A few weeks ago, Penguin Teen announced their readathon for the Thanksgiving break: 4 books in 8 days, and all of them high fantasy. All of those things are up my alley, so I’m definitely participating. Like my last readathon, I will be live-blogging while I read. And this is my TBR for this week:
I completely forgot that the readathon was coming up, and I had some massive books to finish before we arrived at Sunday. I was in the middle of two books before the weekend: volume two of Zebulon and Tess of the Road. Zebulon’s about 770 pages, and Tess is about 550, so it was imperative that I finish both of these before we hit Sunday. I got Zebulon done Friday, and I never really have time to read on Saturdays, so I spent most of Sunday finishing Tess. I still had about 250 pages left of Tess when I settled in on Sunday, so that took up most of my day, and I switched briefly over to the nonfiction I’m reading right now, too.
So, MIrage is up first, and I didn’t start reading until after 9PM. I’d meant to start earlier, but then my parents wanted to watch Christopher Robin, and I haven’t gotten to yet. Suffice to say, I probably would have rather read. It was okay, but I didn’t love it like I thought I was going to. After that, it was meal-prepping and a shower, so by the time I finally tucked in with the first high fantasy read, it was a little late, and I only got about 70 pages in.
It’s—-okay so far. I’m not in love with it. It kind of feels like we didn’t take any time to setup the world before we dove into the plot, so I’m left feeling a little out of sorts. The main character fell into her role as body double for the princess, and thus sacrificing her life, super quickly, and I’m just not buying it so far. We’ll see what Monday holds.
My goal for today is to get to either page 200 of Mirage or finish it. 4 books in 8 days means about 2 days per book, which is totally doable, but which also means I need to get my butt into gear.
Suffice to say, I did not get my butt in gear. Rather, I started writing a secret novel, and that took up most of Monday, and then I had a busy night. A haircut followed by teaching followed by Jen coming over since she’s visiting from CA, and I did not accomplish either page 200 of Mirage or completing it. So. This is going to be interesting.
Tuesday will save me.
It almost did. I wrote some more today, but I really tried to buckle down and get some reading done. And, thankfully, I ended up finishing Mirage, my first book for the challenge. I started out kind of being meh about it. The world was interesting, but not that fleshed out, and I kept getting surprised when there would be droids or holograms because everything else had an old-world fantasy feel to it. I would have definitely liked it more if there was more space given to the description of the world.
Thus, I was kind of dragging my feet, but knew I had to definitely finish it today, so I just told myself to read 100 pages after lunch and that’s that.
Well, I read those 100 pages, and it just so happens that I fell in love somewhere in those 100 pages, because then I just decided to finish it in one fell swoop. I literally read right up to the last moment, and seconds after finishing the last page, I had to get in my car to head to Barefoot to teach. I thought there was probably no way I’d get ahead of the game, but surprise, I started reading A Conspiracy of Kings after class, and UGH IT’S SO GOOD.
No one is surprised this is my reaction. I JUST LOVE THIS STORY A LOT. And this one is another one not told through Eugenides’ eyes, but we get to see him every so often, and the narrator is trying to emulate him to give himself courage, and I’m just quietly dying over here.
LOOK AT THIS SWEET BOY I CAN’T
Right now, it’s just the narrator (not spoiling it, so not saying his name) telling his story before we get to the present moment, but I love it so much. I wouldn’t be surprised if I read most of it tomorrow. I would say maybe all of it, but that’s a lot of pages. We’ll see.
It’s the Wednesday before a holiday, and I AM PRAYING, GUYS, praying that I’ll get out of work early.
So, like, here’s the thing. Eugenides is, hands down, one of my all-time favorite characters ever. I’m a little over halfway done, which I hadn’t really intended to do this fast, but he literally kills me every time. For the first 100 or so pages, he wasn’t really even in there, and I was still just dying over him. And then, he finally arrives, and he’s still not really in it, and I am cackling every few pages because he’s such a nuisance, and I love him.
In the evening, at a tiny cookfire, looking at the climb that waited for us in the morning, the magus said thoughtfully, “That lying little monster complained about everything: the food, the horses, the blankets, the company. He even found fault with the stories I told by the fire, but I cannot recall that he ever once complained about the climbing.”
“So many things are obvious in retrospect, aren’t they?” I said.
The magus looked at me seriously, and then he smiled. “Indeed,” he said.
Like, DYING. I love the way other people talk about Gen. He’s just the most obstinate and hilarious person ever, and I adore him. Literally all of my Queen’s Thief reviews ever are just me fangirling over Gen with no end in sight.
I’ve been so bad at actually live-blogging this, which means I’m writing this on Friday instead of Wednesday, BUT I absolutely crushed A Conspiracy of Kings on Wednesday. Work was so unbelievably dead, and I had legit nothing to do—-no emails, no phone calls, no actual work—-so I just read the entire book. It definitely left me a little crosseyed and wanting to just do nothing but veg in front of YouTube when I got home, but man, I’m doing good with this challenge.
