This review is based on a complimentary book I received from LibraryThing Early Reviewers. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
Series: The Winternight Trilogy #2
Also in this series:The Bear and the Nightingale
Also by this author: The Bear and the Nightingale
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Del Rey
Format: ARC, Hardcover
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Length: 13 hours, 2 mins
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository ◊ Google Play ◊ Kobo ◊ IndieBound ◊ Audible ◊ Publisher
The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.
Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.
I truly enjoyed the prequel to this book, The Bear and the Nightingale, but this book, The Girl in the Tower, just took my breath away! I actually enjoyed it so much more!! Despite my love for this story, I could have done without like the whole disguise yourself as another gender trope. I always know it is going to end badly so I just spend most of the time waiting for the conflict to come. Besides the amazing and beautiful writing, what I did love was that the setting stayed true, there was more Russian folklore mixed in with the story, and that there was more Vasya!
This story has much character growth for Vasya as her character struggles to find herself and learns some difficult lessons. Lessons that come at a personal cost not only to herself but also to her brother Sasha and sister Olya. I was very excited to see that these siblings were included in this story. The relationship between the siblings was strained during this story though because Vasya dealt in half-truths and she did not consider how her misbehaviors would affect the very lives of her siblings. There was some sweet that came from the bitter though and I loved how everything turned out in the end.
I always adore fantasies that are grounded in everyday life and this story delivered that! Vasya has always had the ability to see the spirits and guardians that were a part of everyday life in Russia but they were weakening because of the unbelief that had been taking place over the generations. During her travels, Vasya meets different spirits that she interacts with and I really love that aspect. These spirits play different parts throughout the story and in the end, some are fundamental in the climax.
I also adored that Morozko, the Winter King, had a much deeper part to play in this story. He was a real anti-hero in this tale and I want more of him! He is immortal and he knew what he needed to continue to exist but there were complications that he never expected and he was lost with how to deal with them. Vasya does not help matters any because her dealings with him are very self-centered and it is not until way too late that she learns of a folly that she committed that may have cost Morozko tremendously.
I am eagerly awaiting the third book in this trilogy, The Winter of the Witch. Vasya has definitely come into her own during this story and her youthful aspirations have evolved to something sharper and more focused. I am curious to see where her newfound realizations are going to take her. The Girl in the Tower is a magnificent story filled with beautiful storytelling that took me on an adventure, inspired me, tore at my heart, and left me captivated with my imaginings of where this story will go next. This is a story and series that I cannot recommend enough.
*Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reviewers & Del Rey for this ARC of The Girl in the Tower*