The #IronTomeAThon: or, Read All The Fantasy!

Posted 5th July 2019 by Siavahda in Lists, Reading Challenges / 0 Comments

So it is probably an abominably bad idea, but what the hell, this sounds like a lot of fun and I need motivation!

The #Iron TomeAThon is a readerthon running throughout July, hosted by Aimal of Bookshelves and Paperbacks over here. The goal is to read adult fantasy books – no YA! – with points earned for every page read. So a 300 page book is 300 points!

There are also Song of Ice and Fire-themed prompts – basically a kind of optional reading bingo – and you can declare yourself as belonging to one or another of the Houses of Westeros. I’m excited to get reading and I’ve already had fun coming up with books that fulfil the different prompts!

So! I hereby declare myself for House Targaryen, and present my tbr list!

Look, I’m not a fan of the books or show, but this shot? Someone needs to get an award for this shot.

The Challenges

Castle Black: read the group book

The group book is Kuang’s Poppy War, which I had a rough time reading last year. Depending on how I feel later in the month I may give it a try, but as of this writing I don’t intend to reread it.

Winterfell: read a book set (partially or fully) in a cold environment…

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente (Leningrad Diptych #1)

This isn’t the book I intended to begin with, but I’ve been determined to do a Valente re-read for a while, and this seems like a good opportunity to kickstart that. Deathless is a retelling of Russian mythology set in WW2, and, well…is it even possible to tell a Russian story without also telling a winter story? I definitely remember a lot of ice, snow, and general cold in this one.

King’s Landing: read a book about or involving royalty, politics, or government…

The Red-Stained Wings by Elizabeth Bear (Lotus Kingdoms #2)

The previous book in this series ended with one queen a captive, another desperately trying to protect her kingdom, and a royal heir also taken prisoner, all because the Bad Guys are determined to make all the little splinter Lotus Kingdoms into a single entity again. I think that means this qualifies!

Sunspear: read a book inspired by a non-Western setting or a book by an author of color or an indigenous author…

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James (Dark Star Trilogy #1)

This was hailed as ‘an African Game of Thrones’ pre-release, so it seems almost ironically appropriate to dig into it for this challenge. Besides, it’s about time I gave it a proper go!

Oldtown: read a book about or involving an institution of knowledge or training…

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Both the eponymous Priory, and the training academy/program for dragonriders in this book, qualify this one. I suspect this challenge was aimed more at magic-school style stories, but the only one I have ready to read (which isn’t YA) is Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey… And while I do want to read that, Priory of the Orange Tree is a book I’ve been waiting years for. I have a signed copy on my bookshelf. It’s more than time to sit down and read it.

Valyria: read a book about or involving dragons…

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons (A Chorus of Dragons #1)

Dragon on the cover. Dragon in the series name. I know for a fact there’s the Old Man dragon who’s obsessed with the main character…because I have in fact started this book already. However, I’m going to be starting it again from the beginning for this challenge – I’ve taken so long to get as far as I have that honestly, I need to restart it anyway; there’s been so many interruptions that I don’t remember all the names and important pieces of the plot when I do pick it up. So. Time for take #2!

Asshai: read a dark/grimdark fantasy or urban fantasy…

Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear (Promethean Age #1)

I first read this book years ago, when I was 18. The last book in the series, though, went out of print the day before I finished the penultimate book! Heartbreaking! But Gollancz is republishing the series; books one and two, Blood and Iron and Whiskey and Water, have been rereleased, and the rest of them will be coming out over the next few months. I’ve been dying for a reread, and since Blood and Iron is a wonderful take on urban fantasy, this is the perfect opportunity to get started!

Personal Bonus Book

Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel’s Universe #1)

I also intend to read Kushiel’s Dart – it’s another book I’ve been meaning to reread, and I was inspired and tickled by Aimal’s suggestion of books that could qualify for multiple challenges. Kushiel’s Dart fulfils the requirements for Winterfell, King’s Landing, and Oldtown; some would argue it also works for Asshai, since I’ve seen it called dark fantasy. In fact, according to the Namaah trilogy (books 7-9 of the Kushiel Universe), dragons exist in this verse – which means it qualifies for Valyria too! (Since Aimal specifically says, of the Valyria challenge, that ‘Dragons do not have to be essential to the plot or world, but they must exist in the world.’)

Well, they do. So I guess technically I’d only have to read the one book to fulfil all but one of the challenges! But like I said, I’m excited to tackle all the others listed.

That’s an awful lot of pages, and I’m pretty sure I’m not going to complete them all… BUT HELL YEAH. LET’S DO THIS!

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