*All the Bananas* predictions update (with new forecasts!)

orangutan list

Eons and eons ago, I did a post talking about some of my five star predictions… now I’ve finally read all the books and can tell you what I thought of them! (of course I wrote the original so long ago that this follow up post might seem irrelevant- maybe just play along and pretend this isn’t coming from left of field 😉) Let’s not waste any more time and get to it!

strange the dreamer

Strange the Dreamer– success! In fact, I’ve since completed this duology and considered it perfection! Though it doesn’t come as a surprise- I’ve rated every. single. one of Taylor’s books 5 bananas- and that’s cos they deserve ALL THE LOVE!!

book of dust

Belle Sauvage– this came very close with 4½/5 well deserved bananas. This was a little on the slow side and it didn’t quite live upto the original trilogy. Having said that, this new series has an exquisite fairy tale feel and I got the sense it was building towards something big and beautiful in the next book- we shall have to wait and see when the Secret Commonwealth comes out in October.

wolf by wolf

Wolf By Wolf- I’ve read this entire series now and am happy to say it ended up with an average rating of 4/5 bananas- which is not to be sniffed at! There were aspects I liked less than I expected, but obviously glad I read it.

iron gold

Iron Gold– oh so close: this got 4½/5. I’m counting that as a win though- because I loved the bloodyhell out of this book and it was fantastic to have the gang back together. As with Belle Sauvage I had the sense that the series is *going places*.

girl in the tower

Girl in the Tower– we have a winner! Arden, like Taylor, has never let me down and it’s completely unsurprising that I gave this 5/5 bananas. This is another one where I’ve since read the sequel and given that 5 bananas as well!

Alrighty then- I’d say that went pretty well! And obviously, cos this was so successful, I want to see if I can do it again. Here are some upcoming releases/future reads I reckon I’ll be giving all the bananas:

Some of these could go either way, but I have high hopes for them all!

I’ll probably update you about how this went in a few years 😉 For now, I want to know what upcoming books you think will be 5 star reads? Let me know in the comments!

Girl in the Tower was *ENCHANTING*

*Received this book off Netgalley in exchange for an honest review- but the  gushing you’re about to see is all me*

girl in the towerAnd dark, and scary and made me feel all tingly. For anyone that doesn’t remember all the way back to December, I fell absolutely head over heels for Bear and the Nightingale, the first in the Winternight Trilogy. So when I received a last minute ARC for the second one, there was actual screaming, guys. And when I got to the end of this, well, let’s just say this raised my love to practically fever pitch.

happy2.gif

Straightaway I was plunged into Arden’s atmospheric world. With stunning visuals, chuckle-worthy dialogue and mysteries building, I found myself sucked straight back in. Most of my notes devolved to just “WOW” and “AMAZING” pretty quickly. Cos let me tell you, everything about Arden’s writing is wonderful. The haunting style made me shivery and weak at the knees.

From the outset, I felt a creeping sense of dread and that didn’t let up until the crazy-dramatic end. You know that cliché “I hadn’t realised I’d been holding my breath”- well I exhaled (loudly) when I got to the end and I hadn’t realised I’d been holding my breath- so there you go, proof it actually happens. I was so absorbed in the good old fashioned storytelling that I didn’t notice. Nor I did I notice the night ticking away until it was Crazy O Clock in the morning and the story was done (whoops).

Timeless and magical, the plot loops round, playing with strands of the story and then joining the threads. When I could finally see the full tapestry, my face cracked into a smile of pure joy– it’s been a while since I’ve seen chronology twisted so successfully. This seemingly slight touch allowed minor characters to step more into the spotlight, which was excellently done. Carefully, characterisation through the eyes of others and through the smallest of gestures, brought the world more vividly to life. Little things, like the humorous horse character, made my toes curl in pleasure.

And speaking of pleasure, the romance in this book melted my heart. There were only hints of romance in the previous book and, even though I discussed it offline, I’d been scared of scaring it away- but man I wanted this. I don’t know where it’s going, since there’s a terrifying combination of miscommunication and magic involved, but I’m loving the slow build so far. Arden sure knows how to take her time.

I also loved the direction Vasya took in this book. She’s certainly grown into an increasingly wonderful heroine. As with the last book, I loved her unconventionality, her cleverness and how unusual she was (including her looks). She’s such a great role model for anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider. And what made her even more powerful was the presence of a truly killer villain. He both mirrored her and reflected back her goodness with darkness… and I won’t say any more for fear of spoilers. But he’s a good un (well, technically bad 😉 )

What was incredible was how much more complexity and scope there was to Girl in the Tower. There were multiple layers to the story and I felt like there was so much more under the surface, waiting to be discovered. I honestly don’t feel like one review could do it justice (I can already see that I would benefit from rereading this story). One thing I will say that I enjoyed the most about this book was the elements of appearance vs reality. The hidden world of folklore, tucked out of sight for most people, gave the impression that there was more to this reality than meets the eye. I really appreciated how that theme bled into the narrative, the character’s gestures even and the portrayal of different beliefs. I marvelled how the unseen and the seen blurred together at moments, in a way that screamed UNCANNY and UNSETTLING. I revelled in what could be regarded as a clash of civilisations.

Ultimately, this book took everything about the first book and made it better. No middle book syndrome here- only pure, unadulterated bliss. I’d read a few reviews and thought “pff could it be better?”- the answer is yes, yes it could and it was. And I must say it was perfect with hot chocolate and Bailey’s after an exhausting day 😉

Rating: 5/5 bananas

small bananasmall bananasmall bananasmall bananasmall banana

Have you read this or the first one? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!