Spoiler Free Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Title: The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy #2)

Author: Katherine Arden

Pub. Date: December 5th, 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Publisher: Del Rey

Pages: 363

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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December TBR

Happy FriYay Bookworms!!! I’m so excited for the weekend & no I don’t have any reason in particular other than running as far away as humanly possible from my cubicle at work. It’s been one of those weeks, some of you may have noticed me stepping into your blog posts & hitting like, I always comment but this week work really got their monies worth out of me cuz ya girl practically had to ask to use the bathroom *sobs* Lol! so here I am taking a break from the madness *shhhh don’t tell anyone* to write up my December TBR & now that I’m looking at it i’m beginning to doubt my ability to pull this off but I’m going to try my hardest.

Last month I posted my very first TBR here on Lair Of Books & of the 8 I listed, I only read 4 but this was mainly due to personal family matters. I mentioned briefly in my Wrap-up how November saw me in a position of stepping up to the plate & providing strength & support to my loved ones. We’re definitely playing it more low key this holiday season while we uplift & provide strength to one of our well loved family members. That being said, I may be spending more time on the road during the weekends traveling from New York to New Jersey which means tons of time to read. So, here goes my quite ambitious TBR…

Haunting the Deep

Congratulations to myself! I’ve already completed this read lol, it was actually on my November TBR but I couldn’t get around to it. Well I am SO glad that I picked it up in December cuz it was FANTASTIC! I have a Gush Review in the works & maybe even a aesthetic cause it’s worthy 😉


Girl in the Tower (The Winternight Trilogy #2)

My current read & OBSESSION! last year The Bear and the Nightingale made me a fan of Katherine Arden, this year the sequel will probably solidify my love for this author. The world building is just so vivid and rich, I legit feel transported each & every time I sit down with her books. Vasya aka Vasilisa is back & more fierce than ever! She is hands down one of my all time favorite protogs & I think this quote really captures her spirit…”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?” 


Everless (Untitled #1)

“In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.”—The concept of trading time intrigues the ish outta me so I was over the moon excited to get this galley from Harper, hope to love it cuz that cover is EVERYTHING!


Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet

I’m finding it enjoyable to throw in anthologies into my monthly reading to balance out my Fantasy streaks. This is a collection of Contemporary short stories & I got a bit star struck when I saw the line-up of authors. Really looking forward to reading Dhonielle Clayton, Sona Charaipotra, and Nina LaCour *excited emoji*


Love, Hate, & Other Filters

I have been Dyiiiiiing to read this one! I got a physical arc from the publisher a couple of months ago but I like to read & review closer to publication date so I held off. This is a MUST read for me this month & just based off the feedback I’ve come across, I’m very excited and happy that I requested this title.

“A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape–perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.”


Unearthed (Unearthed #1)

“When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying’s advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.”

Recently I’ve been enjoying Sci-Fi in YA & when I saw Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner were coming out with a book I almost did a back flip LOL! it seems like a short read & I’ve heard it’s also very light & fun which yay for that! 🙂


The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)

The self control I’ve practiced to NOT have devoured this book a few months ago is worthy of a medal smh lol. Next to Love, Hate, and Other Filters this is one I am for certain reading this month. THAT cover!!! *heart eyes* I am really trying to steer clear of reviews & thoughts & whatnot cause I’d like to go in blind and see why this book is making everyone lose their ish haha! 🙂

“Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.”


Whelp! there you have it bookworms! my December TBR will probably make me a hermit but that’s ok cause I can’t deal with snow. Yes, it’s beautiful to look at on days 1-3 but by day 4 in NYC we’re looking at a very different story & so instead I’ll escape to the land of the fae where everything is green & willowy 😉 On another note, are any of these titles on your TBR? Sound off in the comments below <3’s!


#ARCSTRAVAGANZA #5: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

#ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Flavia over @Flavia the Bibliophile where book bloggers/bookstagrammers have a chance to show off their ARCs/eARCs/Galleys!

Hello Readers! This is my 5th week participating in #ARCstravaganza Monday & this week I’ve chosen one of my most highly anticipated sequels of this year!!! *eeeeeK* I still cannot believe I was approved on Netgalley but this truly made the end of last week cuz overall last week was a really sucky week in general. The book Gods definitely blessed me with some magic to make up for my troubles haha! Ok so, last year at NYC Comic Con I picked up a copy of The Bear and the Nightingale (see review here) not knowing that it would be my most favorite score. I read it sometime in December 2016 which btw is PERFECT weather for this read, and I fell in love with the writing & the story. From the opening scene in front of a warm fire to the very end, it felt like I was sitting down for story time every single time I picked it up. The cozy feels are real and I am so thrilled to have a early copy of the sequel The Girl in the Tower! Both the covers for these books are S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G! *heart eyes emoji*

*If you haven’t read The Bear in the Nightingale yet, I’d skip the 411 section after my photo*


The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

 


The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingalecontinues 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.

What are some ARCS/eGalleys you’re excited to have Bookworms? If you’ve participated in #ARCstravaganza this week, please feel free to drop your links & I’ll make my way around <3’s!


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