I know, I’m surprised as fuck too.
There was a moment, just one little moment, when i thought that all would be for nothing. When I thought that i would fail. I was about to let Hogwarts down, no, let myself down, my HOUSE DOWN.
The stress was getting to me. Would I be able to complete my NEWTS? Would I be able to become a Hogwarts Librarian?
Well fuck the doubters BECAUSE I DID.
On a series note, i was successful in completing the NEWTS readathon and I’m super happy that I did! Today, i just wanted to talk about the books that I did read for each of the prompts and talk a little bit about them, but not too much! I don’t want this post to be too long…
I think I’ll go by each of the Subjects and the marks/prompts I needed to complete, so we’ll start with Ancient Runes.
I had to receive an Outstanding in this subject!
For an Acceptable, I had to read a book recommended by a friend. For this I read With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. I gave this the full 5 stars, but upon consideration and reflection concerning criticisms, etc., I now would rate this 4.5 stars. I loved everything about this book, the writing, the characters, the plot line! I found Emoni’s voice to be so incredibly powerful and her story so authentic and raw. We don’t have enough books representing the reality of being a teenage mum, especially being a woman of colour. I loved Acevedo’s The Poet X and this novel just proved to me that she is an automatic buy type of author for me. The only criticism I have personally would be the whole ‘Pretty Leslie’ thing? Leslie’s character was really only superficial at best, and I’m pretty sure it was implied or explicitly stated that she slept around. That sort of thing, slut-shaming etc., is not appropriate and I hate reading that sort of thing especially if it intends to define a character. I still don’t really understand the core of Leslie and Emoni’s resentment? Was it because of jealousy? I don’t remember!
For an Exceeds Expectations, I had to read a book written in the past tense. I read the Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, a book that is now one of my favourites of all time! I still don’t really know how to articulate how much this book meant to me, but it did, I read it at the perfect time and it absolutely shattered my soul. I adored it so much. A 5 out of 5 star book!
For an Outstanding, I had to read a book that was on my TBR for ages. Immediately, Akarnae by Lynette Noni popped into my head, so I read this book. This book was kind of a disappointment, unfortunately. I gave it a 3 out of 5 stars, I believe. For me, it was obvious that it was written a few years ago, 2015 to be exact, because it was just strange in how the female characters were written. The ‘iM noT LIke OtHeR GirLs, I hAtE WeaRING mAkeUp’ kind of thing and the incessant judging of other female ‘rivals’. There was a lack of character development and the plot had so many holes but I do understand that it is the first book out of a series of I think 6 or 7? I’m not too sure. It was a solid read and I would consider continuing on with the series just so those plot holes could be addressed.
I had to receive an Exceed Expectations for Defence Against the Dark Arts!
For an Acceptable, I had to read a book that was black under the dust jacket. For convenience sake, I read Death Note Black Edition, Book 2 which included volumes 3 and 4 of the series. Death Note, at the moment, is my favourite manga! It is dark, engaging, thriller-esque as well as being a sort-of crime mystery. I just freakin love the characters, the storyline, the art – everything. Though these volumes weren’t as AMAZING as the first two, I still thoroughly loved it and enjoyed reading it. I rated it a 4 stars, and I can’t wait to continue reading this series.
For an Exceeded Expectations, I had to read the first book that I just remembered from my TBR. So, confession time, I DNF’d Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi last year, if memory serves me right. I just could not get into it the first time I tried to read it. I found the main character, Zelie, to be annoying and selfish and I absolutely hated the main male character whose name escapes me. I ended up giving this book a 3.5 star rating, I believe. I did end up liking it – but more so for the world building, the culture and the history behind the world of the story. The only character I actually enjoyed reading, because I found her character development to be exceptional as well as more interesting, was Amari. Here are some dot-points concerning my thoughts immediately after I finished reading it.
Things I loved:
– the intricate details of the world, the history, the people, the animals, the culture – it was so nuanced and complex and I absolutely adored it.
– Amari. She is my QUEEN.
– Inan and his father dying at the end. Thank FUCK.
– Magic coming back! That was so beautiful.
