The Girl in the Tower (The Winternight Trilogy #2) by Katherine Arden


“You are immortal, and perhaps I seem small to you,” she said at last fiercely. “But my life is not your game.”

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

Author: Katherine Arden

Rating: ★★★★★

Publication Date: December 5, 2017

Amazon    Barnes and Noble   Book Depository

  1. The Bear and the Nightingale  ★★★★★

The Bear and the Nightingale is one of my favorite books so of course, I was beyond excited to reread The Girl in the Tower. If Bear and the Nightingale is a breathtaking fairy tale, than The Girl in the Tower is an epic adventure. 

The Girl in the Tower picks up right where The Bear and the Nightingale ended. Vasya needs to make a choice: go to the convent or marry. But for Vasya, she chooses a third option: travel the world with Solovey. But it’s hard to travel as an unmarried female, so Vasya travels disguised as a boy. Although Vasya enjoys the freedom, she is still grieving the loss of her father. It is hard to travel alone and soon Vasya runs into people who need her help. Unable to do anything but help others in need, Vasya is once again put back into society. 

Vasya then crosses paths with her older brother Sasha, who had become a monk and her sister Olga, who has married a prince and has a family of her own. Meeting her siblings unexpectedly forces Vasya to keep up the disguise of being a boy. This creates some tension for Vasya and her older siblings who have also not seen her in over 10 years.

Most of this story takes place in Moscow and it is very much different from the life Vasya is used to in the wilderness of Northern Russia. The kind creatures she has been so used to are powerless in the more modern world of Moscow. Vaysa has yet to find out what her disguise means for her siblings and their lives in Moscow. Betrayal is coming and Vasya will soon discover the city is not at all as it seems.

“I did not know I was lonely, she thought, until I was no longer alone.”

Once again I found myself really connected to the story because of three things: the characters arcs, the setting and the overall themes of the story.

This series has some of the best characters, I’ve ever read.  While Bear and the Nightingale had Vasya growing physically, Girl in the Tower has Vasya growing emotionally. I think her growth as a character really shined in this sequel. We see Vasya struggle with her loneliness, her family and a new city. She discovers her lies and half-truths have real consequences to her, her family and for Moscow.

But it’s not just Vasya, Katherine Arden is able to create a beautiful world filled with some of the most interesting characters. Not a single character is wasted in terms of development. We get more frost demon, Morozko!! With his much bigger role, Morozko was able to give us great balance to Vasya’s wildfire spirit. We learn more about him and his motives for always coming to Vasya’s aid. 

“Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory of the other: of a life left unchosen.”

It’s been two months since I read this last, and I already want to read it again. The setting for this sequel has changed a little, with us being in Moscow. But it’s still just as atmospheric. You feel how old and new Moscow is to Vasya. Rich and descriptive, you will think you are actually transported into the world Katherine Arden has created.

“Do you think that is all I want, in all my life— a royal dowry, and a man to force his children into me”

The Themes!!! Vasya is the biggest feminist, ahead of her time.  She has never tried to follow social norms and her clear want for freedom is so prevalent in Girl in the Tower. This whole series is about a girl who refuses to conform to gender roles and just wants to travel. I mean what an icon. She knew traveling would be hard for a women, so she disguises herself as a boy. She risked her life to save other girls who had been kidnapped. Vasilisa Petrovna’s entire character is wrapped around this theme of gender roles and social norms. It’s what makes her a great protagonist. She’s independent, strong-willed. She’s not afraid to fail and she does fail a lot in this book. She knows the risks of being unwed, but it’s worth it to her to find her own happiness.

“A woman married. Or she became a nun. Or she died. That was what being a women meant. What then, was she?”

Her step-mother acted as a foil for Vasya’s attitude towards magic and tradition. But in this sequel, it’s her sister who acts as the foil. The opposites of having a family vs wanting to be free. While Olga misses some of her freedoms, she does understand her sense of duty to her family and her role as a woman. Whereas, Vasya clearly wants to be free of the burdens of being married. I absolutely love the way Arden uniquely, creates tension between the sisters centered on this plot device. Honestly, I could talk about Vasya until I’m blue in the face.

