Posted in Book Review

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Read Dates:March 14, 2019 – March 25, 2019
Publication date: December 5, 2017
Source: Owned copy

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After saving the world from a relentless evil in The Bear and the Nightingale, Vasya is cast out by her own villagers and labeled a witch. With little family left and nothing to keep her in her home village of Lesnaya Zemlya, Vasya disguises herself as a young boy and sets out with her magical stallion, Solovey, with every intention to see the world. For, her only other options are to join a convent or be fixed up with a man to marry. But the world away from her home is even more dangerous than she ever could have imagined. Vasya finds herself in Moscow among her brother Sasha, her sister Olga, and her cousin, The Grand Price of Moscow. Now Sasha and Olga must keep the secret of her gender in order to keep their sister safe while The Grand Prince thinks her a boy and has taken a liking to her. He recruits her to help him and his men track down the bandits that have taken to setting villages across the country ablaze, leaving it’s people in ruins and taking the young girls for their own. But these bandits aren’t at all what they seem, and Vasya is about to find out just how dangerous and evil the bandits really are.

Vasya is BACK, bitches!

I honesty cannot get enough of her character. She is, by far, my favorite female lead of all time. Holy moly, she’s good.

So, first off, let me go back to the first book. The Bear and the Nightingale. I saw a lot of hype over the book and it seemed pretty interesting as I LOVE historical fictions that have a “fairy tale” type twist to them. But I WAS NOT prepared for the places this series has taken me. But I just want to thank the people who hyped it up because I never would have discovered it without you guys.

So! Vasya is on the run. She wants to live a life of adventure. She wants to see the world. And, of course, her noble steed, Solovey, will go wherever she goes. She may be met with some grumbles and protests but wave some porridge in the stallion’s face and he’s game for pretty much anything.
What Vasya didn’t count on was how harsh the world can be, and especially in winter. It seems like a good idea, (even to me, the reader) for her to adventure with Solovey but hardships begin to find their way to Vasya.
She stumbles upon a village that has been burnt to the ground. Survivors are quick to label her a bandit and threaten her life. She finds out that the village was ransacked, burned, and select girl children were taken by the bandits. Vasya decides she will track the girls down and bring them back, no matter the cost.

Vasya, Vasya, Vasya. You brave, bull-headed, strong, wonderful girl. I enjoy reading her SO MUCH. For once we’re given a heroic female character who has a good head on her shoulders and doesn’t let things like magic, love, or lust overtake her rationality. She’s already saved the world once, and yet she still feels it is her duty to continue to safeguard innocent lives from the forces of evil. This girl sees conflict and she rides straight into it atop her magical stallion with her head held high and savage words on her tongue awaiting her enemies.

Solovey. I never thought I could come to love a horse in a book as much as I have. He is witty, he is rational, and he loves Vasya fiercely. He would never let anything happen to her. And she him. I love their conversations and the banter we get from the two of them. I also enjoy the way he’s politely asking for porridge at every turn.

Sasha‘s character has grown on me a lot in this book. I liked him in the first and enjoyed the way he watched his little sister with admiration. But now he’s a well respected monk. He is a man of God who is at the beck and call of his cousin, the Grand Prince of Moscow. His character sacrifices a lot in this book to keep his family safe and it was such a wonderful trait to see in him. He cares deeply for his family and it shows in everything he does throughout this book. He and Vasya are the main source for the sense of “family” that you get while reading this book.
It’s clear that Olga also has a strong sense of family but she definitely has less tolerance for Vasya and her strange dealings. She’s a princess, after all, and she has to watch her every move so as to not be cast from her home and her children.

I saved the best for last… Morozko. The frost demon. The winter king. Ughhhh. My list of fictional crushes keeps getting longer and longer. Morozko is somewhere near the top of that list. He cares for Vasya and he delivers her from dangerous situations. He watches her when she’s out on her own. He shows her a vulnerable side of him that shouldn’t exist. HE IS EVERYTHING. I was so glad he was present throughout the book. My favorite parts of The Bear and the Nightingale were the moments where Morozko was present. Back then I was still trying to figure him out and decide if he was good or bad. But now? Don’t even get me started. I NEED MORE MOROZKO. I definitely wouldn’t mind an entire story of him. Just him. Just saying…

I loved how this book showed the struggle of the every day life of these characters no matter what their status. This book was incredibly enchanting but it was also raw and left you fearing for all the characters lives. This story was a dark fairy tale indeed and that’s why I love it so much. This series has easily become one of my all time favorites and I am dizzy with anticipation to read the final chapter in Vasya’s story. Though, I really, REALLY don’t want it to be over.

I love it. I love it I LOVE IT… I love it.

Keri

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