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My Year in Books (and Owls) 2020

Burrowing Owl Books

Burrowing Owl Books

Now that we have settled into 2021, I’m going to be looking back at the books – all 63 of them – I read in 2020.

I think we can all agree that 2020 was a crappy year, with more and more crap shoved down on top of it nearly every week. But if you’re reading this, you survived it – or you’re spending your afterlife in a very dull way – so you can give it the finger and hope 2021 will be better. That’s what I’m doing.

But you know what was good about the past year?

Lots of time for reading! You gotta look on the bright side of being stuck at home for months on end with only a tiny, grumpy owl for company. So here you have Artemis the Owl presenting each book, with my brief thoughts on each of them.

If you just want a gallery of Bookish Owl photos, scroll straight ahead to the bottom of the post!

Books 2020


Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising
by Leigh Bardugo

This was the last book in the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, and I thought it was a great way to end the story. Though there was plenty of excitement all the way through, the author still managed to wrap everything up nicely and I was left with a great respect for even minor characters. I’m glad the trilogy is part of the larger Grishaverse, because I’m definitely up for more stories in this world.


The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett

The Shepherd’s Crown
by Terry Pratchett

This was the last book in the Discworld series, and neither this post nor last year’s make any attempt at hiding my love for this series, so I read this with a certain sense of melancholy. Most of the book’s plot even felt like a goodbye, with the death of Granny Weatherwax being a central point.
The Shepherd’s Crown wasn’t particular good by the (admittedly sky-high) standard of Discworld books, but it felt like a suitable end to the series.


The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman

The Lost Plot
by Genevieve Cogman

Gangsters and dragons. What’s not to like?


The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The Colour of Magic
by Terry Pratchett

I needed something light after a rough start to the year, so I went with a re-reread of the first book in the Discworld series. It has absolutely no plot, but lots of insanity and humor, so it’s my go-to book when I need a break from books that are either too gloomy or that force me to actually think.


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone OwlHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
by J. K. Rowling

It’s been years since I last reread the Harry Potter books, and let’s be honest: it’s a little ridiculous that I have had my owl pose next to books for more than a year without doing Harry Potter. Talk about missed opportunities, huh?

 


The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchet

The Light Fantastic
by Terry Pratchett

The continuation of The Colour of Magic. Still has nearly no plot, but it has Cohen the Barbarian – the eighty-seven year old barbarian hero with arthritis – and that’s worth any number of rereads.


Baking Bad by Kim M. WattBaking Bad
by Kim M. Watt

This was delightfully weird. It read like an episode of Midsomer Murders, but suddenly people are talking about dragons like it’s completely normal.
Oh, and all the talk of scones made me awfully hungry…


Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Sourcery
by Terry Pratchett

The Discworld + All out wizard war. Throw in the Luggage exterminating every unfortunate lifeform it comes across because it’s pissed, and you got all the weirdness you could possibly ask for.


Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J. K. Rowling

I had forgotten quite how awful Gilderoy Lockhart is… And honestly, it was a relief when Colin Creevey got Petrified. I know I should have saved my wrath for Umbridge in book five, but I kept thinking that if I had the power to magically curse someone and a kid kept following me around and taking pictures of me without my permission, I would have ended up in jail very quickly.


Eric by Terry Pratchett

Eric
by Terry Pratchett

This book was another reread in my hunt for mindless stupidity to entertain myself. Discworld books about the wizard Rincewind are always good for some of that. In this one he accidentally gets summoned by a kid who thinks he (Rincewind) is a demon.
That’s it. That’s basically the whole plot.


The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House
by Shirley Jackson

Not sure what I think about this book. I read it because I absolutely loved the Netflix horror show loosely based on it, and while I liked the book well enough it suffers from the same problem as many other old classics (this one is more than 60 years old) – namely that most of the story seems to be told between the lines. You know, the kind of story you had to analyze in high school for hours to figure out what it’s actually saying?
I liked how the book was about Eleanor losing her grip on reality in Hill House, but I just wished there had been a bit more focus on the horror part, that is, the things that drove her insane.


Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

Equal Rites
by Terry Pratchett

Yet another Discworld reread (we don’t have that many more to go, I promise). This one is about witches, wizards, gender roles, and of course, horrible monsters from another dimension.
It also has Granny Weatherwax, who, in the eyes of the wizards of Unseen University, might very well be both a witch and a horrible monster from another dimension…


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban owl

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
by J. K. Rowling

I think I might be getting too old for these books. My thought processes are beginning to sound like Mrs Weasley. These kids are totally irresponsible, but even worse: what kind of headmaster urges thirteen year old kids to go back in time, dodge a rabid werewolf, steal a hippogrif out from under the noses of law enforcement, just so they can fly around to save a convicted murderer from soul-eating monsters?
Why don’t you do it yourself, you crazy old bat?!


Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett

Lords and Ladies
by Terry Pratchett

I know, I know, another Discworld book, but this one has Granny Weatherwax and Archchancellor Ridcully reminiscing about their past romance (I ship those two so hard), Nanny Ogg being Nanny Ogg, and Magrat suddenly becoming super badass and killing elves left and right, and scaring the shit out of poor Shawn.


Alanna by Tamora Pierce

Alanna
by Tamora Pierce

A friend recommended this to me, since she thought I might enjoy a book about a girl who dresses up as a boy to become a knight.
I did.
It’s a short and entertaining read with likable characters and a simple story, and that’s something I think the high fantasy genre needs a bit more of. It doesn’t all have to be huge sagas with enough storylines to make your head spin (though I do like those as well).


Maskerade by Terry Pratchett

Maskerade
by Terry Pratchett

I reread this because I adore Agnes/Perdita, and of course, Granny Weatherwax bossing everybody around.
It also makes me realize that I should really read/watch The Phantom of the Opera sometime…


In the Hands of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce

In the Hand of the Goddess
by Tamora Pierce

The second book in the Song of the Lioness Quartet, the sequel to Alanna, and just as enjoyable.
It’s so nice to read a book about a teenage girl falling in love and then not letting it rule her life decisions. The reason I avoided YA books with female leads for years was because I was getting fed up with the protagonists falling in love with some boy and then suddenly the whole book was about how they couldn’t live without them and nothing else in life mattered.
There’s only so much of that I can take.


Soul Music by Terry Pratchett

Soul Music
by Terry Pratchett

This isn’t my favorite Discworld book, since I consider the rock music plotline a bit lame, but it was worth the reread because of the scenes with Susan and Ridcully.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
by J. K. Rowling

Someone needs to slap Ron in this book, but otherwise it’s great. Well… except from the fact that Cedric, the Hufflepuffest Hufflepuff there ever was, didn’t deserve being cannon fodder.
I finished this with the knowledge that I was now getting to the point in the series where every book would leave me depressed and teary-eyed…


Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett

Interesting Times
by Terry Pratchett

I reread this Discworld book for Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde. There’s just something about a group of old men wreaking havoc and creating terror wherever they go that gives me hope for my retirement.


The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter
by Theodora Goss

I really enjoyed this. It’s an entertaining book that pays tribute to all the classics I used to read as a child – Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dracula…
Yes, I might have been an odd child.
The writing style was a little weird, but once you get used to the ‘author’ and characters injecting comments every once in a while, it works just fine.


The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
by Tamora Pierce

I did not like this one as much as the first two books in the series, but it was still a good read. Jonathan is being a right asshole in this one, so I’m glad Alanna dumped his ass and got on with her life (for now). The book could have used a bit more plot, but it was entertaining nonetheless.


