The Girl in the Tower

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Feb 2018

Member Reviews

After listening to The Bear And The Nightingale, Arden’s first book of the Winter Night Trilogy, OF COURSE I needed to listen to The Girl In The Tower, which is the sequel. Also? I downloaded The Girl In The Tower from Volumes way before I had even put a hold on The Bear And The Nightingale at the library. However, it is kind of weird to read series books out of order (I do not recommend) and so, I had to wait. Thankfully, the first book is so good that I really was happy to continue on with this series.

Clearly, The Girl In The Tower picks up where The Bear And The Nightingale leaves off. This time, the story opens with Olga telling a story to children about a married couple making a girl out of snow to be their child, as that couple is childless (much like Olga). So, I kind of like that this book also opens with a fairytale. I am not anticipating book three, The Winter Of The Witch to open with a fairytale as well. So, in this book, Vasya is no longer at her home because everyone thinks she is a witch (no one has accused her of turning them into a newt). So, she’s riding around with her horse, Solovey. Eventually, she is honored by her sister’s husband as a hero – but he thinks she’s a boy. All sorts of things HAPPEN. And now I am on these tenterhooks for book three.

OF COURSE I LOVED IT. I mean, yeah okay it is the second book in a trilogy and I am desperate for more. But you guys! There’s one of my favorite tropes – a girl who dresses as a boy and has ADVENTURES. Heck yes, I am here for it. HERE FOR IT. But also, the writing is quite good. The characterization and development is right where I need it to be. And plus, I am ready and prepared for the final book.

Kathleen Gati also narrates The Girl In The Tower, just as she did The Bear And The Nightingale. Honestly, my opinion of her narrating has not changed from book to book in this series. This audiobook is 13 hours and 2 minutes long. Otherwise, yeah, I liked the audiobook, but I want to read this physically myself again.
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I adore this series so much. Can't wait for book 3.  One of my top reads of the year. Love the world Arden has created - and blending in Russian folk lore in such beautiful and fascinating way.  Highly recommend! 

I received an copy of this book curtesy of NetGalley,Random House and Ebury Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  My deepest thanks for allowing me early access to this. Loved this one more than the first -which book one was my top read of 2016.
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I put off reading this book for months. I loved the first book so much and I couldn't dream how Arden could pull off a second book that was anywhere near as good as the first. At some point, I finally knew I could put it off no longer, so I pulled out the first book again and did a reread. Oh. My. Gosh. I loved it even more the the 2nd time, so my anxiety (yes I sometimes have anxiety over books....don't judge me for that I won't judge you because you don't! #justsaying). I forced myself to start this book. 

At 20% I was just...well....heck....what can I say...I was surprised....I was honestly loving it even more. I knew there was no way the 2nd book could be even has as wonderful as the first...yet somehow it was turning out EVEN BETTER!!!! I was terrified to ask my friends who loved the first book to read see if they would feel the same way....I spent page after page wanting to rush and ask them to read this and the need to keep silent so I didn't jinx it...At about 30% the need to share my love won out...I let the world know I was in love! I was crushed with myself...I KNEW I had ruined it and jinxed the novel...that it would all go downhill quickly...At 70%I couldn't believe all of the emotions I was 75% I had to stop reading and take a half day off from reading...I couldn't slow down enough to make sure I didn't miss anything...I was just loving it so much that I wanted to race heedlessly to the I forced myself to set it aside for most of the day to calm myself...

What can I say? There's no way I can express all the wonder in this book. No way to explain why this is so much better than the first book. I don't even know why....well...sure...I mean, there's the part of spending more time with Vasya...and the Winter King...But seriously...I just can't do a review to put all of my feelings into words...So different from the first book...but also so much the same...less of a made-up fairytale feel and more of a real-life fairytale....yes perhaps that's it...instead of just wanting a warm cozy fire nearby reading the first book, this book I found myself snuggling deep within the covers...of both the book and my bed...Every time that Morozko spoke I felt the kiss of the cool fresh air of first light on cold winter's morn...

See, I am rambling...I am like some over stimulated child that has had too many sweets and too much excitement all in one day...

I loved this book so very much that I am ALREADY having anxiety through the roof about the third book...I just want to keep these characters near...I woke up with morning (after staying up past midnight to finish this novel!) knowing I had dreamt of horses and domovoi...

