Wrap-Up: The One Readathon To Rule Them All Round 2 #theonereadathon

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This is my wrap-up of the second round of The One Readathon, a fantasy Readathon that happened from November 17 to December 1. The original announcement video from Don’t Have a Degree in Reading with all challenges and rules is linked here. And if you want to see, this is my previous TBR for this Round 2

I took a bit longer through the “Route 4” which was “Nomadic Traveler”. In which, as it says in the original video, “you may pick as many (or as little) of the challenges from below as you want. You are in charge of this route but remember…you must get the Ring to Mordor!”

I did most of the challenges without using any book for more than one challenge, so it took me a while to go through my long TBR pile. I was gladly taking my time because I consider two weeks way too short for so many awesome challenges. I think that “The One Readathon” would fit really well in a three months reading challenge, so I went someplace in between and took a whole month.

I also decided to choose other books for a couple of challenges along the way. Therefore, the books from my previously planned list that are yet unread will be postponed to 2019.

Fortunately, most books I picked were 5 star reads for me. I am lately enjoying young adult books very often when I’m looking for a lighter read after a long day. And many of the books, for example, The Tearling Trilogy, that I initially considered young adult went far beyond that genre to plunge into an original fantasy, dystopia and science fiction blend that I really cherished and became one of my favorite reads of this year.

As it always happens when you read a bunch of books, a couple of the books I chose were not really for me, not due to them being essentially bad, but because I considered their writing style tiring or they weren’t what I expected when I started reading them. I’m often too tired to go on reading a book that can’t hold my interest, so I didn’t finish or skipped pages of three of the books in this list.

The only challenges I didn’t have time to complete were the Shire, Moria, and Lorien, but this was all right since you didn’t have to do all the challenges for the readathon and I managed to complete the rest of them.

So, without further considerations, here are the challenges I completed and the books I’ve read:

BREE

Read a fantasy book set in a non-European influenced setting.
I decided to read The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1) by S.A. Chakraborty for this challenge.
Review – 5 Stars!
Awesome story world with Ifrits, Ghouls, Marids, Peri, Djinn and multi-layered characters. I’m following this series for sure.

FANGORN FOREST

Read a fantasy book with magical/supernatural creatures
For this I read The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories by Mahvesh Murad (Editor), Jared Shurin & others
Review – No rating, because I set this anthology aside for now, after reading around five stories, mainly because I expected a fantasy anthology when I started reading this and, true, all stories have fantastic elements, but apart from this they are a mixture of genres. Therefore, I’ll read this when I feel like reading literary, slice-of-life, or magical realism short stories.

RIVENDELL

Read a fantasy book with LGBTQIA+ rep (author/MC/POV)
I changed my mind an picked Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill, for this challenge.
Review – 5 Stars! This graphic novel has a heart warming story with cute illustrations and an environmental message. It deals with so many important themes; loss, sustainable use of natural resources, different ways of being feminine and strong… All in a way a child can understand and relate with. Light, lovely and powerful.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Oni Press for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

ISENGARD

Read a fantasy book with a villain MC/POV (morally grey MC/POV is acceptable!).
The villain MC/POV book I chose was Grendel by John Gardner.
Review – 2 stars. This is original and well-written, therefore the two stars. Subjectively, I considered the monologue quite long, and skipped some pages in between, but the tragic character had an interesting voice.

HELM’S DEEP

Read a fantasy book that is a standalone.
I read The Goblin Emperor (The Goblin Emperor #1) by Katherine Addison
Review: 1 star. This is so hyped but I really can’t see what’s that all about… The story reminded me faintly of “The Queen of the Tearling” by Erika Johansen. However, the stakes and the tension of the previously mentioned book were not present at all. The main character had way too long time to think, meditate and especially complain about life, to a point that I stopped caring completely. After reading 110 pages without much happening I read the end only to see that few concrete things had really happened and the story would continue on a next book.
Apart from this, the writing style with the pronouns and the words exclusive to the story were extremely jarring.

ROHAN

Read a fantasy book w/ a female MC.
I decided to finish a young adult fantasy series, by hearing the audiobook of A Sorrow Fierce and Falling (Kingdom on Fire #3) by Jessica Cluess (Author), Fiona Hardingham (Narrator).
Review: 5 Stars!
This series isn’t nearly as much hyped as it should be. It is an awesome series, with multi-layered characters that are unique and has so many awesome plot twists.
It is also original and many levels above most YA series I’ve read. It has a rich fantasy and historical world and one of the best heroines I’ve found since… Ever. I would recommend this series to anyone who likes fantasy with a strong female character and complex side characters as well.
I heard this whole series as Audiobooks and the performance from Fiona Hardingham was awesome too.

GONDOR

Read a fantasy book w/ POC rep (author/MC/POV)
I changed my mind and, instead of the book I had chosen before, I decided to read two graphic novels with POC characters for this challenge:

1) Afar by Leila del Duca, Kit Seaton (Illustrator)
Review – 5 Stars!
Very interesting, a graphic novel with astral travelling? I’m all for it!

2) Sleepless, Vol. 1 (Sleepless #1-6) by Sarah Vaughn, Leila del Duca (Artist), Alissa Sallah (Colorist), Deron Bennett (Letterer)
Review – 4 Stars.
*Spoiler Alert* This was very interesting even if a bit slow-paced, you will probably get answers only in the next books, but this happens often in graphic novel series. On a personal note, the whole sleepless thing didn’t make much sense for me, if the sleepless defenders would get some magical abilities for all the lack of sleep, it would have made sense, but as it was it looked only like a silly idea (perhaps I just didn’t understand it well enough). In any case I’ll be following this series further on.

MINAS TIRITH

Read a fantasy book
I picked Sapphire Blue “Saphirblau (Edelstein-Trilogie #2)” by Kerstin Gier for this challenge.
Review – 5 Stars! Kerstin Gier is my new favorite young adult author even if I don’t read her books in their original language, German. I may try it though sometime with “Die Mütter-Mafia” books.
The story is told in a light and humorous way that makes it a real treat for a relaxing afternoon. I also like the tension created by the time-travel plot and multi-layered characters.

MORDOR

Read the conclusion to a fantasy series (standalones count) or the most recent installment of a series.
For this final challenge, I read the last book of the Queen of the Tearling series,
The Fate of the Tearling (The Tearling Trilogy) by Erika Johansen
Review – 5 Stars! This was original and awesome fantasy/sci-fi!
I recommend this book if you like books with amazing plot twists, well-written POVs (you end up caring so much for secondary characters like a jailer with a disability and a gate guard!), and multi-layered characters. The whole trilogy was awesome and Erika Johansen is an author I’ll keep in my radar for sure!

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