The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman

The Mortal Word
by Genevieve Cogman

I was getting a little tired of this series by the time I reached this book, but it turned out to be fairly good. It’s possible it’s because the overall plot was similar to the book I myself was writing at the time, and I very much like kicking back with a book and calling it research, but no matter what, I enjoyed it. We got an insidious plot in the middle of a peace treaty negotiation between dragons and Fae, multiple suspects, and everyone having their own agenda.
Always nice with a healthy dose of secrets and drama.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
by J. K. Rowling

I had forgotten just how utterly creepy the scenes in the Department of Mysteries were. Water tanks with floating brains and Death Eaters with baby heads… Funny to think that this started out as a series of children’s books, considering I’m this creeped out reading this book as an adult.

I was, however, much better prepared for Umbridge. I remember how completely awful I found her as a kid, but rereading the book now, she’s honestly just a more extreme version of the various bosses and politicians you’re faced with as an adult. It’s hard to be amazed by how far the Ministry of Magic is willing to go once you have dealt with today’s political scene for a few years.

On a less gloomy note: Professor McGonagall was this book’s total MVP and I loved every single scene with her.


King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

King of Scars
by Leigh Bardugo

Part of the Grishaverse where I loved the original trilogy. This one followed some of the supporting characters and it was really interesting to get inside their heads. I especially loved Zoya, a character way too complex to understand from the outside. She’s still a total bitch when you get inside her head, but it starts to make sense why she is that way and you also see the side of her that fights so very hard to protect her country and the people under her command.

I was a bit miffed to discover it was a duology and that I had to wait for the next book…


Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce

Lioness Rampant
by Tamora Pierce

This book, the last in the Lioness Quartet, had a lot of potential, but I felt like all of it fell flat. In my opinion, there should have been a LOT more focus on Roger and his schemes, but all the important parts felt very rushed.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Owl

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
by J. K. Rowling

After more than a decade of obsessing over this series, I could appreciate this book much more when rereading it. There’s so many great little details that you won’t notice before you have read the last book.
However, I still hadn’t completely learned my lesson: During the scene with Dumbledore’s funeral I had to repeat “He’s an asshole, he’s an asshole, he’s an asshole” in my head to keep from getting all sad and teary-eyed…


Nation by Terry Pratchett

Nation
by Terry Pratchett

I turned to a Terry Pratchett book because I needed to laugh, but instead I got a book that started out with the main character going around and burying everyone he knew after a natural disaster.
Don’t get me wrong, Nation is a very deep and enjoyable book. It just wasn’t what I expected!


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J. K. Rowling

We all know this book is fairly depressing, right?
Right.
So I’m just going to focus on how great the Battle of Hogwarts is if you don’t take all the deaths into account.
The real badasses just don’t get enough credit. Neville literally went from an utterly useless and clumsy boy to the leader of an all-out rebellion against the Death Eaters. Elderly, stern Professor McGonagall enchanted a whole army of desks and led them into war while yelling “Charge!” (and I so need fanart of that…). Professor Sprout didn’t hesitate for a second when told she would need to fight, just rushing off to get every dangerous plant she could think of. Even Trelawney went berserker and cracked heads open by throwing crystal balls at them.
Screw Harry, Ron and Hermione. They wouldn’t have lasted a second against the pissed-off elderly women of Hogwarts.


An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes
by Sabaa Tahir

This was a new author to me and I enjoyed the book. The romantic relationships between the characters seemed a bit juvenile when compared to the dark themes of the story and the situation the characters found themselves in, but not so much that I felt it distracted from the rest of the book.


Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

Pyramids
by Terry Pratchett

This was another reread and not one of my favorites, but I was running out of books at this point and I decided to go for a full set of Discworld book photos.
It does have its bright spots, though – Teppic getting ready for his Assassin exam and then promptly falling over from the weight of all his hidden weapons is hilarious. Also his prophetic dreams: “There was seven fat cows and seven thin cows. One of them was playing the trombone.”


Arthas by Christie Golden

Arthas
by Christie Golden

This was a novel tie-in to Warcraft 3/World of Warcraft, telling the story about how Arthas Menethil, Prince of Lordaeron, ended up becoming the Lich King, leader of an undead army trying to wipe out all life on Azeroth.
I have read it before, many, many years ago, but it was a nice revisit to one of the central stories from a game franchise I have played since I was 10 years old.


