Title: The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy #2)
Author: Katherine Arden
Pub. Date: December 5th, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Publisher: Del Rey
Format: eGalley & Physical ARC
Words? what are they? I seriously don’t think I can do this book justice but because I feel EVERYONE should read this trilogy, I will pull myself together & let you all know why Katherine Arden is a force to be reckoned with. I thought Arden’s debut The Bear and the Nightingale was AMAZING! If this author never wrote anything again, I would’ve been saddened but also would’ve felt like I had found a diamond I could treasure for the rest of my life! a lush & vivid world I can see myself returning to on a cold winter night year after year. I was NOT expecting to be blown away by its sequel The Girl in the Tower! not only has our MC grown since the last time we saw her but the world itself has expanded & developed to give us readers a better picture of Vasya’s travels & adventures outside her small village & woods. We last left off with Vasya having no choice but to leave her only known home once she was labeled a witch. It was expected that she’d be sent to her sister Olya in Moscow to be paired off in marriage & spend her days with the other women who live in a tower child rearing & running their households. Vasya however has never had an interest in these things & could never be tied down for the rest of her days. Having always found comfort in “boys clothing” she finds she can see the world without restrictions.
Choosing instead to map out her own destiny, Vasya sets off into the woods on her horse Solovey. If The Bear and the Nightingale was mostly world-building & the fleshing out of characters, this follow-up introduces a fast paced plot while also balancing & building upon its predecessor. Villages are being pillaged and burned, their little girls are being stolen away from their families. Vasya finds herself in the middle of it all as she fights the bandits and eventually captures the attention of the Grand Prince of Moscow with her bravery. We follow Vasya as she uncovers the sinister forces threatening the kingdom all whilst keeping her true identity hidden.
Vasya- still holds the title of my Most Favorite MC in all of Fantasy! Her independence, self worth, bravery, fierceness and determination not to conform to society’s gender norms speak to my soul. In The Bear and the Nightingale we are introduced to a young Vasya who is considered very wild and rebellious. In this follow-up, we get to see how much she’s matured while still staying true to who she is at her core. I loved seeing older Vasya experience new things and emotions.
”Sudden anger burned out Vasya’s gathering hurt. She pushed back her chair and stood again. “I am not your dog”, she snapped. “You May tell me to go home, but I may choose not to. Do you think that is all I want, in all my life—a royal dowry, and a man to force his children into me?”
Morozko aka Frost Demon aka King of Winter – Morozko plays a integral role in this story but it wasn’t until this follow-up that I truly grew to love this character. Think of him a mix of Father Winter & Grimm Reaper, his broodiness was on another level & for some reason I found this to be so endearing smh #dontjudgeme haha!
Solovey – My fave character in this whole book is Solovey who is Vasya’s horse & UGH! my heart can’t contain the love I have for this sassy four legged creature! besides the sass he is SUPER protective & loyal to Vasya which is always admirable.
Sasha aka Aleksandr – Vasya’s older brother who also decided to carve his own path & become a monk. This however doesn’t mean he is a peaceful monk lol, Sasha can be found protecting his cousin The Grand Prince which means swords a plenty. I LOVE the sibling relationship between Vasya and Sasha, moments where he wishes she’d just conform to the norm & marry but then quickly realizes that the thought alone sounds absurd. Sasha accepts & many times admires Vasya on the battlefield. He’s seriously the brother I wish I’d always had 🙂
Olya – Vasya’s older sister, last we heard of her she had gotten married and left to Moscow to tend to her household. Olya has always been sort of a mother figure to her siblings so it was interesting seeing her very different relationship with Vasya. Olya loves all of her siblings & doesn’t always understand the things they do but she’s always represented home for them.
Marya – One of the newest characters introduced towards the end, Marya is Olya’s young daughter. Although she didn’t have a huge role in this book, we get the feeling there will be more to her story. Marya is free spirited just like Vasya & as such looks up to her aunt. I got a vivid picture of young Marya who will remind many of the Vasya we were first introduced to however, she is definitely more outspoken 😉
Last but definitely not least are the spirits aka Chyerti you will find hidden in the ovens, bath houses, horse stables, and door yards. These are perhaps some of my most favorite characters in this world. I’m totally considering leaving an offering in my oven to see if my Domovoi shows up *fingers crossed* 😉
It comes as no surprise that I am absolutely OBSESSED with Katherine Arden’s writing! I would’ve never guessed when I was handed a copy of the book by the author herself at Comic Con that she was giving me the BEST gift ever! I can think of no other books that better capture the magic and beauty of winter. A cozy blanket on a cold winter night is what I always use to describe this book to my book blogging buddies & wrap you up it will. Many who found The Bear and the Nightingale to be on the slower side might find themselves really enjoying the faster paced plot in The Girl in the Tower. I for one don’t mind a slow paced world as long as it’s rich & inviting like these are. Also, there is a clear cut villain this time which felt like the connecting puzzle piece & I just loved seeing it all come together. I am SUPER STOKED for The Winter of the Witch in 2018!!! as sad as I’m sure I will be to see it end, I am confident Katherine Arden will give us all a EPIC ending to this amazing trilogy 🙂
*Many thanks to Del Rey, Netgalley, and Katherine Arden for the eGalley copy of The Girl in the Tower in exchange for an honest review.
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