I just want to be one of those crazed fans and run out and meet Katherine Arden and thank her for the beauty she has brought into my world. For making me all the wonderful things this book brings to me...that magic does exist....that love is the greatest gift...that there are those that will sacrifice anything for the right cause....that loyalty can't be bought...nor sold...that kindness matters...the list goes on and on....and honey oat cakes...I want to bake her honey oat cakes over an open flame...and FFS I don't even know what those are!!!

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review
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This was a satisfying follow-on to The Bear and the NIghtingale, full of twists and emotional moments. I'm excited to see what's next from Katherine Arden!
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This is a much darker tale, remaining faithful to Russian history, whilst drawing on the supernatural magic of its folklore. Arden is a gifted writer, creating a deeply compelling narrative simply drenched in atmosphere that blends the differing threads present in the novel beautifully. She makes the period come alive, the growing influence of Christianity, the strongly entrenched prejudices and attitudes to women, the battles for power and land, and the prominence of the dark fairytales that enchant, like that of the snow child. Vasya is tested to her deepest core, and emerges as woman who knows what she wants and an awareness of the depth of her emotional feelings. She has to negotiate the complexities of sibling relationships and the fantastical world, learning the hard way about the nature of the medieval world she is a part of. All in all, this has turned out to be a worthy sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale, a superlative read that I cannot recommend highly enough.
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Wonderful addition to the series that began with the Bear and The Nightingale. Beautifully written and fast-paced. Enthralling and entrancing.
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The Girl in the Tower is the second book in the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden. Published by Random House - Ballantine in ebook, hardback and paperbound formats, it was released 5th December, 2017.

I had devoured the first book in the series, The Bear and the Nightingale , and looked eagerly forward to the next book(s). This one certainly lived up to the promise of the first book. The author's facility with plotting and characterization are flawless. The prose is ethereal and powerful at the same time. These books have a sense of timelessness and almost dreamlike fairy-tale feeling. I loved the gravitas with occasional glimpses of puckishness of ageless Morozko and especially the interactions between them and between Solovey and Vasya.

There is an aching beauty in the writing and the book was just a completely enchanting read from first to last. I could not imagine enjoying it more.

Five stars, wonderful wonderful book. Can't wait for the third book, The Winter of the Witch, due out in 2019.
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Great sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale - I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series!
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I’m not sure what it is, but I just can’t seem to love Arden’s books the way other people do. I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Bear and the Nightingale but I still hoped the sequel would win me over.

In this book, Vasya heads off to Moscow to avoid going to the convent or being set up for marriage. I appreciate how she fights for the life she wants to live and commend her for it, but her headstrong personality often does more harm than good for herself and those around her. I love that Vasya challenges the system but there are times when her actions are so selfishly done that it becomes ridiculously reckless. I want to care about Vasya and everything she believes in but I just… don’t, and this connection is what makes it so difficult for me to care about her story.

There’s no question about how well Arden writes fantasy and historical fiction together. The amount of research she’s done about the time period is one of the biggest strengths of the book. I’m just not a big fan of mid 14th century Russia and find it very disconcerting to read about men’s treatment of women, misguided religious fanatics, and women’s treatment of women. I understand this is what life was like back then, but I’m making the choice not to live it through the book.

I think fans of The Bear and the Nightingale will still enjoy this sequel. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for me and I’m probably not going to continue with the series.
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I liked this book even better than the original. I thought all of the characters were engaging and the plot moved much quicker. Already have the next one pre-ordered.
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Note: This is the sequel to the adult fantasy THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE, which you can find my review here! ( This review will contain slight spoilers. 

Following the brilliance of THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE comes another tale of love and loss, fear and fortune, and the bravery of one witch-like girl who is ready to change all of Moscow. While I really enjoyed the first book, THE GIRL IN THE TOWER had some moments where I was a bit frustrated by the characters’ impetuous actions. Nevertheless, the pacing is much more quick and action much more tight. I can’t wait for the last book for this trilogy and to see where Vasya’s story ends up!