City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass
by S. A. Chakraborty

This book had great characters and a fascinating world with a rich history, but for some reason it took me 300 pages to really get into it. However, once I hit that mark, it suddenly got insanely exciting and the cliffhanger at the end meant I had to go out and buy the next book.


Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Moving Pictures
by Terry Pratchett

This has always been my least favorite Discworld book, but I did like it slightly better upon rereading it. However, it would have been improved greatly by more wizard scenes.
The mental image of most of Unseen University’s faculty clinging to Windle Poon’s racing wheelchair while screaming their heads off is just great.


Dragon Age The Stolen Throne

Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne
by David Gaider

This was a novel prequel to one of my all-time favorite games, Dragon Age: Origins. And it follows Prince Maric, the father of my all-time favorite character, Alistair, during his rebellion against the Orlesian usurper of the Fereldan throne. You also see a lot of Loghain, who is much less of a jackass here than he is in the game… but still a jackass.
It’s a good and well-written book, but I had hoped for a bit more of the charm you get from the characters in the games. I liked the characters in the book, but I didn’t fall in love with them.
Still worth the read, though!


The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns
by Leigh Bardugo

This was a collection of fairy tales set in the Grishaverse, but you don’t need to have read any of the other books to enjoy them. The stories are wonderfully dark and the book is beautifully illustrated. I especially love how, initially, you think that each page of a story has the same illustration, but then you realize that each page the drawings change subtly in a way that hints about what is to come in the story.


Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett

Only You Can Save Mankind
by Terry Pratchett

This one might not have aged as well as Pratchett’s other books, but the overall message about how we’re numb to the horrors of war fits as well today as it must have done in the 90s. In the book it’s the Gulf War they’re referring to, but it might as well have been any of the wars over the last thirty years.

But despite the timeless morale, I think kids today would have a really hard time relating to this book, considering they have never known a time where space invader games were ‘cutting edge’…


War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman

War of the Spark: Ravnica
by Greg Weisman

I have never played Magic: The Gathering, but when I was invited to a Dungeon & Dragons campaign set in the world of Ravnica, I felt I needed to read up on some of the lore, just so I would have an idea of who all those people trying to kill us were.

Turns out, MTG lore is actually really interesting!

And this tie-in novel was quite good. It was a little difficult to keep up with the large cast of characters at first, but the story was written in a way that made it easy to follow even for Magic noobs like myself.

And now I know more of the lore than several of my friends who actually play the game.


The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

I first read this one many years ago, and while I liked it well enough, the whole thing with the costumes and the interviews ruined it a bit for me, because I felt it was too far-fetched.
Upon rereading it this year, I didn’t feel the same way. Somehow, after America got a reality star who have dick competitions with dictators as President, I can TOTALLY imagine a government turning kids into celebrities before throwing them into an arena to kill each other.
Anyway… What I think I’m trying to say is that I loved this book far more the second time around and I should not analyze the reasons why that is so, because it turns out they’re slightly disturbing.


Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett

Johnny and the Dead
by Terry Pratchett

This was the second book in the Johnny Maxwell series and I liked it more than Only You Can Save Mankind, though I could not tell you what the morale of it is. I feel like there is a morale to the story, but it just soared over my head somehow.
But hey, it’s Pratchett and it’s funny!


Hard in Hightown Varric Tethras

Hard in Hightown
by Varris Tethras (aka Mary Kirby)

If you’re not familiar with Dragon Age: Varris Tethras is a character in the games who writes books when he’s not getting involved in whatever disaster or revolution the player character drags him into. One of his books is a noir detective story called High in Hardtown, which you can find and read chapters from in the third game.
Since I’m a total geek, I just got the physical, illustrated version.

I do think they could have made the story a little longer when they made it into an actual book, but I still enjoyed it, even though it’s short and rather predictable.


Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire is a great follow-up to The Hunger Games. It’s fast-paced and filled with conspiracies, and I enjoyed it immensely.


Johnny and the Bomb Terry Pratchett

Johnny and the Bomb
by Terry Pratchett

This is the last book in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, and it was the very first Pratchett book I ever read, way back in middle school. It’s also by far the best book in the trilogy.
I adore crazy Mrs. Tachyon and her time-traveling shopping trolley, not to mention her insane cat Guilty.


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows
by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows is a great Fantasy heist story set in Bardugo’s Grishaverse, and I absolutely loved it. Great plot, great characters, great world, and so many twists and turns that I could barely keep up. You follow a bunch of criminals, yet you still end up rooting for them and their insane mission.


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay
by Suzanne Collins

I don’t know whether this ending was a brilliant commentary on the nature of tyrannical regimes and revolutions, or simply the most pointless ending to a trilogy ever.

Either way, I cried.
A lot.


Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Dodger
by Terry Pratchett

This book follows a small-time criminal who makes a living from finding treasures in the sewers. Yet this smelly lad is a surprisingly charming protagonist, because he’s compassionate and oddly innocent in some ways, while being rather clever in others. There’s just something about Dodger that makes you fall in love with him, even as he’s punching people and stealing the silverware.


Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom
by Leigh Bardugo

The second book in the Six of Crows Duology, and an amazing conclusion to the story. This one might just have even more devious plots and unexpected twists compared to Six of Crows, and that’s saying something. And at this time, you’re incredibly invested in the characters, so the book takes you to the edge of your seat while you wait to see what end is in store for them.


Dragon Age Tevinter Nights

Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights
by multiple authors

This was an antrology with short stories from the Dragon Age universe. Most of the stories were much darker than I anticipated, but that’s a good thing! It’s clear to see that these stories are foreshadowing the events in the upcoming Dragon Age 4 game, and I’m all there for it, even though the story The Horror of Hormak gave me nightmares…
However, though I like the dark parts of Tevinter Nights, my favorite character had to be Lessef, the tiny old lady who just so happens to be a deadly Crow assassin. Her last line of the story is “Onward, to cookies!” and I love it.


Truckers by Terry Pratchett

Truckers
by Terry Pratchett

Garden gnomes from space trying to hijack a lorry. No, really. That’s what the book’s about.


The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

The Kingdom of Copper
by S. A. Chakraborty

The sequel to The City of Brass has it all:
Politics, plotting, ancient djinn soldiers, scary-as-hell water demons, and a batshit healer or two.
What more could you want?


Girls of Paper and Fire Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire
by Natasha Ngan

While the themes this book deals with – sexual assault being the main one – are horrible, the author still manages to create a rather heartwarming story focused on girls in a terrible situation finding strength in each other.
And if you ignore the small epilogue, the ending is immensely satisfying.


Diggers by Terry Pratchett

Diggers
by Terry Pratchett

This was the follow-up to Truckers, and the second book in the Bromeliad Trilogy. This one is about the alien garden gnomes – the Nomes – stealing an excavator to scare the shit out of the humans.


War of the Spark Forsaken Greg Weisman

War of the Spark: Forsaken
by Greg Weisman

As the title suggest, this was the sequel to War of the Spark: Ravnica, which I read as part of my mission to learn more about the world of Magic: The Gathering. This book mainly focuses on the necromancer Liliana Vess, and since I’m fond of both bitchy women and necromancers, this was right up my alley.


The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant

The Court of Miracles
by Kester Grant

This story is a reimagining of Lés Miserables, which I have never read nor seen any of the adaptions of it. And maybe that’s why I enjoyed The Court of Miracles so much.
Or, maybe, it was because it’s a story about a criminal underworld and I love any book that has assassins in it…


Wings by Terry Pratchett

Wings
by Terry Pratchett

This was the last book in the Bromeliad Trilogy. The alien garden gnomes go to Florida to find their spaceship, and learn how to fly geese.
That’s really all I have to say about it.


