My journey along the Novice Path was a success! 😀 But it wasn’t without obstacles. Let’s see how I did on the journey.
The Magical Readathon is a monthlong readathon created by G, a booktuber, that was once inspired by the Harry Potter books. G updated the readathon by creating her own world and lore for it. The Novice Path is the first part of the readathon. For more details, check my first post about the readathon.
G provided a map for the Novice Path that has landmarks along it where characters face decisions that determine which guild at Orilium Academy their character will enter. I’ve included my choices and guild results in the review of my progress along the Novice Path below.
(Quick warning that this is a long post because I got a bit excited about the storytelling part of it).
Looking Back on My Novice Path Journey
My journey along the Novice Path got off on a rocky start. I rushed to cobble together my TBR because I didn’t realize the readathon was soon to start and was hoping to read for it books that I was already intending to start in October, which sort of worked for me but kinda didn’t.
Novice Path Entrance: Read a book with a map.
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (ASOIF, book 3)
This was one of the options I listed for this category, but I failed to complete it in time. Actually, my reading progress on it has been surprisingly slow despite my high interest. So, since I rushed to start the readathon and all, let’s just imagine that my character also rushed to begin her journey along the Novice Path and left her map at home. Her journey along the Novice Path will be as iffy as my progress with the readathon was.
Day 1 — My journey to Orilium begins…
…with me forgetting the damn map at home! Ugh! Angry at myself, I begin my Novice Path journey with much anxiety. My plan is to make friends along the way with folks who are hopefully heading in the same direction as I am.
Ashthorn Tree: A book that keeps tempting you (or top of your TBR)
The Park Bench by Christophe Chaboute (illus.), transl. by Ivanka Hahnenberger
It’s a silent graphic novel (no words) focused on a park bench that shows us the people and animals who use it, how they use it, and what happens to and around the bench over the years. I’ve wanted to read it for some time now but of the choices on my TBR, I was hoping to read Under the Pendulum Sun since it’s been on my Books I MUST Read list for several years now.
Day 4 — Luckily, someone has a map.
The group I’m travelling with is lively and friendly and seems to be heading in the right direction since we made it to the Ashthorn Tree, which I remember being a landmark on the map. I was mesmerized by it, but the weird whispers coming from it made me wary about venturing closer (although I really wanted to touch it). Curious about the runes and symbols on the trunk, I jotted some down on a piece of parchment to look up when I (hopefully) get to Orilium.
Mist of Solitude: Read a standalone.
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
It’s a fantasy-romance novel set in a world similar to the Victorian time. It’s about a young woman who has telekinesis being presented to society to find a husband. While at a party, she meets a famous magician she greatly admires (and has a crush on) who decides to court her and help her with her abilities. What she doesn’t realize is that the magician is back in town to rekindle an affair with the woman he loves. The story is slow-paced and not one I’d typically read. I was tempted to DNF it at first, but one night, I don’t know what happened but I was unable to put down the book and stayed up all night reading it.
A few days later — Lost track of time because it flies when I’m having fun.
My group was having a grand time. We all got along and love a good party. We were probably too noisy at times, which was reckless because who knows what dangers are along this path, but we were having too much fun to worry about threats, especially when we were all around the fire at night playing music, dancing, and sharing stories. Even the quiet Iltirian dude would sometimes join in for a moment, although he would quickly disappear afterward.
Unfortunately, I lost my group in the Mist of Solitude. We all began experiencing hallucinations of our greatest fear the further we ventured into the mist. And although we tried to stay together, our hallucinations led us astray. I was nearly overcome by my fear (unable to party for an eternity — just kidding! I was chased by a monkey riding a rabbit that shot snakes at me) but luckily I was able to gather my strength and conjure a Dust Devil to clear the mist around me and help me pass. I even bumped into the Iltirian dude, who was just standing there staring at nothing. When I cleared the air around him, he told me he was ACTUALLY analyzing his fear and his reaction to the mist. What?! Who’s able to analyze stuff while scared out their mind?! Apparently Silverin can.
Ruin of the Skye: Read a book featuring ghosts/haunted house or other supernatural elements.
Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu by Junji Ito (illus.), transl. by Stephen Paul
I messed up here. I left this one last and wanted to read something quick for it but deviated from my TBR (because I really wanted to read a Junji Ito book) and picked up Junji Ito’s Cat Diary assuming it would be scary because the cover has scary-looking cats and it’s by Junji Ito, who writes horror. But I was way off in the opposite direction because it’s a humorous memoir about Ito becoming a cat person when his then-fiancé (now wife) brought a cat with a scary face and a skull on its back (lol) home.
Progress: Umm… Complete?
12 days later — Lost
I don’t have a map. Silverin has a map but he sucks at reading maps and it’s in a language I can’t read with ruins and glyphs I don’t understand. Even the landmasses on it look odd. I wonder if it’s even a map. We made so many wrong turns before eventually arriving at the Ruin of the Skye that I wondered if we’d walk around in circles forever. We saw no one along the way (are they still in the Mist of Solitude?), but Silverin is great company, especially when in a sticky situation with a malicious sprite. The dude is quiet but a comedian — he just doesn’t know it.
The Ruin of the Skye was A-mazing! It’s one of the most incredible places I’ve ever seen because magic mingles with nature there. The gardens are breathtaking (almost literally because I was out of breath from all the walking), and Silverin and I both left tributes at one of the shrines. I left a bracelet with a little sapphire my sister gave me when we were little and Silverin left a scroll that he said is special. (I bet it’s the actual map because the markings looked familiar, but he quickly rolled it up before I could see much.)
I’m in love with this place. And, oh! The astronomy murals!! My elvish senses went all tingly just looking at them. I wanted to stay awhile to copy them down, but Silverin urged that we move on since he was unable to detect the intentions of the oddly acting hooded figure in the shadows of the ruins when he tried to “subtly slip near their conscious mind.” I didn’t notice any weird figures around and was planning to plop down and get to drawing, but Silverin was persistent. Also… can he read my mind? Has he “subtly slipped near my conscious mind”?
Obsidian Falls: Read a thriller or a mystery book.
Assassin Nation, Vol. 1: Number One With a Bullet by Kyle Starks, illus. by Erica Henderson
I went off course here and read a comic book that was not included on my TBR for this readathon. I read the first issue of Assassin Nation last year but wasn’t impressed by it. However, it stuck around in my thoughts until I finally gave in and read it. It’s a bit of a mystery about a retired assassin who hires the top 20 assassins in the world to protect him from someone trying to kill him. It was okay but had a bit of a juvenile tone to it, I guess. I’d recommend it for teenage audiences. I liked the art.
A week later — Party at the falls!! 😄🤪🙃🥴😷😭
On our way from the Ruin of the Skye, Silverin and I bumped into a few travelers from our group and thank the gods for that because we were heading in the wrong direction AGAIN. Thankfully, they had a map that we can all read. We made it to Obsidian Falls around twilight and were able to observe the waters of the magnificent falls go from pitch black to luminescent in the moonlight.
We settled down for the night and were intending to post a watch and turn in early, but someone popped out some muckleberry wine, so we had a party instead, singing and dancing and drinking. (I forgot what we were celebrating.) The muckleberry wine was strong and tasty — even Silverin joined in. Well… I dragged him into all the crazy line-dancing we did and doused him in muckleberry wine to stop him worrying about why it was so potent and wanting to check some scrolls he had about it. But what kind of friend would I be to allow him to start studying BEFORE we get to Orilium?!
Well, I should have let Silverin look up the effects of potent muckleberry wine because we were all hurling our guts out in the morning. One of the group members realized we were all exhibiting symptoms of poisoning, but the symptoms were progressing too quickly for us to cobble together a plan. I did the best I could, channeling restorative magic to slowly draw out the poison from my body. It was slow and painful and torturous. Silverin, on the other hand, popped up looking well and healthy (which I was both glad for and annoyed by). Apparently, he’d folded time and jumped to just before the poisoning. Thankfully, doing so now enabled him to help others in the group. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to catch who poisoned us, although he spent some time chasing someone who looked like the figure he saw back at the Ruins of the Skye. We spent that day resting and wondering who brought the muckleberry wine (was it the figure Silverin chased?). And, more importantly, what IS muckleberry wine?!
