Since The Girl in the Tower is the second book in Katherine Arden’s Winternight trilogy, I will not be posting a summary of The Girl in the Tower. The first book, The Bear and the Nightingale, follows Vasilisa’s upbringing in the snowy, Russian wilderness, where she spends winter nights with her siblings listening to fairy tales. But magic Vasilisa discovers doesn’t just have a home in her nurse’s stories. I have a non-spoiler mini review for The Bear and the Nightingale.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
The Girl in the Tower is one of the few books I knew my bookish soul needed before the end of the year. Autumn and winter inspires me to pick up more fantasy, and with The Winter of the Witch coming out soon (January 8, 2019), it was time to pick up this sequel.I am beyond excited to say that I absolutely loved The Girl in the Tower– maybe even more than the first book—and it’s easily one of the best books that I’ve read in 2018.
I never knew I needed Russian-inspired fantasy before reading The Bear and the Nightingale, and this element again came into play in this second installment. It was actually easier to get acquainted with the Russian terminology and mythical creatures & features this time around. Speaking of more mythical characters, I loved being reunited with Morozko and Solovey. For someone who isn’t the biggest horse rider, I need a Solovey in my life. I really enjoyed Morozko’s role in this installment and I liked the direction of his relationship with Vasya— even with all the heartbreaking moments.
I really enjoyed the third person perspective in The Girl in the Tower because we get to spend a lot of time with Vasya’s siblings who we don’t see as much in the first book, Sasha and Olga. Sasha was one of my favorite characters in The Bear and the Nightingale, and he continued to be in this installment. I liked seeing his love for his family and his role in politics. I also loved Olga, especially loving her and her daughter’s own connection to the title of the book. I’m really excited to see how Marya comes into play in The Winter of the Witch.
I think all of Vasya’s family and Morozko could be characterized by their strength, but I was completely blown away by Vasya. I know kickbutt female characters has become more and more of a common theme in fantasy, but Vasya was such an amazing heroine. Her story in this installment reminded me of Mulan for obvious reasons, but I loved how she proved that being a woman couldn’t stop her from being intelligent and strong. It frustrated me to pieces when Vasya and women overall in this world were limited in what they could do because of their gender, but I understand that it has a lot to do with the historical context.
I completely loved the ending of The Girl in the Tower. Obviously, I am HERE for The Winter of the Witch, but I liked how we didn’t book end cliffhanger and not too many questions unanswered.
Overall, I loved The Girl in the Tower for its characters, unique magic system and setting, and its fast-paced story highlighting the strength of women. The Winter of the Witch is currently my most anticipated release of 2019!
Have you read The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower? Share in the comments!