Posted in Wrap up

April 2020 Reading Wrap Up – O.W.L.s Readathon (Part 1)

“Night fell as Death rode into the Great Library of Summershall.”

First line in Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Hi, guys. Welcome to part 1 of my O.W.L.s Readathon wrap up. Yes, I read so many books that I had to split my wrap into two. I figured 7 mini-reviews in one post was too many so you get the first 3 today and the last 4 tomorrow.

The total number of books I read this month was actually 9! So not all 12 O.W.L.s but 9 is still way more than I expected to read. Here’s a short overview of what the exams I passed:

  • Transfiguration – A book with shapeshifting
  • Anicent Runes – A book with a heart on the cover or in the title
  • Charms – A white cover
  • History of Magic – A book with witches/wizards
  • Defence Against the Dark Arts – A book set on the sea or at the coast
  • Arithmancy – A book outside your favorite genre
  • Potions – A book with less than 150 pages
  • Astronomy – Read the majority of the book when it’s dark outside

I read 2 books that I won’t be doing mini-reviews for. The first is The Ash-Born Boy by Victoria Schwab which is a prequel novella to The Near Witch. I read it for Potions but as it was only 61 pages, I don’t have much to say other than you should read it if you’ve read The Near Witch.
The other book I won’t be reviewing is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which I read for Astronomy. I expect people know about that one. I will make seperate post about it but probably not until June.

Let’s take a quick look at my stats for the month:

Basically, I’m pretty proud of myself for doing this well. Enough of that though. Here you have the first 3 mini-reviews.

Sorcery of Thorns

Author: Magaret Rogerson

Published: June 4th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buzzwords: magical libraries, loyal friendships, book about books

O.W.L. Passed: Transfiguration

Synopsis: All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Goodreads

My thoughts

This was a surprisingly great book. I had seen a lot of mixed reviews so it was a book I probably wouldn’t have picked up had it not fit an O.W.L. prompt. So glad I decided to read it because these characters are everything to me. I like that there are a few relationships in this book that you can’t completely define by just calling them friendships or romances because those words are not enough. They don’t reflect the love and care between these people that Rogerson spends the entire book laying out for the reader. I love them, and I especially love the character development they go through.

However, I do see why people would have some issues with this book, especially if the plot is very important to them. There were some things surrounding the plot that weren’t completely developed and some things that didn’t really make sense. I, for one, would have loved to know a little bit more about the villain’s motive because it seemed like he was evil just to be evil.

On the plus side, the writing was great and not too flowery. If you’re into character-driven books about books with beautiful writing, I would definitely recommend this one.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies

Author: John Boyne

Published: February 9th 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Life stories, Ireland, LGBTQ+, family

O.W.L. Passed: Ancient Runes

Synopsis: Cyril Avery is not a real Avery or at least that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.

At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his three score years and ten, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country and much more.

In this, Boyne’s most transcendent work to date, we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man. The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit.

Goodreads

My thoughts

The Heart’s Invisible Furies is the first book I’ve ever read by John Boyne so I had to get used to his way of writing in the beginning. He has a very distinct writing style with some very long sentences and a lot of dialogue. That might put some people off but I just gotta say that it is done to absolute perfection. It’s not often that I read such a well written book. Boyne is able to convey so much emotion through simple conversations. You can find meaning both in what is actually said but also what is left unsaid, and I’m amazed at his ability to write like that.

That said, this book might not be for everyone as it’s extremely character-focused. We’re literally following one man through his entire life, or rather we see glimpses of his life. But still, life doesn’t have plot so don’t expect much on that front from this book. It’s still worth reading though. It gives you detailed insight into what it was like to be a gay man in Ireland in the latter half of the nineties. So as you might expect, this book will make you emotional. Maybe it will make you cry but I dare say I’ll make you laugh, too. It’s is not without humour and that actually makes the book quite a wholesome one. I would highly recommend it!

Lord of Secrets (The Empty Gods #1)

Author: Breanna Teintze

Published: August 8th 2019

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Intricate magic system, family bond, necromancy

O.W.L. Passed: Charms

Synopsis: Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray has enough problems. He’s friendless, penniless and on the run from the tyrannical Mages’ Guild – and with the search for his imprisoned grandfather looking hopeless, his situation can’t get much worse.

So when a fugitive drops into his lap – literally – and gets them both arrested, it’s the last straw – until Gray realises that runaway slave Brix could be the key to his grandfather’s release. All he has to do is break out of prison, break into an ancient underground temple and avoid killing himself with his own magic in the process.

In theory, it’s simple enough. But as secrets unfold and loyalties shift, Gray discovers something with the power to change the nature of life and death itself.

Now Gray must find a way to protect the people he loves, but it could cost him everything, even his soul . . .

Goodreads

My thoughts

No… just no.
This book almost killed my reading spirit. I could tell that the author had a great idea especially concerning the magic system but it was so poorly executed. The magic turned out to be a little too complex compared to how little time went into explaining it. It ended up being the kind of magic that can do anything that’s plot-convenient. That’s always annoying to me, and it was a general problem throughout the book. There were too many conveniences.

The characters couldn’t save it for me either because they didn’t exactly have a personality. I couldn’t connect to them at all. The MC was so boring and annoying. He’s one of those characters who should get a gold medal in self-pity because he spent the entire book feeling sorry for himself. The only slightly interesting character was the villian but he never reached his full potential.

That was 3 reviews from both ends of the spectrum but I hope you enjoyed reading them. How was your reading month? How many O.W.L.s did you get if you participated in the readathon?

One thought on “April 2020 Reading Wrap Up – O.W.L.s Readathon (Part 1)

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