THE GIRL IN THE TOWER starts immediately after the epilogue in its predecessor. Readers follow two point of views that eventually converge. One follows Sasha, Vasya’s beloved brother who left home to become a monk and ended up being quite famous in his travels across Russia. The other follows Vasya as she heads out to find her own adventure as a response to people in her village being fearful of her witch-like behavior. They both end up in Moscow, the heart of the landscape, although under false pretenses. 

“‘Should I run away? Go home? Never see my brothers again? Where do I belong? I don’t KNOW. I don’t know who I am. And I have eaten in your house, and nearly died in your arms, and you rode with me tonight and - I hoped you might know.”

My heart really went out to Vasya in this book. She’s very confused about where she belongs. She knows for sure that she does not want to marry or go to a convent - the two choices reserved for girls of her age at the time - but other than that, what can she do? A lot of what Vasya does in this book is rash and capricious, although I can’t really fault her for it. She’s just a lost character trying to find her way, and the interruptions with Morozko and other small fairy-tale figures don’t really help. Somehow, her brother and her end up in Moscow, unfoiling a plot set in motion to dethrone the Grand Prince, their cousin Dmitri. But all bets are off when secrets are spilled, and the city as Vasya knows it goes up into chaos. 

“I wish you’d learn how to fight properly before you start getting into them, the horse said unhappily.”

The two things that really stick with me in Arden’s books are the themes and the writing. Arden’s a phenomenal writer and really captures a reader into her stories. I love the incorporations of Russian folklore that she adds so seamlessly, as well as the small bits of wit here and there in the dialogue. THE GIRL IN THE TOWER follows similar themes to the first book, of fear pushing people to the brink of madness and greed creating a clear path of manipulation. On the other hand, there’s also the manipulation done because of love and independence. But how are these two different when the end result is the same?

I didn’t quite enjoy this sequel as much as THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE, which makes my actual rating more of a 3.5 (although rounded to 4). The wonders of Moscow and political intrigue were fun to read, but I missed the quiet and mystery of the Russian wilderness that was such a huge setting for the first book. Although the end of this book is quite conclusive, I’m excited to see where Arden takes the final book. I’m also loving the progression of the covers, as each book in the series takes on a warmer color scheme. I would really recommend this trilogy for readers who hold fantasy in their hearts. The first book takes a bit to get into, but it’s really worth it! Arden’s writing is captivating and concise, making for gorgeous reads where the pages just fly by.

Content Warnings: public exposure, violence, mentions of rape, mass murders
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As with The Bear and the Nightingale,Katherine Arden grabbed my attention, held on tight, and made my life just a little more interesting.
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Personally I love this series, and I believe readers will, too.
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The Girl in the Tower is the second installment of Katherine Arden's Winternight Trilogy and this trilogy has ALL the feels guys!

I loved this book from start to finish. Sometimes, I really wasn't sure who the girl in the tower was supposed to be, but overall, the story was phenomenal. As always Arden sucks you into her medieval world with vivid imagery and ghosts and fairy tales that will make you shudder and crave for more. I had so much fun reading this one, that I can't wait for the third part of the trilogy to be published. 
I truly recommend this series to everyone who loves fairy tales, strong female characters and fantastic scenery with a historic touch.

Katherine Arden has studied Russian and it really shows how familiar she is with the time and places she writes about in her books. It is a pleasure to read fantasy that has a touch of real history in it. As I've studied Russian at high school, I had no problems following some of the vocabulary. But even if you don't know any slavic languages, the extensive glossary explains more words than I even though necessary.

The writing style was vivid and moved the story forward in a really nice manner. Even though this is a plot-driven book, none of the characters come short in my opinion. Though I would have liked to read even more about them at some point as I'm usually more interested in character than plot. Either way, the characters are so relatable and well-written that I've already fallen in love irrevocably with some of them *cough Morozko cough*. If you should ever find yourself wanting hot chocolate, don't waste your time and chocolate on TV. Read The Girl in the Tower and your drink will be the best you ever had.
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This is just an amazingly well written series with a great plot. The writing is simply beautiful and lures you in to a fairytale. Just great!
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A wonderful follow-up to The Bear and the Nightingale; raw, riveting. I will definitely be recommending this at my the library; breathlessly waiting for Katherine Arden’s next book - though this one will be hard to top!
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The Girl in the Tower nicely moves forward from the ending of The Bear and the Nightingale, with an older, but just as adventurous Vasya. In this second installment, Vasya is accused of withcraft because of her ability to see and communicate with creatures that other people can't, but that people still fear. Superstitions, fear of the unexplained, and suspicion of anyone who may be different put Vasya in actual physical danger if she doesn't choose to either be controlled by a husband or the Christian church through the structure of a convent. Vasya chooses to run and that's where things take off. 

