The Girl in the Tower

Katherine Arden
The Girl in the Tower
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Del Rey
Release Date
December 2017
Book 2 of Winternight Trilogy
Fantasy Romance

Genre: Fantasy

Katherine Arden's enchanting first novel introduced readers to an irresistible heroine. Vasilisa has grown up at the edge of a Russian wilderness, where snowdrifts reach the eaves of her family's wooden house and there is truth in the fairy tales told around the fire. Vasilisa's gift for seeing what others do not won her the attention of Morozko—Frost, the winter demon from the stories—and together they saved her people from destruction. But Frost's aid comes at a cost, and her people have condemned her as a witch.

Now Vasilisa faces an impossible choice. Driven from her home by frightened villagers, the only options left for her are marriage or the convent. She cannot bring herself to accept either fate and instead chooses adventure, dressing herself as a boy and setting off astride her magnificent stallion Solovey.

But after Vasilisa prevails in a skirmish with bandits, everything changes. The Grand Prince of Moscow anoints her a hero for her exploits, and she is reunited with her beloved sister and brother, who are now part of the Grand Prince's inner circle. She dares not reveal to the court that she is a girl, for if her deception were discovered it would have terrible consequences for herself and her family. Before she can untangle herself from Moscow's intrigues—and as Frost provides counsel that may or may not be trustworthy—she will also confront an even graver threat lying in wait for all of Moscow itself.

Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Nov 25, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
78 people found the following review helpful
THE GIRL IN THE TOWER continues the story left off from The Bear and the Nightingale, where Vasya decided to go off adventuring into the world, to avoid the villagers at home who accused her of being a witch and perhaps because she also felt guilt at what had happened to her father. This is still a coming-of-age story, where Vasya tries to find her identity in a world that would suppress her movements and desires, just because women have a "place" in society--either marriage or the convent. Yet, for Vasya, who is wild and spirited and clever and brave, either of these wouldn't have been enough for her. They were traps she wanted to avoid, especially when she holds her independence so dearly.

And so she went forth on her adventure, enabled by Morozko, the frost demon and dare I say, (romantic) hero of this book? I love all their interactions together and I read those scenes over and over, hoping to find some inkling of romantic development. Perhaps there were some, but alas, our hero and heroine are in different places in their lives at this time and our heroine has to "grow up" and lose something first so that she could be on equal footing with him before a truly romantic situation would occur. Perhaps in the next book, and I wait for it with bated breath.

THE GIRL IN THE TOWER is a great adventure sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale, with a bit of mystery and suspense to heighten the mood and the tension. That deciding race--I cringed with Vasya when her identity was finally revealed, yet, despite the humiliation that she suffered, I admire her courage and loyalty when she still did what had to be done to save her family and Moscow.

Vasya is growing up to be an admirable young woman and I can't wait to see what she'd evolve to in the next book. Oh, and there seems to be a bit of family mystery solved here, too, and I was particularly intrigued with the author's statement of how Vasya's life would've been different if she'd known the answer to a question that she asked of Morozko, but because of some distractions, Morozko wasn't able to answer. I can't wait to read the next book!
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