I’ve decided to give the r/Fantasy 2023 Book Bingo Challenge a go this year. I heard about this on Booktube but it’s hosted on Reddit. You can find all of the information here.
The idea is pretty simple, the readathon takes place from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024. You complete prompts and fill a Bingo card (or get a single Bingo if you prefer). There are a couple caveats:
- All books must be fantasy, sci-fi or speculative horror.
- Each book can only be used once to complete a prompt.
- You can only use one re-read on the board.
- You cannot use an author more than once (except the short stories prompt)
- You can substitute 1 square on the bigno card with a prompt from a prior year.
Each square also has a hard mode which I’m going to try to do. In addition, there is hero mode which means you review every book which I will attempt to do.
Here is the board for 2023. I will be keeping track of my reads on this card of course.
Now, this runs for an entire year and is a 25 book challenge. That’s about a quarter of my reading for the next 12 months. I have picked multiple books per prompt and will probably still switch out books but especially on some of the very specific prompts, I thought having a tentative TBR would be useful. I realize that some books are listed in multiple prompts and know I can’t do that but it will all work out in the end.
#1. Title with a Title (Hard Mode: Not royalty)
I’ve only picked out one book for this prompt because I’m 99% sure I’ll be reading this one soon. Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell obviously has the title of “knight” in the title and although knights are often associated with royalty, they aren’t royalty themselves so I think it counts for hard mode. This is the second book in the Greatcoats series and part of my 23 books for 2023.
#2. Superheroes (Hard Mode: Not DC or Marvel)
This is not a trope I particularly enjoy and I’ve sadly already finished The Extraordinaries Trilogy by TJ Klune. But I do have two options: Renegades by Marissa Meyer and Vengeful by VE Schwab. I read Vicious years ago and didn’t love it and I DNF’d the Lunar Chronicles so neither of this is high on my TBR but they fit the prompt.
#3. Bottom of the TBR (no hard mode)
This can be any book that’s been on my TBR for a long time. Truly taking on the challenge, I think I’ll go for one of the four SFF books that’s been on my Goodreads TBR the longest: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Plant by Becky Chambers, The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, or A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is on my 23 books for 2023 and I’m really excited about it but it also fits some other prompts so we’ll see what happens.
#4. Magical Realism or Literary Fantasy (Hard Mode: Not one of 30 books in Reddit Thread)
Magical realism is not my thing but I have two options that fit. First, The Magic of Found Objects by Maddie Dawson seems to be magical realism in that there’s some small magic is a real-ish world. Maybe not the most magic ever but I still think it works. Then The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab scares me very much but Google seems to think it would fit.
#5. Young Adult (Hard Mode: Published in the Last 5 Years)
This one is easy. I don’t read as much YA as I used to but I still read a good amount. I will absolutely read Gods and Gamemasters by Rosaria Munda when it is published later this year. The others high on my TBR and with actual covers are Stardust in the Veins by Laura Sebastian, Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller, and Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amelie Wen Zhao.
#6. Mundane Jobs (Hard Mode: Does not Take Place on Earth)
This one was a little tricky because they don’t always give the job in the blurb. But I think Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky will fit this as it appears to be normal citizens fleeing earth. If that doesn’t work and I don’t stumble upon any others, I’ll use my one reread allowance and use The Martian by Andy Weir. He’s a botanist and engineer so definitely fits.
#7. Published in the 00s (Hard Mode: Not on the Top 30 Reddit List of 2023)
This would be really easy without the hard mode caveat. But I do plan to continue the Temeraire series soon and the next book Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik was published in 2008 and while this series is on that list, it’s well out of the top 30.
#8. Angels and Demons (Hard Mode: Protagonist is an Angel or Demon)
I think Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor will fit hard mode on this. There were definitely angels in the first one but my memory of it is hazy so we’ll see if one is the protagonist.
#9. Five SFF Short Stories (Hard Mode: An anthology or collection)
This prompt would normally be a bad one for me but I have been reading The Expanse series and between books, there are short stories that are bound up in an anthology, Memory’s Legion by James S.A. Corey. I already read one before this started but there are more than 5 left so I’m counting it.
#10. Horror (Hard Mode: Not King or Lovecraft)
I almost switched out this prompt because I’m a big scaredy cat. However, I do sort of want to try a sci-fi horror thinking maybe with the sci-fi part, it won’t scare me so much. Really, I get that feeling that someone is going to attack me or sneak into my home when I read or watch scary stuff so I’m hoping a sci-fi can counteract that. After a little research, The Immortality Thief by Taran Hunt looks like a good option as multiple people recommend it for people who don’t want anything too scary. I’m trusting these people and really hope they don’t let me down.