Sadly, I won’t be able to think of the beautiful Obsidian Falls without cringing in pain and feeling to puke my guts out.
Tower of Rumination: Read a five-star prediction.
The Tea Dragon Tapestry by Kay O’Neill (illus.)
Here’s one I got right. I actually read the book I intended to read for this category! But it wasn’t a 5-star read for me. Or maybe it is… I gave it 4.5 stars and am still trying to make up my mind. It’s the third book in the Tea Dragon series, which is a middle grade fantasy series about a community of people who care for tea dragons — miniature dragons (about the size of a chicken) that grow tea leaves from their horns. I enjoyed the story and loved the illustrations. With this one, I wasn’t too fond of the flow of dialogue at first, but I was probably just being too picky.
I have no idea how long it’s been but — Party train to Orilium! Wooo!!!
You would think our bout of poisoning from partying and drinking too much suspicious muckleberry wine would slow us down (it didn’t) or make us more cautious (nope) or drink and party less (definitely not). Although we are all eager to make it to Orilium, we (except Silverin) realize it will require intense studying, so we’ll party it up until we get there — and I’ll make sure Silverin gets lots of partying in too before magic school starts. It is my job as a best friend to ensure this.
Well, we made it to the Tower of Rumination a week later (according to Silverin) a bit drunk and high on life (according to me). And, wow! It’s the most chaotic place I’ve ever been. The chaos there surpasses that of the largest cities in Kerador. I… was at a loss for words, but of course we were each invited into the famous Favor Chamber and were able to make the choice that would determine the course of the rest of our lives… at Orilium Academy.
Of course, I chose the Scroll of Lore because if there’s one thing I love, it’s finding out what happened and linking clues to find out what will happen. Or maybe I’m just nosy, haha! I lost Silverin in all the chaos and activity at the tower, but I caught up with him as we were leaving. He told me that he chose the Scroll of Illusions but have yet to unroll and read it (I IMMEDIATELY and carefully opened mine) because it’s a scroll of knowledge and priceless and a thing to be honored and on and on he went until I opened the damn thing for him.
Orilium Academy Arc: Book with a school setting
Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (Keeper of Lost Cities, book 1)
Another success here because I read what I intended to read for this category. Keeper of the Lost Cities is middle grade fantasy about a girl who learns that she’s actually an elf and must leave her human family to live in the elvish world. It was a fun read that held my interest, but I had some problems with it.
3 days later — We make it to Orilium.
We made it to the Orilium Arc! Thank heavens! We entered and was transported to the floating city, where we quickly ran into the rest of the group we lost in the Mist of Solitude. I’m so happy they’re okay. Of course, we immediately decided to celebrate our achievement and made a beeline for the nearest lively tavern. Silverin wanted to go sight-seeing, but I dragged him along because there’ll be plenty of time to sightsee later but party time is limited when one is facing intense years of study.
On our way, several crows tried to attack us — well, so I thought. Turns out they were messenger crows delivering invitations to Orilium’s guilds. Ha! Silly me. I was ducking and weaving through people with a crow chasing after me until Silverin caught up to explain.
Well, I’m happy to announce that I was invited to join the
I’m overjoyed to be invited to their guild and may have overdone my celebration by drinking too much elvish wine and then hopping up on the bar to sing along with a bard who’ll also be joining the Archivist guild.
Silverin was invited to join the Mind Walkers guild, which he was excited about and attempted to celebrate in his quiet way. But, being the great party friend that I am, I told everyone in the tavern and we all had a drink and a song in his honor, which he was happy for but made him retreat even more into a shadowy corner of the tavern. I think he’s shy and I may have overdone it. Hmm…
Well, I’ll continue celebrating loudly for both of us! 😊
More snapshots from my journey —
Here I am at the harbor determined to conquer the Novice Path despite missing my map.
Here’s Silverin when I told him he’ll have to party his way to Orilium. He didn’t believe me. (Ha!):
I just realized our clothing match. See, it was fated that we’d become besties! 🤣