The Girl in the Tower is much more adventure and action than world building which moved the story along really well. Although Arden does give the reader more character development for Vasya, we get more of her family connections and new characters are introduced, I did have one small disappointment. I really enjoy Morozko (Frost) as a main character and we don't get as much from him in this one. I am torn on whether that is actually a disappointment or not. Since Vasya really is the central character that everything else revolves around, it's only fair that most of the focus is on her development. 

Although The Girl in the Tower felt more like a YA story than The Bear and the Nightingale to me, I did enjoy it and will be happy to get my hands on the next installment. If you haven't read book one yet, I recommend reading it first before jumping into this one. These are great books to pick up now that it's getting colder and the nights are longer. Winter is the perfect backdrop for this series.
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It’s become quite clear that I will read anything Katherine Arden writes. Her debut The Bear and the Nightingale was one of my favourite reads of last year. I dare say that Bear is a mere drop in the ocean when it comes to Arden’s writing and clever plot twists in The Girl in the Tower.

Following on from the ending of Bear, Vasya is branded a witch and because she's not content with just being some man’s wife or living in a convent as a nun for the rest of her life, she leaves her village with Solovey. Vasya braves the cold wilderness and doesn't look back, she wants to see the world and experience life but the only way to do this is to disguise herself as a Russian boy.

There was a real sense of adventure in Girl, Vasya finds herself embroiled in a brewing political war between the Moscow royal family and the Khan of Mogul. Vasya cannot stand by while villages are burning and children are being kidnapped and instead risks her life, battling bandits with nothing but her cunning mind and tenacious nature.

Vasya is reunited with her brother Sasha, a priest and right hand man of Prince Dmitry and Olga a Russian princess who is sequestered in a tower with her children and terem. I loved the complex relationship Vasya had which each sibling and how they each battled with the internal struggle of religion and what was expected of women and their role within society compared to their wild sister. As always Arden’s abilitiy to carefully craft a book filled with religion, history, politics and fairytales is truly genius.

I didn’t think it was possible to enjoy Girl more than Bear but I was wrong. Between the stunning prose, the lush world building and a slow burn budding romance, I was completely hooked and found myself reading long into the night. I was absolutely delighted to see Arden include yet more Russian myths and legends, such as the fire bird, Polunochnitsa and I particularly loved reading about Kaschei the deathless.... and of course my beloved Morokzo. The elusive Frost-Demon is just as thrilling and enticing as always, there weren't enough pages with him in to satisfy my shameless obsession with him!

The Girl in the Tower is a bewitching sequel, with magical writing and stunning prose that transports you to medieval Russia, you would swear you could feel the winter frost nipping at your fingers while reading. Arden takes readers on a thrilling adventure, elegantly weaved with gorgeous Russian history and folklore that keeps you in its thrall until the very end. The Girl in the Tower was easily one of my favourite books of the year and although I really don’t want this series to end I can’t wait for book three!
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This richly layered tapestry of early Russia reveals a deeply researched history which flows smoothly into the supernatural fantasy world of early fairy tale and fable.  Even with a fully embraced religion, the beautifully decorated orthodoxy of Russia, the harsh weather and life of the times demanded its own explanations of nature.  Into this background is introduced a cast of complex characters, many of whom we met in Book 1, but who are now adults (or older adults) rather than children.  The second book stands well on its own; you are probably going to prefer to read the books in order, however, to enjoy the full vision of author Katherine Arden (think Tolkien!).

	Among other topics explored, although somewhat subtly, is gender identity and what it meant to be a woman in medieval Rus' (we are well pre-Russia!), including cloistering of noblewomen in a terem with limited access to the outside world. But largely this is a novel of adventure and exploration of both the seen (the frozen rivers as highways for six months of the year!) and unseen (household figures such as domovoi--a pagan concept seen in many cultures (think Roman lares or "Anglo-Scottish" brownies), and the connections between them.

