THE GIRL IN THE TOWER (Winternight trilogy #2)
Written by Katherine Arden
Published by Del Rey, December 5, 2017
My star rating – 4 stars
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. Find it on Goodreads
The first book in this series, The Bear and the Nightingale, was one of my favourites a few years ago. I loved the enchanted setting, the retelling of the Goblin King, the magical creatures, and the tale of a strong young girl in a time where quiet and obedience was more accepted. It was truly a beautiful read! But I had fears that this book wouldn’t live up to my expectations. In this sequel, Vasya is forced to leave her home and decide her fate. Marriage or a convent seemed to be her only two options, but she isn’t suited to either. So she goes in search of her siblings while, at the same time, struggles to keep her abilities hidden so not to be labeled as a witch. I worried that the atmosphere would change and we would lose all the folklore and fantasy that was so well written in the first book.
In the beginning – I was right. The beginning of this book was a struggle for me. It just felt totally different than the first book. She leaves everything behind and is travelling through the woods to find her siblings. She’s forced to dress as a boy in order to protect herself, and fights to save her life. I don’t know if it was that it was different from the first book or that I waited so long to get to the sequel, but I really didn’t enjoy the beginning of this book. It wasn’t until she finally meets up with her brother that I really fell in love.
Family was such a big part of the first book, so when she finally meets up with her brother and sister, it feel like a homecoming. Vasya falls back into place and we see more of the person that we fell in love with in book one. She stops having to be so strong and brave, and we see the soft and loving side of her once again. We also get more of how her siblings are dealing with their own lives. They both have very specific chosen paths, and they’re very different from Vasya. They don’t understand her, or her abilities, and they really struggle to see where she’s coming from. This book focuses a lot on their love, acceptance, and understanding of Vasya, and it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!
I’m also very glad to say that we got more of the Frost King!! He is such a beautiful mystery. The things he feels for Vasya is so conflicting to his nature and we got more of his internal turmoil as he fights his true nature against what Vasya brings out in him. We also get more detail of the many beings she sees and what their purpose is. I think that I actually enjoyed the magical and fantastical elements even more with this story!
Katherine Arden is quickly becoming a favourite! Her writing is so rich and atmospheric. I love how she weaves her characters, the plot, and all the magical elements together. They all feel intertwined, rich, and full. I feel that she writes with such passion and emotion – you can just feel it in your heart!
As much as I struggled with the beginning, I think I may have liked this one more than the first! I’m loving Vasya’s journey in finding herself as she grows into womanhood and I can’t wait to see what happens in book 3! This time I won’t wait so long to get to it!
Until next time, happy reading!