The Girl in the Tower – Katherine Arden

007 - The Girl in the Tower

007 - The Girl in the TowerAfter reading The Bear and the Nightingale in December and being completely swept away, learning it was going to be a series made me very excited! I was even more excited when I learnt that I didn’t have all that long to wait. This is the first ‘open’ series I’ve picked up in a very long time, and already I can’t wait for the 3rd and final book.

We pick up nearly immediately after the events of The Bear and the Nightingale. Vasya has fled her hometown after being accused of witchcraft and is travelling across the country to her remaining family in Moscow. When she gets there we learn a lot more of the life of a Medieval Russian court, we get an insight in to things like the politics all while still having a fantastic fairy tale playing out.

As you can expect, the story is a lot more complex than the one in the first book. Vasya herself is a lot more complex; she’s more confident, she’s older and wiser, and more importantly she’s absolutely kickass and refuses to conform to societal norms. I absolutely adore Vasya as a character. Who doesn’t love a book where a girl doesn’t want to fit in to gender-norms, isn’t afraid to be herself, knows that bravery and intelligence aren’t just traits for men to boast, and knows that being a woman does not make her a lesser person? Vasya loves freedom, loves exploration, wants to see the world; not get married and have children which is what everyone expects of a young woman, whether she likes it or not.

Ah, I just love Vasya as a character. I could easily talk about her all day.

Vasya isn’t the only character in this book though, in going to Moscow we get reintroduced to her remaining family, her monastic brother Sasha and her older sister, Olga, who has 2 children and one on the way when we first meet her again. I was quite surprised at how rounded they were as characters in this book, I’m not sure I was expecting such rounded ‘background’ characters. Come the end of the book, both of them were in my good books again (Sasha rarely left them, but Olga did). One thing I am looking forward to is how the story with Vasya’s niece is going to progress because we learn a few things about that little girl, Masha, and I’m excited already as to what will happen!

This was my first 5* read of 2018. I adored this book. absolutely loved it. I would recommend this series to so many people – it’s an absolutely beautiful read. The third, and final, book in this series is expected to be released Autumn 2018 – needless to say it’s already on my pre-order list.

Highly, highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in a little bit of fairytale, Russian folklore and history… anyone who loves a bloody good read, actually.

Review: Theodosia Throckmorton Series – R. L. LeFevers

Theodosia seriesI wish I’d had these books when I was 12. I loved them now, but honestly this would have been my dream book series when I was younger. Ancient Egypt is something that has always interested me, more so since I watched The Mummy aged 9. So having a book series, with a girl (!!!) at the helm, who has more balls than Alex from The Mummy Returns and with brains that put Hermione Granger to shame – sure she was a little precocious, but I loved her. I absolutely adored her, actually and over the course of the 4 books that have been published (I’m holding out for the 5th) she grew so much and my love for her only grew too

The series follows a young girl, Theodosia Throckmorton, daughter of the curator of London’s Museum of Legends and Antiquities. But, as per most books, Theodosia is a very special little girl – she can see the curses and black magic that cling to artefacts. As the series progresses, we learn more about little Theo and her special talents but not without a bit of mayhem, of course.

While these books are technically middle grade books, there’s so much in them that a ‘grown up’ can enjoy. Theodosia could be classed as quite obnoxious (she is obnoxious, but I love her in spite of  that) but there is a lot to love in the adults of this story too, and there’s a lot that would go over a younger readers head but is appreciated by an older reader. There’s a level of sarcasm and quite adult humour underlying something quite innocent (somewhat like any good children’s movie, it’s truly written for the adults!)

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