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The Girl in the Tower (The Winternight Trilogy: Book 2) by Katherine Arden


5 Stars 

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey

Date of publication: December 5th, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Number of pages: 384

POV: 3rd person

Series: The Winternight Trilogy

The Bear and The Nightingale – Book 1 (review here)

The Girl in the Tower – Book 2

Where you can find The Girl in the Tower: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

The magical adventure began 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 live 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.

Trigger Warning: None

My review:

Ever read a book and get completely swept away in it? That is what happened to me in The Girl in the Tower. Call me a cynic but usually, when I read the 2nd book in a series that I enjoy, the book falls flat. There is almost always something missing from it. Or I can’t connect with the characters, even if I did in the earlier books. Not with The Girl in the Tower. I connected with the book right from the beginning. You know when a book can do that then it is worth reading!!

I enjoyed the 3 separate but intertwined storylines that made up the book. They detailed how life was in medieval Russia. From the opulent courts of Russia to the drudgery of being a peasant, the author did a great job bringing them alive. The 3 storylines are all connected to one person, Vasya. Vasya is the backbone of this book.

I loved Vasya in this book. She was strong. I am not talking about psychical strongness either. She was mentally strong. She had to be, considering what she had gone through in the last book and what she went through in this book. She made decisions, while not always right, were right for her. She knew her mind in a time where women were considered chattel. That made her a very dangerous person to men. I got why she didn’t reveal that she was a girl when she was leading the Prince to the barbarians. She would have to conform to their rules. I get it and I admire that the author chose for her to go that path.

The love story between Vasya and Morozko was very interesting. On one hand, I could see why the author didn’t progress it beyond a few kisses. I got it. It would be weird. But I wished that it did. I do agree with Morozko’s mare when she told him to forget Vasya. But he couldn’t leave her alone. He was feeling things for her that a frost demon/death god shouldn’t feel. That made it dangerous for him because he became more human.

The end of the book was heartbreaking but uplifting at the same time. I do think that Vasya should have been more upfront with Sasha and Olga about what exactly happened to her father and stepmother. That would have saved a lot of heartbreak on all sides. But, Vasya did redeem herself and was given a great honor by Olga. I can’t wait to read book 3.

The Girl in the Tower is a mystical read. I was taken on a journey through medieval Russia with all its lore. This is a wonderfully written story that will keep you glued to the book. I am thankful that the author included a glossary and an afterward about Russian names. I was a little confused about the different names each person was called and that afterward summed it up perfectly. This is a book that I will read again in the future and I cannot wait to read book 3.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Older teen

Why: Violence. No language or sex. There is a very explicit scene of a woman giving birth to a stillborn baby.

I would like to thank Katherine Arden, Random House Publishing Group, Del Ray and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Girl in the Tower.

All opinions stated in The Girl in the Tower are mine

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

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