It is the first day of May, which means the OWLS Readathon is over! I’m very sad it’s over, but also a little relieved because now I can have a bit of a break from reading. If you didn’t see my initial OWLS Readathon post, then I suggest you read it: O.W.L.S Readathon Announcement: Rules, TBR, Careers and More! and you can watch the vlogs to see exactly what I got up to during the readathon, but for today’s post I’m just going to talk through all the books I read.
When I decided I was going to do this readathon, I wanted to really put my all in and try to complete all 12 prompts. I have a lot of time on my hands at the moment (a worldwide experience right now), so I had the time to commit to it and wanted to try and challenge myself. I decided to go for one of the harder careers (Alchemist), which requires all of the OWLS and fair few NEWTS too. I successfully completed the readathon on time, even if I cut it a little fine towards the end, which means I continue with my ambition to become an Alchemist when the NEWTS roll around in August.
I didn’t have a lot of time during the readathon to talk about all my thoughts and feelings on the books because I just had to move straight onto the next book, but I’ve collected them all together now into a more cohesive list, so let’s just get into it and talk about all the books I read in April for the OWLS Readathon…
Ancient Runes: Heartstopper Volume 3 by Alice Oseman
If you read my TBR post for the readathon, then you’ll realise that this isn’t the same book I originally planned to read for the this prompt. I actually ended up changing my mind several times because I really have no idea what order I’m meant to read the original books in. Different sources keep telling me different things, so switched to another book before finally settling on Heartstopper Volume 3. I really don’t know why I didn’t pick this one in the first place because I adore these comics (the 3rd one was no different), but I did eventually settle on a read for Ancient Runes. As predicted, I loved volume 3 just as much as volumes 1 and 2. The Heartstopper comics are just so wholesome and adorable whilst also managing to tackle some really big issues.
TW: Self-harm, Eating disorders
Arithmancy: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
City of Ghosts was definitly outside of my comfort zone. I’m not really a paranormal or horror person in the slightest because I’m easily spooked and honestly think zombies and other classic horror things are… boring. I have heard nothing but good things about Victoria Schwab books though, so I was willing to give this one a go and I’m glad I did because i did really enjoy it! It was a really fun read and the world and characters seemed very real, which wasn’t all good because I will admit that I slept with my lamp on for about 3 weeks! I’m still not a huge fan of paranormal and I was very spooked after finishing it, which is why it only got 4.5 stars, but it did leave me on a bit of cliff hanger, so naturally I ordered the next book the same day and I will be reading it later this month. Hopefully it won’t spook me as much, but I’m not holding out too much hope since I’m a bit of a chicken!
Astronomy: Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill
I believe I have actually read this book before, but for some reason I have little to no memory of reading it. I picked this one for astronomy because I thought the theme of the book would match the vibe when I read it at night and picking a poetry book made my life easier! I picked well because it definitly did feel magical reading it at night, but it wasn’t my favourite book ever. I gave it 3.5 stars because while I did really like it, it wasn’t particularly life changing.
Care of Magical Creatures: The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson
This book was such a struggle. I started this one fairly early on and only finished it 4 days before the end. I’m happy to say that the story picked up towards the end and I think I am intrigued enough to read another book if it turns out to be a series (which I think it might be, but I’m not sure), but overall it was about a 3 star read. My main problem with this book was that there was far too much info dumping at the beginning. I was introduced to about 20 characters in the space of a few chapters and I still don’t know how they are related to each other after finishing the book. I’m also not sure how old anyone is. The characters weren’t the best, but the few main characters were very enjoyable, even though I had no idea who anyone else was. The world was also slightly strange to me because it is set in our world as we know it, but then there are these 2 different magical factions fighting an age old war. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think the world would have developed the same if magic like that had always existed, so I found it a little weird. I did enjoy it towards the end, but not the best read ever.
Charms: Great Goddesses by Nikita Gill
This was a longer read than I had anticipated, but I enjoyed it none-the-less. I adore Greek Mythology because, like so many others in my generation, I grew up on Percy Jackson books, so mythology has always been a love of mine. Great Goddesses is sort of a collection of little made up stories romanticising the Greek gods and myths to spin them into life lessons, which I found really creative and also very nostalgic.
