Originally published: 9th August 2018 (UK Paperback)
Author: Katherine Arden
Published by: Del Ray
Genre: Historical fantasy
Page count: 346
Reading dates: 1-6 August 2018
Star Rating: 5/5
Today is my turn for the blog tour of The Girl in the Tower which was published in the UK in paperback this week!
I read this straight after reading the previous book, The Bear and the Nightingale and I have to say, I enjoyed this even more!
This book continues straight after the first left off: Vasya has left her home in the Russian wilderness after events have led her to be called a witch. Planning to see the world on her horse, Solovey, dressed as a boy for her safety, she comes upon a village that has been burned and many of the villagers murdered. She learns that bandits came to the village and after destroying it, took 3 young girls away. Vasya soon finds the bandits responsible, rescues the girls and stumbles upon a walled monastery.
There she finds her brother Sasha, who left for Moscow to become a monk when she was a child. He is there with the Grand Prince of Moscow on the look out for the bandits. Vasya declares herself as the younger brother of Sasha, the lie is believed and she is hailed a hero for rescuing the girls.
This book has everything a well written fairy-tale should have – princesses, demons, spirits, ghosts, danger, magic and even a touch of romance. The cultural aspects are interesting – girls are certainly not expected to be travelling alone and it is Sasha’s fears of his sister being declared a mad woman that makes him go along with her lie. Women are expected to either marry and have children or to live in a convent. Her elder sister Olga who lives in a palace in Moscow is herself expected to stay hidden away as is her daughter until she marries.
Vasya is a brave, reckless but thoroughly likeable heroine. The relationship between her horse Solovey whom she can talk to and understand is so touching and humourous – the love they have for each other is moving. She is not a typically beautiful heroine which makes a nice change, and she certainly doesn’t feel she needs a man in her life! I hope this independence continues into the third instalment!
For lovers of Philip Pullman and His Dark Materials series, this is a thoroughly exciting book – the plot rushes from one threat to the next and kept me tripping over the pages to read it as quickly as possible. I can’t wait for book three of the Winternight trilogy, the Winter of the Witch which is due in January 2019.
Thank you to Anne Cater and Ebury publishing for the opportunity to read this and take part in the blog tour.
About the author:
Katherine Arden (born 1987) is an American novelist, best known for the Winternight trilogy. Arden was born in Austin and currently resides in Vermont. She spent a year in Moscow after high school before returning to Vermont. She attended Middlebury College, graduating with a degree in Russian and French in 2011. Her first novel The Bear and the Nightingale was published in 2017, followed by The Girl in the Tower in 2018. The third book in the series, The Winter of the Witch, will be published in early 2019.
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