Release Blitz & Review: The Girl in the Tower

The Girl in the Tower (The Winternight Trilogy #2)

by Katherine Arden
Published December 5th 2017 by Del Rey

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

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This is the continuing story of Vasya as she ventures forth int he world after the events of Book #1.  I thought the first book stood well on its own but oh my goodness!  I did not know what I didn't know!  The author once again takes us on an adventure both epic and poignant. A young woman who wants to hold on and respect the old ways of demons and sprites and beings of the earth, yet facing down a world and her family who is moving into Christianity.  A world that wants to hid away and forget the old ways. 

I hesitate to give too much away as the story is still unfolding.  I have my thoughts and my wishes for the final book, but will wait patiently to see what the author brings us.  Rich world building. Well developed secondary charcters. Wonderful sophomore outing by this new author.  If you are looking for a book with a strong female lead, this is the series for you.  Vasya is a times both wild and insightful.  She is good to her core.  She loves her family. She respects the creatures of the land.  She is the bridge into this new world.  

I am so excited to see what the conclusion to this tale is.  As with all fairy tales, there is a message for the reader and hopefully a forever after.   Looking forward to more!

*Complimentary copy provided for an honest review. 

Book 1 in the Trilogy

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.


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Born in Texas, Katherine attended Middlebury College, where she studied French and Russian literature. She has lived abroad in France and in Moscow, and is fluent in both French and Russian. She has also lived in Hawaii, where she spent time guiding horse trips while writing The Bear and the Nightingale. She currently lives in Vermont.


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