January 27, 2021

Abbreviations #119: The Girl in the Tower, Archangel's Sun + Darkfever

I’m not sure why I put off reading The Girl in the Tower for so long, but I thoroughly regret that now because it was such a great sequel! Where its predecessor The Bear and the Nightingale was a slow building atmospheric story that crescendos at its end, The Girl in the Tower felt like a well-paced, intriguing adventure right from its beginning. Vasya, having escapes the confines of her home and the village who thinks her either dead or a witch, has decided to travel the world on her magnificent horse Solovey. Her travels lead to her not only encountering the bandits roaming the countryside to burn villages and kidnap daughters, but also to crossing paths with the Grand Prince of Moscow who has set out to defeat these raiders… and who happens to have Vasya’s elder brother Sasha among his entourage. With threats closing in on the city on all fronts, Sasha agrees to keep Vasya’s secret when he senses that she might be the key to overcoming their foes. This sequel is brilliant! Arden maintains her lovely writing style, while bringing to life a new urban and political setting and weaving in a compelling plot (part court intrigue, part magic, part relationship dynamics). I was fascinated at the opportunity to learn more about this world; I also loved the continued incorporation of the whimsy, magic and folklore that makes this story feel like a modern fairytale. It was great to be reunited with Vasya (who is a protagonist that I utterly adore, even with her reckless streak), as well as being reunited with familiar faces and meeting some new characters too. This sequel is one of the select few that is even better than the previous book, and it certainly has me looking forward to reading the series finale!

The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy #2) | Pub Info: December 5, 2017 by Del Rey
Previous Book in Series: The Bear and the Nightingale

I had my reservations about Archangel’s Sun before I picked it up. I didn’t doubt that I would enjoy it, as I liked every single Guild Hunter book I read prior to it, but I wasn’t sure I would ‘love’ it as much as the rest. I’m so happy to have been proven wrong! Archangel’s Sun takes place shortly after the world-changing events that occur in Archangel’s War, when all must work together to restore the world after the devastation and destruction the war left in its wake. Titus, now Archangel of the entire continent of Africa, has his work cut out for him as he must establish his rule over territory that belonged to a traitor and deal with a dangerous virus that must be contained and eliminated. The Hummingbird, a renowned artist seen as fragile by most angelkind, is one of the few that can offer aid during his time of need and together, their investigation might just lead to another unexpected discovery that will rock the world yet again. I can’t tell you how happy I am that Archangel’s Sun ended up being such a treat to read! It’s easily one of my favorite books in the series. I enjoyed returning to the Guild Hunter world, especially because we get glimpses of old favorites but also see more of this world and meet new characters to love. It was also nice to have a plot that was less intense (I seriously haven’t emotionally recovered from the previous book), even though the stakes were still high, the story very compelling and the emotional through line both heartwarming and heartbreaking at turns. But it’s the romance – and the couple in question – that made this book hit so hard for me. Not only do we get to learn more about both Titus and the Hummingbird individually (and they are both such wonderful, warm and capable angels), but we also get to watch them slowly become something more than acquaintances and it was absolutely lovely to see. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with them both and can highly recommend Archangel’s Sun to other fans of the Guild Hunter series. (And honestly, just read the series if you’re looking for a new urban fantasy romance. It’s just so good!)

Archangel's Sun (Guild Hunter #13) | Pub Info: November 24, 2020 by Berkley
Previous Books in Series: Please refer to my series review!

I went into Darkfever with pretty high expectations, as I have so many friends who adore this series! This novel is a series starter that introduces readers to MacKayla Lane, a young woman who was living the sweet life up until she learns that her sister, who was studying abroad in Ireland, has been murdered. Determined to discover the truth of what happened to her big sister, Mac travels to Ireland… only to discover that she’s actually a part of a bigger, more magical world than she could ever have imagined. Mac is a sidhe seer who can see the Fae and sense their artifacts and that makes her a hot commodity. Her only protection comes in the form of a team-up with the handsome Jericho Barrons, who just might have some big secrets of his own. Overall, I thought this story was fun, especially because it was part mystery, part quest. I also found the lore interesting, though I sense that there’s definitely more to it than what Mac has encountered in just this first book. But I just didn’t gel well with Mac herself, as her choices and her commentary often ended up rubbing me the wrong way. Since the narrative is in first person point of view (and has a lot of injected ‘in hindsight’ perspective), that obviously worked to the detriment of this novel. Darkfever was simply an okay read. While I haven’t fully given up on continuing the series, this unfortunately isn’t the kind where I feel compelled to immediately pick up book two so we’ll have to see if that ever happens!

Darkfever (Fever #1) | Pub Info: October 31, 2006 by Delacorte Press


  1. I've yet to read my copy of The Bear and the Nightingale, it's sadly been fermenting on my shelves since it came out. Sigh. Story of a lot of books on my shelves. I read the first book to the Guild Hunter, but didn't really get into it so didn't continue. Oh the Fever series. I have such a love and hate relationship with the books.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts on these books.

    Happy reading, Alexa!


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