11th December, 2018

Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

This is part two of Katherine Arden's Winternight Trilogy and it is just as magical as the first book in the series. We follow tomboy Vasya, who has grown into a young woman, as she flees from home after the events of the first book and eventually is called upon to help defend the city of Moscow against dark and magical forces. 

The story of The Girl in the Tower has everything I enjoyed about the first novel and so much more. The plot is much more fast-paced and Vasya has grown into an amazingly versatile character. She is an adult now and wiser while still retaining her spirited side. Magical realism is blended in with historical fact, which is something that I loved in particular as it lends so much depth to the story and provides an atmosphere that seems to be unique to Arden's series. Place and space have important roles in these books and the author manages to evoke such vivid images of the wintery woods and the wide landscapes of the Russian taiga and tundra that it feel like you are right there with Vasya on her journey. At the same time, the novel is a commentary on the restricted realm of women in these times: the differences in the lives of Olga and Vasya couldn't be greater - while one is living behind enforced palace walls, the other is literally part of nature. 

While The Bear and the Nightingale was more like a slow-burning but comforting fairy tale, The Girl in the Tower is a legend of daring adventures. It is the perfect book for cold winter nights and cosy evenings with open fires and a glass of cider.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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