I actually read today, which I find surprising. It was a long day—-up at 6:45AM to go to the Thanksgiving class at Barefoot, and then back home around 9:30AM to get ready to leave for my aunt’s house. She lives in Fairhaven, so just under two hours of travel, and I can’t read in the car, so it was mostly just me jamming to house music in the backseat. It forever drives me insane that I can’t read in the car. I feel like I’d get SO much done on trips. But alas.
We got to Fairhaven around 11:45AM, and lunch was at 2PM. We had a really amazing time, and I’m glad we were able to go this year since we couldn’t last year. We left around 5PM, got home just before 7PM, which was good since the dogs had been alone all day, and then it was time to chill. I was going to do yoga, but my mat was in my car, and it was freezing out, so I decided to sit down and start The Shadow Queen first.
I was not looking forward to it. I just really want to read something cute and soft and gay, which means I want to read What If It’s Us because it’s just STARING AT ME ALL DAY. So I brought both books to the couch with me, decided I had to at least get 50 pages into The Shadow Queen, and then:
Guys. The amount that I’ve been missing dragons is a lot. Not only does this book have a map and a gorgeous cover, it also has dragons. And it’s in third person, which isn’t something I need to have, but I’ve just been so sick of first person fantasy lately, so I was stoked to have it in third person. I only read 100 pages before it was definitely time for bed, and I have a full day with Jen tomorrow, but hopefully I’ll get both some yoga and some reading done at night.
I went shopping on Black Friday.
Why? This is a dumb idea. My mom wanted to go to Target just for normal shopping, and we walked in to lines literally curling through the aisles and walked right back out. As I’m typing this, I’m about to leave to pick up my friend, and I have my sights set on Newbury Comics and TJ Maxx, so wish me luck. I don’t even want anything crazy. Ugh. This is a stupid day. But I did do some quick cyber shopping at Body Bible that I’m super excited about, so I guess it’s an okay day.
Long story short, I shopped, but I didn’t read. I’m not actually sure I’m going to accomplish this challenge.
Saturday was the start of the Christmas season for us!
I spent most of today busy. My dad and I always start getting ready for Christmas as soon as Thanksgiving is over, so after I taught yoga this morning, we spent the day putting up lights around the house. I also made my first ever slow cooker soup, which was super easy and delicious.
I meant to read more today, but I was so tired mentally that I just sat in front of YouTube for a couple hours and vegged. But I did get to read about 100 pages tonight, and my plan is to finish The Shadow Queen tomorrow. I don’t think that I’ll possibly get through that and all of An Ember in the Ashes, but the goal is to at least start it tomorrow. And after this readathon is done, I’m reading the heck out of a romance.
The final day: Sunday.
Alright, real talk. I’m not going to finish this readathon. I spent the morning finishing The Shadow Queen, which I freaking LOVED, but I only started An Ember in the Ashes around 9PM, and I’m writing this before I go to bed, so I only managed to read 3 books in 8 days. I’m still going to read An Ember in the Ashes next, so it’ll be in my wrap-up post for November.
But The Shadow Queen! Okay. Oh my god. Originally, I bought The Traitor Prince, not realizing it was part of a series. I actually thought it was the second, so I quickly bought The Shadow Queen, and then today, when I was marking it as finished in Goodreads, I realized that it’s the third. And while they’re all different retellings, so I could probably read them out of order, I’d really like to read them in the correct order. I’m such a dummy.
I was really hopeful, then, that this would be good since I already owned the third book in the series, and WOW IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. I was kind of feeling meh at first because, as I said above, I was in the mood for romance, and I’ve also been reading a ton of fantasy lately, but then I started reading it and GUYS
OH MY GOD
THERE ARE DRAGONS
I’m STILL flailing about this. I know that I literally posted this same reaction when I first started reading it, but it just continued to make me happy all morning. My level of excitement is unparalleled when it comes to dragons. I told my dad that I was enjoying it, and he said, “Well, it has dragons, so I don’t think you’re a good judge of character right now.”
I MEAN, HE’S NOT WRONG.
Oh man. Even beyond the dragons, the writing was excellent, the characters were great, and the PLOT. I know this is a Snow White retelling, and so I knew the basic points of the plot, but they still managed to be fantastic! I was actually rooting for the true love’s kiss to wake her at the end. Man, I just loved this so much.
Overall, this was such a fun challenge.
It was great to be able to dive back into the fantasy world, and though I am going to take a fast break for a romance (What If It’s Us), my next few books are to finish An Ember in the Ashes, start the Dark Crystal prequel trilogy of graphic novels, and then Mortal Engines and hopefully more high fantasy after that. It’s been so long since I was able to hang out in these kinds of worlds, and I’m setting my writing sights back on that kind of universe, so it’s been fantastic to dive back in.
And the maps. Is there anything better than opening a book to find it has a map in it?
Thank you to Penguin Teen for hosting the Fall Into Fantasy readathon!