This series, this book, these characters mean everything to me. If there’s one series I wish I could reread over again for the first time, it’s this one. Do yourself some self-care and pick up this book. Come fall in love with a frost demon, a talking horse, and a girl who just wants freedom.

Twitter                           Instagram                              Goodreads

Anticipated reads of 2019: January- April

Hello! Just a few weeks left of December and 2018 so I thought it would be a good time to look ahead to 2019 and some of my most anticipated reads. I am so ready for my heart to be put through the wringer with some of these books. Click each title to find its Goodreads page and I’ll be listing my thoughts on each book as well 🙂

JANUARY

Title: The Gilded Wolves

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Publication Date: January 15, 2018 by Wednesday Books

Thoughts: “It’s heist day” I think Roshani has some of the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read and I can’t wait to finally devour this book. This cover is stunning. 

Title: White Stag

Author: Kara Barbieri

Publication Date: January 8, 2018 by Wednesday Books

Thoughts:  “young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human” SIGN ME UP! This sounds like the perfect winter read.

Title: Dragon Pearl

Author: Yoon Ha Lee

Publication Date: January 15, 2018 by Rick Riordan Presents

Thoughts: I loved Aru, and Storm Runner. So I’m super pumped for Dragon Pearl. There’s Fox spirits and Korean Mythology. 

FEBRUARY

Title: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2)

Author: Laura Sebastian

Publication Date: February 5, 2018 by Delacorte Press

Thoughts: Not going to lie. I read Ash Princess in like October 2017. So I don’t really remember all that happened, but I do remember how intense the ending was. So I guess I need to reread it before Lady Smoke comes out. 

Title: Courting Darkness 

Author: Robin Lafevers

Publication Date: February 5, 2019 by HMH books for Young Readers

Thoughts: I really liked Grave Mercy. Yes I know I need to read the second and third. But I can’t wait for this new Duology. Let me read all the books about assassin nuns. 

Title: Crown of Feathers

Author: Nicki Pau Preto

Publication Date: February 12, 2019 by Simon Pulse

Thoughts: This cover, though. A girl disguised as a boy while riding a Phoenix. I’m so in. This book has been getting a lot of buzz. So I’m really hoping I enjoy it. 

MARCH

Title: The Fever King 

Author: Victoria Lee

Publication Date: March 1, 2019 by Skyscape

Thoughts: This cover is so pretty I could cry. This is one of my top anticiapated books. Is it gay? Political? I freaking hope so.

Title: Once and Future

Author: Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

Publication Date: March 5, 2019 by Little, Brown and Company

Thoughts: A genderbent Arthurian tale. This cover. Amy Rose Capetta. Do I need to say more?

Title: The Waking Forest

Author: Alyssa Wees

Publication Date: March 12, 2019 by Delacorte Press

Thoughts: This book sounds so wonderfully creepy. It just sounds like Labyrinth and I’m ready. A creepy fairy tale is all I want to read in 2019.

APRIL

Title: The Raven’s Tale

Author: Cat Winters

Publication Date: April 16, 2019 by Amulet Books

Thoughts: I.Love.Edgar. Allen. Poe. So a retelling about Poe is always on my list of books I need to read. Poe and his muse. PLUS CAT FREAKING WINTERS!!! Sold.

Title: The Devouring Gray

Author: Christine Lynn Herman

Publication Date: April 2, 2019 by Disney- Hyperion

Thoughts: This cover is one of the spookiest things I’ve ever seen. Like the temporary cover did not mentally prepare me for this. Stranger Things meets the Raven Cycle. Is there anything else we need in this world?

Title: King of Fools (The Shadow Game #2)

Author: Amanda Foody

Publication Date: April 30, 2019 by Inkyard Press

Thoughts: Ace of Shades is a book that was iffy for me until the very end when all the stuff happened. So now I’m pumped for King of Fools because there’s so many questions I have.


Well there we have it! You notice some books missing but this was for books I have yet to read. My real anticipated list from Jan-Apr has quite a lot of books on them so I’m going to be very busy the first half of the year and I’m excited! What are some books you can’t wait to read in 2019? 

Twitter                                Goodreads                            Instagram