This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab

This Savage Song
by V. E. Schwab

I really liked the concept of a world where committing violent crimes creates actual monsters. The main characters weren’t that memorable, but they were fairly relateable, and the ending was suitably bittersweet.


The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty

The Empire of Gold
by S. A. Chakraborty

The Empire of Gold was an amazing conclusion to the Daevabad Trilogy. Manizheh was crazy, Dara was a loyal idiot, Jamshid was the most precious thing ever, but the Favorite Character Award goes to:
Mishmish, the apricot-loving shedu.


Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

Small Gods
by Terry Pratchett

As always, this Discworld book is good for a lot of laughs, but it’s also a great commentary on the nature of organized religion.
But most of all, Vorbis is a great villain…
…who gets killed by getting hit in the head by a tortoise.


The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale
by Katherine Arden

A beautiful story that reads like a Russian fairytale. It’s the perfect book for dark winter evenings when the snow is falling outside.


The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
by Natasha Pulley

Despite the amount of Discworld I read, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street takes the prize for weirdest book I read all year. It’s a good weird, mind you, but… weird.
The beginning is a little rough to get through, since the main character is initially very boring and leads a very boring life, but that changes radically before long. And I can say I honestly didn’t see the ending coming.


The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

The Last Continent
by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett, Discworld and a ton of Australian jokes.
Add in a bunch of wizards that never listen to logic and ignore warning signs on pure principle, and you got yourself a tale that makes absolutely no sense.
And somehow, it works.


House of Salt and Sorrow

House of Salt and Sorrow
by Erin A. Craig

This book is an amazing mix of fantasy and horror, with several fairytale elements thrown into the story. It’s creepy and engaging, and at some point, downright horrifying.
I loved it.


Lord of the Clans by Christie Golden

Lord of the Clans
by Christie Golden

Another World of Warcraft tie-in that follows Thrall, the orc slave who ended up being the Warchief of the Horde.
Thrall was never one of my favorite characters, but Golden manages to make his backstory quite engaging even to someone who considers the main character rather boring.


 

 

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The Bookish Owl – Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

I’ll continue my marathon-blogging with Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.

This was the second book in the Six of Crows Duology, and it might just have contained even more devious plots and unexpected twists. I have come to really love fantasy books about criminal underworlds, where the characters are not traditional heroes. And Crooked Kingdom has a fantastic set of characters, all deeply flawed and damaged, but somehow still likable.

I think this duology has become my favorite of the Grishaverse series, and I see a rereading in my future.


Crooked Kingdom
by Leigh Bardugo

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.


Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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The Bookish Owl – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Happy Halloween! I wanted to do a Halloween-centric post, but as I can’t come up with a good topic for it you’re getting another Bookish Owl post. This time it’s Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo!

Six of Crows is the first of a duology set in the Grishaverse, of which I loved the original trilogy. So it says a lot that I think this book might be even better than its predecessors.

While the main trilogy followed a girl with abilities that would lead her to become a Saint, Six of Crows follows a bunch of criminals hired to break into the most secure prison in their world. And not only does the story of the heist have so many twists and turns that it’s hard to keep up, but the characters are so deep and fleshed out that you can’t help rooting for them on their insane mission.

Now enjoy Artemis doing his best crow imitation.

(He’s not very good at it.)


Six of Crows
by Leigh Bardugo

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price―and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction―if they don’t kill each other first.


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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The Bookish Owl – The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

It’s time for The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo.

This is a collection of fairy tales set in the Grishaverse and they are all wonderfully dark. We’re talking far more Grimm than Disney here… and then a tad darker than that.

The book itself is absolutely gorgeous, both inside and out. It’s a beautiful hardcover book and each page inside is illustrated. At first I thought that every page in a specific story had the same illustration, but if you pay attention, you can see that it changes subtly for every page and the changes actually provides ominous hints to what’s to come later in the story. It’s genius.