DADA: To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
To Kill A Kingdom was a little slow starting for my liking. It took until about chapter 15 for me to really get invested, but once I was I flew through it! I knew this book was a little mermaid retelling, so I kind of assumed how it would end and when it started really slowly, I was quite put out, but I was reading this on the last day of the readathon, so I had no choice but to carry on. I’m glad I persevered though because it really picked up and it most definitely gave me Leigh Bardugo vibes like the sticker on the cover promised me! It gets 4.5 stars because it was a bit slow starting, but other than that I really did love it. I loved the way it analysed people’s characters, how people can change, how they display themselves to the world vs who the really are and how people want to live up to what’s expected of them. It definitly wasn’t just a complete copy of the little mermaid like I was worried and I’m so glad I read it as part of the readathon or I might not have persevered.
Divination: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
This was one of the more random reads on the list because I had to use a random number generator to get this read, but I’m really glad I landed on Moxie because I’ve been meaning to read it for years and have never gotten around to it. I have so many feeling about this books, but I’m going to try and keep it simple. Moxie is a feminist novel and focuses on the main characters trying the dismantle her HORRENDOUSLY sexist school system. I felt so angry whilst reading because it brought back a lot of similar experiences I had in school and I think if I was still in school I would seriously consider doing something similar! The thing I loved most about Moxie though was the way it addressed and dismissed some of the most common arguments against Feminism. When you mention Feminism, there is always the same list of retorts: “Isn’t it just equality”, “Not all men!”, “What if she’s lying”, “They were asking for it” etc. If you’re a girl then you’ve heard it all before and I loved how expertly Jennifer Mathieu handled and explain every single point, so that there was really no excuses. You’re either a feminist or your sexist and I really loved that message.
Herbology: The Midnight Unicorn by Alice Hemming
This was a bit of a default read because I had already used Moxie for Divination, but The Midnight Unicorn was the only other book I could find that started with an M, so i didn’t really get a choice here. It was a pretty good choice though because I flew through it in only a few hours. It’s a middle-grade, so the font is bigger and it isn’t exactly a heavy read. I gave it 3 stars because while I did enjoy it and I think is was a very well written story with plenty of moral lessons for the children it’s aimed at, it was just a little too childish for me. If you’re in sort of late primary school years, then I think you’d really enjoy this book, but I think I’m just a little too old for it.
History of Magic: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K.Rowling
I don’t feel I need to say much about Harry Potter because I obviously loved it. I picked this one because it was the only book on my shelf featuring witches and wizards (a problem I’ve now fixed!) and because I needed Prisoner of Azkaban for a later prompt.
Muggle Studies: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
If you watched the vlogs then you’ll know just how much I BLOODY LOVE THIS BOOK!!! I never stay up late, but I was up until midnight reading AGGGTM because I just couldn’t bring myself to put it down. I HAD to know what happened and who did it. As the title suggests, it is a murder mystery and an expertly crafted one at that. I don’t want to say too much because I’m planning a full book review with my good friend Charlie at the end of the month, but just know that I loved it and if there is one book you read in 2020 let it be this one!
Potions: Renewals by John Idris Johns
I hated this one. I’m just going say it, but thankfully this was the book I read for potions meaning that it had to be under 150 pages, so I didn’t have to suffer for too long. I like modern poetry by people like Nikita Gill, Amanda Lovelace and Rupi Kaur, so I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like this because it was written in the mid 1900’s and also by a man. My grandparents bought me this for Christmas in 2018 and although I love them, they really don’t seem to understand the idea of ‘modern’ poetry. Maybe the mid 1900’s is modern to them, but it’s practically ancient to me. (sorry if you’re reading this guys!) Another huge issue was that half of it was written in Welsh…. I don’t speak Welsh, so that was something of a problem. I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 because I don’t think the poems were ‘bad’ I just don’t like them personally. They followed all the poetry ‘rules’ I learnt in school and were objectively good poems, but to me they were boring, irrelevant and sometimes impossible to read when they were in Welsh. They mostly focused about the culture shock between Wales and England and his experiences as an old man in that situation, which I obviously can’t relate to in any way given that I’m a 17 year old English girl who does not speak Welsh and lives in the 21st century.
Transfiguration: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K.Rowling
Do I really need to say anything for this one? It’s Harry Potter; end of story.
So those are all the books I read in April for the OWLS Readathon! I’m so proud of myself for completing this readathon because it feels great to say I’ve done it and I can’t wait for the NEWTs in August, so that I can get the grades I need to become and Alchemist! I’m aware this post is getting kind of long, so I’m going to leave it here. Did you take part in the OWLS? If so what did you read and how many subjects did you complete? I’d love to know, so leave a comment down below or come and chat to me over on my Instagram: @theoriginalbookdragon
Goodbye for now!
Over and Out