrap-up & good stuff of September
In September I participated in the Magical Readathon created by G @ Book Roast. I love all the creativity and work she put in this readathon. So a big thanks to her! I am already looking forward to the next part of the Magical Readathon in April 2022.
During this first part of the Magical Readathon we followed the Novice Path. Our goal was to reach the Orilium Academy. There were seven reading prompts, but we only had to complete two prompts to succeed. So by reading three books I successfully ended my journey. I also wanted to read Descendant of the Crane by Joan He for The Mist of Solitude prompt. Sadly I wasn’t able to borrow the book at my library on time. Read my thoughts about the books I read below.
The Novice Path Entrance: read a book with a map
Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire, #1) by Natasha Ngan – 4 stars
In four words: captivating, dark, hopeful, considerate
What I liked: This book totally hooked me from the start. Only twenty pages in the book our main character Lei is taken from her family to become a Paper Girl at the court. The Paper Girls are eight girls from the lowest caste, yearly chosen by the demon king as his courtesans. The world in this book is fascinating with its three castes varying from fully human, to humans with animal-demon features and fully demons. But what really makes this book stand out are the characters. I admire the strength and courage of the Paper Girls. The sexual abuse they have to face is quite frightful. So I appreciate the thoughtful way in which Natasha Ngan writes about it. And although the book deals with dark themes, the story is also hopeful and empowering.
What I disliked: The ending disappointed me a little. Since the story will continue in the sequel, the book ended of course with a cliffhanger. It did fit the story and was well-written. I just hoped for something more original. I’ve come across several other fantasy trilogies with the first book ending like this. There isn’t anything wrong with it. But personally I’ve seen it too much.
Trigger warnings for rape, abuse, torture and murder
Ashtorn Tree: a book that keeps tempting you (or top of your TBR)
The Rosie Project (Don Tillman, #1) by Graeme Simsion – 3,5 stars
In four words: funny, enjoyable, easy read
What I liked: This book was recommended by a colleague. It wasn’t on my TBR, but her enthusiasm made me eager to read it. The story kept making me smile and even laugh out loud. Our narrator is Don, a hyper intelligent genetics professor who is looking for a wife. He is easy to like, endearing and has a unique way of thinking. After multiple failed dates, Don concludes that dating doesn’t seem to work for him. So he creates an extensive questionnaire to find the perfect wife. Then he meets Rosie. She wouldn’t qualify as a wife at all. But she’s on a quest herself and Don decides to help her.
What I disliked: Near the end the story examines the question if Don has to change himself for love. I wasn’t entirely happy with how the book deals with this issue. I also expected a kind of heart-warming and uplifting ending where everything comes together. Instead the ending was rushed and I felt a bit indifferent about it.
Tower of Rumination: read a five star prediction
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes – 4 stars
In four words: historical, heart-warming, romantic, bookish
What I liked: I loved that this book is inspired by the real Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians. They delivered books to remote regions in the Appalachian Mountains from 1935 till 1943. Despite my eagerness to read this story, it took a while before I started to like the book. But the characters definitively won me over. The women who work at the travelling library in Kentucky are all admirable strong and brave characters. Especially Margery is a tough and independent woman who refuses to do what is expected of women in the 1930s. The main character of the book is Alice, an English girl who married a wealthy American man. The hard work for the library provides an escape from her unhappy marriage. I didn’t immediately liked Alice, but she grew on me. I enjoyed seeing her character development.
What I disliked: The beginning felt somewhat slow and haphazard. The story also didn’t seem as bookish as I expected. Later the books do get a bigger role. However, the focus of the story is mostly on friendship and romance. This isn’t a bad thing at all. But personally I would have liked to read more about the library and the books.
Trigger warning for domestic violence
Good stuff in September
- September 23th was Bi Visibility Day. To celebrate this day, Sia @ Every Book a Doorway and Kat @ Bookish Blades recommended books with bi protagonists. Kat also shared her own story about labelling and being bi.
- On Epic Reads I found a list with Historical fantasy book recommendations. I haven’t read any of them, but a lot of them sound interesting.
- I went on a school trip with the elementary school where I work. Our destination was the Dutch amusement park Duinrell. It was a great day and all the children had a lot of fun!