As I said, the stories are set in the Grishaverse (which consists of books like the Shadow and Bone trilogy and King of Scars), but they can easily be read without having read any of the other books. I would recommend The Language of Thorns to anyone who enjoys dark fairy tales!


The Language of Thorns
by Leigh Bardugo

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.


The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

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June’s Book Haul

Fantasy Book haul

Guess what’s more wonderful than getting a package full of books?

Getting a HUGE package full of books.

But my order actually got split into three, so I just got one big package, one medium-sized package and a small package… But it still adds up to 22 books, so it’s a good haul. I know it’s July, but this is a post about June’s book haul, since it took some time for all the shipments to arrive.

Aren’t they pretty?

Book Haul

The books I got were:

  • The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
  • Six of Crows Boxed Set by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom)
  • The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Hunger Games 10th Anniversary Boxset by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay)
  • The Complete Tales of H.P. Lovecraft by H. P. Lovecraft (duh)
  • Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights by Sylvia Feketekuty
  • Dragon Age: Hard In Hightown by Varric Tethras (AKA Mary Kirby)
  • Magic: The Gathering – Ravnica by Greg Weisman
  • Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett
  • Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett
  • Johnny and the Bomb by Terry Pratchett
  • Dodger by Terry Pratchett
  • This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab
  • A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  • The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  • Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
  • House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
  • European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss
  • The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss

I had to rearrange all my bookshelves to fit them in (the Lovecraft collection was far too tall for my shelves, but far too gorgeous to put in horizontally), but it was so worth it. Some of these books are just so darn beautiful, and the six I’ve already read were great.

The Complete Tales of H. P. Lovecraft

I have long wanted to read some Lovecraft and when I came across this absolutely amazing special edition of his completed works, I knew I had to own it. It’s hardback, taller than any of my other books, and more than 1000 pages, so I will probably injure my wrists reading it, but it’s sooo pretty…

The Complete Works of H. P. Lovecraft

Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom and The Language of Thorns

I have quickly grown to love Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse, so of course I had to get the books I was missing.

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are both pretty dull-looking next to the shiny copies of the rest of the series, but The Language of Thorns is so gorgeous, both inside and out. Not only is the hardback incredibly beautiful, each page inside is illustrated as well!

The only problem I have with the Grishaverse is that NONE of the subseries are the same height. It’s messing with my bookshelf OCD that I have one series with books of four different heights…

Six of Crows and The Language of ThornsLanguage of Thorns Page Illustration

The Hunger Games 10th Anniversary Boxset

I read the first Hunger Games book years ago, but when I wanted to give the series another try, I couldn’t find my copy anywhere. This gave me a great excuse to buy a complete boxset – with The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay – and the 10th Anniversary edition is really pretty. It’s all shiny and impossible to photograph.

Hunger Games 10th Anniversary Box Set

Pratchett YA

I guess the only thing surprising about this section is that there’s still Pratchett books I haven’t bought yet…

These are some of Terry Pratchett’s books for younger readers, Dodger and the Johnny Maxwell trilogy. Johnny and the Bomb was actually the very first Pratchett book I ever read, way back in middle school, and one of the first books I read in English, so I’m excited about getting to read the entire series.

However, a problem with availability means I didn’t get all the books in the same edition, so I’m going to be grumbling about that for a while…

Terry Pratchett Johhny Maxwell Dodger

The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club

I read the first book of this series without knowing it was part of a series, so by the end I hadn’t sated my curiosity about the mysterious plot the characters were caught up in. Nothing for it, except to buy the next books!

Dragon Age and Magic: The Gathering

My obsession with Dragon Age started years ago, so of course I needed some tie-in novels while waiting for the fourth game. And I recently became part of a Ravnica-themed Dungeons & Dragons party, but I have never played Magic: The Gathering, so I need to study some lore, so I know who all the people trying to kill me are…

Dragon Age and Ravnica books

All the Rest

These are (almost) all new authors to me that I’m excited to read!

Fantasy Book haul

Have you read any of these? If so, let me know in the comments if I need to move some of them further up my TBR list!