Things I didn’t love:
-Inan. His character was so annoying. The way he would yo-yo was ridiculous. I understand it was meant to demonstrate his loyalties being challenged, etc., but honestly, he just made a very weak character.
– Zelie. Couldn’t like her; found her selfish at times. I still don’t understand why it had to be her to complete the ritual – i know a Reaper is rare but like…wasn’t made explicit
– How slow the story was. The pacing would go back and forth. I’m going to be honest, I do love me a slow build up, but I got bored I legit skimmed the last 50 pages.
– Though I loved Amari – I found that the fact that she was complict in the system of oppression and violence. But it wasn’t until she saw the violence first hand (mind you, she was okay with how her servant Binta was treated atrociously prior) when she left the palace with the scroll.
– The romance between Zel and Inan was cringe. I don’t mean that it was written in a way that made me cringe, just the fact that iNAN HAS LITERALLY BEEN ON THE FRONTLINES OF COMMITTING GENOCIDE AGAINST DIVINERS (I.E. ZEL’S PEOPLE) but he is still a viable romanctic interest??? seriously????? serRIOUSLY?
The reason I gave it 3.5 stars is because the world building and the writing was so fantastic. just the characters and some character-decisions was were this story lacked for me.
My last subject!
For an Acceptable in History of Magic, I had to read a fantasy book. I finally FINALLY read The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. Now, this book had me confused IN MY FEELINGS. On one hand, it kept me engaged enough that I flew through it. On the other hand, I don’t really know if I like the characters – or if I’m supposed to not really like them? Are they written as semi-unlikeable characters? Jude was interesting but I’ve read her character before – in that, she is not a very original sort of characterisation. She reminded me of Feyre from A Court of Thorns of Roses by Sarah J. Mass – and that most likely is a controversial opinion and I’m sorry! I continued reading it mostly to see if there was any character development slash plot development. But there wasn’t for both aspects? I know that this is the first in the series and I will definitely be picking up the rest of the series because I was expecting more political masterminding and manipulation than was given. Also, how can a healthy relationship eventuate with Jude and Cardan since Cardan legitimately treated Jude like utter shit?? How does one fall in love with such a man? There is only so much that excuses such volatile and quite frankly, pathetic behaviour. Learn how to process emotions properly, and I know that there was the scene with Cardan’s brother that attempted to answer part of the question surrounding why Cardan acted the way he did, but like, he recognises that how he treats people is not the best. Healthy relationship representation please! We get it, Cardan is Fae and decidedly not human but not being an abusive asshole concerns all species thank you very much. Honestly, I think my expectations were too high as well as Cardan being the cruel in ‘cruel prince’ a little too literally that was the problem! I ended up rating it 4 out of 5 stars.
For an Exceeds Expectations, I had to read a book that includes a map. I read Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim and I’m so happy I did! This was a relatively new release when I read it, and I have been anticipating this book ever since I saw people talking about it on twitter earlier this year! I ended up rating this 4 stars. It was a great read with really good characters and such an interesting premise, but the latter half of the book just fell flat. I think it was doing too much at once – I would have loved if the ‘trial’ aspect of the plot was explored more and not passed so quickly. I would also have to say this in regards to the relationship between the main female and male character as it felt like it jumped from ‘acquaintances’ to ‘I want to spend the rest of my life with you’ quite fast? It went from trial to adventure really quickly with both aspects being somewhat important to the overall plot and was actually the plot in itself that it was over quite quickly. I will be definitely continuing the series though, because I honestly want to see how it grows as a series in terms of the plot, writing, and characters.
I also, for shits and giggles, read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the Outstanding prompt, which required me to re-read a favourite. It was fun, cozy and had a great time re-reading it. I think I’ve mentioned that I am planning on reading a Harry Potter book every month – so I still need to read one for this September!
I feel like I’ve been writing this for weeks! That’s it for today, my friends! I am now a Librarian and you can find me at Hogwarts Library telling students off for being too loud..or trying to sneak a book out of the Forbidden section! Did you participate in the NEWTS? If so, what occupation did you do? Let me know!
Until next time, happy reading!
All the love,