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12.05.2017

The Girl in the Tower ~ Review

The Girl in the Tower
The Winternight Trilogy #2
By Katherine Arden

This is the delightful sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale. Picking up where the previous book ended with Vasya returning to the hidden forest home of Morozko. But this is not the beginning of this part of the story.

Remote peasant villages are being destroyed - burned to the ground, peasants killed, and select girls spirited away. But all traces of these marauders vanish almost as soon as they leave as if they had never been. Vasya's brother Sasha with the Grand Prince of Moscow Dmitrii Ivanovich upon receiving a plea for help in hunting this threat head out into the wildness. But nothing of these bandits can be discovered until a lone horse bearing a most unusual and unexpected rider.

Fleeing her home following the death of her father and her sole protection Vasya has determined to see the world that lies beyond what she has always known. Morozko warns against such a dangerous undertaking but Vasya being Vasya pays little heed to his efforts to turn her to home. The world is full of wonders that she never imagined and unexpected dangers. When her path crosses that of her brother Vasya presents herself as the brother that Sasha left behind eight years previous.

Soon Vasya is on the road to Moscow at the side of Sasha and Dmitrii. But disguising herself as a young man comes with its own dangers and more than her life is at risk if she cannot keep her secret. But keeping in the shadows and not drawing attention to her very person is not something Vasya excels at. But Moscow needs Vasya and her gift of sight. For a threat has come to the kingdom and no one seems able to see its true source.

If Vasya's true identity is revealed all could be lost and Moscow could fall into the hands of an ancient foe.

In a world in which women were expected to marry or enter the convent, Vasya is an oddity. She refuses to be something other than what she wants to be but her defiance could cost her everything. This is a medieval Russian fairytale that is filled with a hidden spirit world that is losing ground in the minds of the people. But Vasya's life has been filled with the listening of these tales and unlike most she believes.

The Girl in the Tower is for those who have a fondness for tales of folklore and impossible love. Set in Russia before the days of the Czar this story has a feel about it that captivates the reader as Vasya learns who she is at her heart. Morozko is a character that one can't get a true feel for but he is of two personalities - the being Vasya knows and the being of lore.

If you have not yet read The Bear and the Nightingale it is a must to read this book first. Without this background, one will not fully grasp the story or the characters and how they fit together in this setting. With winter soon to be upon us what better way to appreciate a warm cup of cider and a cozy blanket than to enter the world of the winter-king.

I was provided an advanced review copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a review positive or otherwise. All opinions expressed are my own.


About the Book:
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.