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The Girl in The Tower: (Winternight Trilogy) Paperback – 9 Aug 2018
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"With its beautiful storytelling and fiercely independent heroine fighting to be in charge of her own story, Katherine Arden's series finally fills a gap long left empty by Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. Full of snowy Russian legends come to life, the lights and political intrigue of medieval Moscow, beautiful princes and monks with swords, Arden's writing is striking in its loveliness and impressive in its storytelling instincts." (ANNA JAMES)
"A captivating folktale-inspired adventure laden in mystery, magic and myth, it's the story of Vasya, one of the punchiest heroines I've encountered this year" (THE POOL)
"This is a sumptuous and beautiful literary fairytale taking inspiration from Russian myths and fairytales, about a woman challenging expected gender norms in her world." (Stylist)
"A stunning sequel to the darkly magical The Bear and the Nightingale. The fierce, free-spirited heroine of this fabulous fable, Vasya, rejects the usual choices of marriage or the convent and, following accusations of witchcraft, flees her small village of Lesnaya Zemlya in northernmost Russia with the intention of seeing the world. Entirely enthralling" (5 stars S Magazine)
"An enthralling sequel...this twist on a classic fairytale overflows with rich language. The perfect wintry read. 5 Stars" (THE SUN)
About the Author
Born in Austin, Texas, Katherine Arden spent her junior year of high school in Rennes, France.
Following her acceptance to Middlebury College in Vermont, she deferred enrolment for a year in order to live and study in Moscow. At Middlebury, she specialized in French and Russian literature.
After receiving her BA, she moved to Maui, Hawaii, working every kind of odd job imaginable, from grant writing and making crêpes to serving as a personal tour guide. After a year on the island, she moved to Briançon, France, and spent nine months teaching. She then returned to Maui, stayed for nearly a year, then left again to wander. Currently she lives in Vermont, but really, you never know.
She is the author of The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower. These novels make up the first two parts of The Winternight Trilogy.
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One woman who doesn't intend to be married off and shut away in a tower is the heroine, Vasya, who has been exiled from her home village following the events of the last book. Vasya's refusal to submit to the life of a 'girl in a tower' is an important theme of this second novel. Readers will be pleased that her sister Olga and brother Sasha have bigger parts to play in this novel, after being introduced in the first but then going out of it when they moved away. There are also the return of many other familiar characters - the conflicted priest Konstantin, Vasya's horse Solovey, and Morozhko the frost demon. New characters also arrive - mysterious prince Kasyan and Olga's spirited daughter Marya.
There is action from the start, and it's a novel packed with event and that bowls along at a good pace. It's hard to put down so don't start reading if you've got some important chore you need to get done! It's easy to read and draws you in, the sort of book you hurry home to read and sit up late to have 'just one more chapter'. In terms of storyline, it does feel a bit of a bridging novel in some ways - to get us from the opener to the big finale - but it's still good enough to deserve a five star rating. At times Vasya's behaviour crossed the line from high-spirited to plain stupid, but hopefully that's just to give her a character arc.
If you love fantasy, it's a must read. If you are indifferent about fantasy and only read the very best, this is one of the very best. If you don't like fantasy but do like fast paced novels with characters are care about, you might just find this is an exception to prove the rule. I hope Arden is writing hard on the third and final novel as I'm certainly eager to read it!
I absolutely adored The Bear and the Nightingale so I had incredibly high expectations for The Girl in the Tower and thankfully Katherine Arden didn't disappoint. The sequel had everything I loved about the first book and more and I was immediately sucked back into Vasya's world. These stories are just so atmospheric and really make you feel like you've taken a step back in time to medieval Russia and I enjoy exploring that world through Vasya's eyes. She's a great character who is so independent and who wants to live life on her own terms no matter how restricted women's lives were at that time. That reckless streak does get her in trouble on more than one occasion and it also makes things extremely difficult for her siblings but I could understand her desire for more than marriage or life in a convent.
Morozoko continues to be one of my favourite characters and we get to see a lot more of his history in this instalment of the series. I'm enjoying finding out more about his character and I'm not going to lie, I'm totally rooting for him and Vasya to end up together! This series is going from strength to strength and I can't wait to see how it ends in The Winter of the Witch.