*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!

The Wolf by Wolf Series Has Some Impressive Storytelling Chops!

In a world, where every villain is a Nazi, I introduce to you… a book where all the villains are Nazis 😉 But wait! This one’s slightly different to your average book- because this is set in an alternative reality, where the Nazis won WW2.

Things kicked off in Wolf by Wolf in a strong fashion. With incredible pace and writing that was nothing short of magnificent, Graudin introduced our heroine, a genetically modified Jewish girl, on a mission to kill Hitler- sounds good right? Well, I’ll admit there were some teething problems for me when it came to world building (possibly because I often struggle with alternative history- something about my brain leaves me totting up all the details and wondering “but could it have happened this way, really?”). For me personally, though this won’t be a problem for everyone, the story snagged on a few details:

  • hitler-nein-nein-neinFor starters, if the Nazis had won, I don’t think there’s any version of the Third Reich that didn’t mean more fighting and more flames and more death camps.
  • While there were points when the Allies could have lost, Hitler, poor strategist that he was, never could have taken over the world (let alone held it). This was something Graudin pointed out in her notes, but pointing something out doesn’t solve the problem. Aside from the instability of the regime, the idea that Hitler was somehow superhuman (propagated by Aryan propaganda) was smashed to bits long before the Allied victory with his incompetent decision making. In fairness, the book does a lot to dispel this myth (which I can’t get into for spoilery reasons)- nonetheless posing the idea baffled me for large portions of the first book.
  • Lastly, I liked when Japan was used as a setting, yet the whole Nazis wearing kimonos thing is beyond ridiculous- Nazis weren’t known for appreciating other cultures.

I think I could’ve liked the first installment more if I hadn’t been distracted by this. Still, even if I had trouble suspending my disbelief, this didn’t deter me from continuing with the story. Although I saw some of it coming, the finale of Wolf by Wolf was so exhilarating, I knew I had to read on. I made a brief detour into the novella Iron to Iron, but while the writing was as incredible as the other two books, I unfortunately I found the story a bit of a waste of time, since there really wasn’t any new information here or purpose to the story.

However, when I entered the last lap of the story, Blood for Blood, I was happy to see this was where the narrative really hit its stride. All the highs and lows were in the right place; I was on the edge of my seat, feeling the roar of tension around me. The mounting drama had me engaged and ending was as explosive as you’d want. And it didn’t hurt that it tugged on all the heartstrings! Sure, parts were predictable, yet ultimately I got everything I wanted out of the story. And I found, because of that, I had an easier time just getting lost in the world and not in the minutia of history. Like all the best series, it ended on a high and you can’t ask for more than that!

Overall, I gave this series:

Rating: 4/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

So have you read this series? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!