Book Review

THE GIRL IN THE TOWER and THE WINTER OF THE WITCH by Katherine Arden

Series Rating: 5 / 5

THE GIRL IN THE TOWER By Katherine Arden was a my pick for the Reading Women Challenge book inspired by folkore. I read the first book in the Winternight Trilogy for a reading challenge in 2018 and loved it, but never got around to picking up the rest of the series. It did take me a while after starting THE GIRL IN THE TOWER to remember exactly where the first book (THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE) left off, so when I finished and loved this second installment I decided to pick up THE WINTER OF THE WITCH from the library right away to finish off the trilogy. It is always so hard to review series installments without giving spoilers for the previous books. so I decided I’d give you a bit of a review of the series as a whole.

THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE kicks off the trilogy following Vasilisa, a young woman living in the Russian wilderness. She grows up enraptured with the stories her nurse tells her of the Frost, the winter demon who shows up to escort away the dead. Vasilisa’s world is full of creatures from folklore, spirits who protect the home and its inhabitants. The larger world around her is growing away from such beliefs turning instead to religion which turns its back on the old ways even as their world starts to falter without the former protections.

Vasilisa is a girl who has a stronger connection to the world of the supernatural, able to see things the people around her cannot. As such she is persecuted for her abilities and beliefs and faced with many dangers. As the series continues Vasilisa’s ability to embrace the “real” world and the alternate worlds grows and she is called on to save more than just the little town she begins in.

This story is beautifully written. I have read a combination of print and audio for these books, relying on audio almost entirely for the third book and I highly recommend the audio! The author builds beautiful worlds, both in a more historical view of Russia with small villages and big cities and the alternate worlds where Vasilisa travels where magic and magical creatures are much more prevalent.

This is definitely a dark fairy tale with violence, war and battle scars for many. Even so, it is beautifully written with well nuanced characters It is a great winter read with a focus on the Frost demon and the winter-ey world where much of the story takes place.

Reading Challenge Categories:

#ReadingWomenChallenge – A book inspired by folklore

#nerdreading2020 – An audiobook

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