#11. Self Published or Indie Publisher (Hard Mode: Under 100 ratings on Goodreads)
I really would like to read more Indie and self pub but as a library reader, it’s very hard. While I haven’t been doing NetGalley lately, I do still have one sci-fi on my shelf there and it’s Indie published. Catalyst by Brandon Crilly currently has 18 ratings on Goodreads and I have a free copy, I’d like to read it and write the review I always meant to.
#12. Middle Eastern Setting (Hard Mode: Author with Middle Eastern Heritage)
Apparently this is something I want to read more of because there were a lot of my TBR. The City of Brass by SA Chakraborty, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri, and The Rage of Dragons by Even Winter all seem to fit this prompt. I’m least sure about The Rage of Dragons but someone said it did and I do really want to read it.
#13. Published in 2023 (Hard Mode: Debut Novel)
I have two options for this one but I could definitely hear of others throughout the year. The Daughters of Izdihar by Hadeer Elsbai is a debut published in January 2023 and I have an ARC on NetGalley. Godkiller by Hannah Kaner has all sorts of buzz for a debut and is one I’m interested in.
#14. Multiverse or Alternate Realities (Hard Mode: Not accessed through physical door)
This is a trope I really enjoy but somehow I only have one book on TBR for it, The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson.
#15. POC Author (Hard Mode: Takes Place in Futuristic, Sci-Fi World)
Surprisingly few options here once the hard mode kicked in by The Blood Trials by N.E. Davenport and The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson would both work here.
#16. Book Club or Readalong Pick (Hard Mode: Participate in Book Club)
This one is hard and will be the prompt I’ll switch out because it only counts the r/Fantasy book club. I have zero interest in that.
So I went through the 2021 and 2022 lists to find a prompt that I liked and decided on one for 2021. The prompt is Found Family and the hard mode is LGBTQ+. I love found family and read a lot of it. I’m thinking A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers or In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune.
#17. Novella (Hard Mode: Not Published by Tordotcom)
Novellas aren’t usually my favorite but I pick them up occasionally. A few that sound interesting are Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo, and The Tea Master and the Detective by Ailette de Bodard.
#18. Mythical Beasts (Hard Mode: No Dragons)
I love a good animal companion so looking forward to this one. The Bone Shard War by Andrea Stewart will definitely fit. I’ve heard The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams would fit. Then I’ve also been told Malice by John Gwynne has an awesome animal companion and I already picked it up but unsure if it will be a mythical non-dragon beast.
#19. Elemental Magic (Hard Mode: Not Shades of Magic or Codex Alera)
Two books that are very high on my TBR fit this one: Malice by John Gwynne and The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin.
#20. Myths and Retellings (Hard Mode: Not Roman or Greek(
Three possible options for this one: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A Craig is a retelling of the 12 dancing princesses. In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune is based on Pinocchio. Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong is a retelling of Antony and Cleopatra.
#21. Queernorm Setting (Hard Mode: Not Futuristic)
This is another one that is hard to tell from a blurb but I think these may work: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons, Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler and The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi.
#22. Coastal or Island Setting (Hard Mode: Sea-Faring)
Several options on this one but mostly books also listed elsewhere so we’ll see what’s left to fill this prompt and which ones actually have sea-faring and not just a water setting. Potentially Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb, House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig, Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik or The Bone Shard War by Andrea Stewart.
#23. Druids (Hard Mode: Not The Iron Druid)
This was definitely the hardest prompt, partly because I’m not 100% sure what counts as a druid. The one that people are recommending that was been on my radar if not an actual TBR is The Ember Blade by Chris Wooding.
#24. Featuring Robots (Hard Mode: Robot is Protagonist)
I didn’t like Murderbot and I have already read Monk and Robot so I thought this would be hard until I read the blurb for Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray. Of one of the two main characters it says: “He’s a machine – Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel’s advanced programming has begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.” It sounds like a perfect fit and I really want to read this, I adored the other series by Gray.
#25. Sequel (Hard Mode: Book 3 or more)
This is an easy one. Aurora’s End by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff and Capture the Sun by Jessie Mihalik are both book 3 in their series. I’m sure there will be others too but these are the ones that came to mind for books/authors not mentioned many times already.
You mad it to the end! If you’re participating in r/Fantasy Bingo, I’d love to hear what you’re reading. Also let me know if you have other suggestions or know one of these doesn’t fit at all. Happy reading!
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