	As with the first novel in the series, "The Bear and the Nightingale," I was enthralled cover to cover, including the endnotes which discuss Russian naming conventions and give definitions for various words.  Give yourself time to enjoy this many-textured, fully imagined tale.

	Disclaimer:  There was no doubt in my mind, having read book one, that I would search out book two (and three!) so I happily requested it from Netgalley as soon as it became available.
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Originally posted on Forever Young Adult on 2018 March 22

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

Careful, Sweetie: spoilers! This is the second book in the Winternight Trilogy, so if you haven’t read The Bear and the Nightingale, you should probably hop back in the TARDIS and go curl up in the library by the pool with the first book before continuing.

Cover Story: Montell Jordan
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 8
Talky Talk: Like A Fine Wine
Bonus Factors: Cross-Dressing, Loyal Pets, Family, Magic
Anti-Bonus Factor: Terem
Relationship Status: To The Ends Of The Earth

Cover Story: Montell Jordan

This cover is as pretty as a classical painting hanging in an art museum. The colors are rich and warm and there are so many callbacks to actual things in the book. It blends in perfectly with the first cover, too, which had a much colder and darker aesthetic. Also, shout-out to the title, which works in so many ways.

The Deal:

A girl and a horse, wandering the wilderness, with only a Frost Demon keeping watch over them. A monk, too restless to stay humble inside a monastery, who instead dines with a prince and brings light to the hopeless. A woman, smarter than any man will ever give her credit for, sequestered away from the public eye, as is custom. And a crowded, bustling city, in danger of crumbling under the Khan.

Multiple stories converge together to build upon the world we were introduced to during The Bear and the Nightingale. Rus is fighting for its freedom against a tyrannical ruler; the old, magical ways are fighting against progress and the rise of Christianity; and Vasya and her family are fighting right in the middle of it all.

BFF Charm: Yay

Vasya is a girl born in the wrong time. She cannot be content, like her sister, to be hidden away in the terem of Moscow. In the previous book, we knew her as a headstrong, wild-like creature of the forest, and this is her journey of accepting who she is, societal pressures be damned. I’d love to be Vasya’s friend if only to be near her true BFF: her horse, Solovey. (Does he have any siblings?)

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Morozko is drawn to Vasya for reasons neither she nor we are completely privy to when the novel begins. Vasya is, understandably, kind of a badass, so I don’t blame him for taking to her, or for wanting to protect her when she (foolishly) assumes she’s got this travel thing on lock. And on Vasya’s side, I can totally get the attraction of an icy Frost Demon who seems to melt only for you. We all love a bad boy, even ladies from ancient Russia. The romance in this book is the perfect kind for this type of fantasy; it’s subtle, forcing you to read between the lines, but what you do pick up, whew. Prepare yourself.

Talky Talk: Like A Fine Wine

The Bear and the Nightingale was slow and very atmospheric, and The Girl in the Tower expertly builds on that foundation, giving us more action, more politics, and more intrigue, yet it never forgets to dazzle you with its sense of place. This is the kind of series that I want to savor, swirling it around on my tongue and taking small sips because I never want it to stop. There’s a mystical quality to the world but the characters themselves are very much grounded in reality as full actualized people with good and bad traits alike. It's times like these where I really feel the wait between installments. Give it to me noooooow (though it seems the third book is coming out this year, so perhaps it's not that long of a wait at all!).

Bonus Factor: Cross-Dressing

It’s a shame that the only way women could get things done way back when was to dress up like a man. Vasya is particularly incensed to realize what a life she could have had in Moscow if she had only been born with a swinging appendage between her legs.

Bonus Factor: Loyal Pets

Solovey is the son of Morozko's own mare. He’s just what you would want from a talking, magical, equine sidekick: the practical, wry sense of an animal and the unwavering loyalty of a true companion.

Bonus Factor: Family

We don’t return to Vasya’s little village and her family there, but instead we get to see more of the two siblings she loved dearly and hasn't seen since she was but a child: Olga and Sergei. They’ve both grown into very political, world-wise and -weary beings, and I loved seeing Vasya through their eyes and them through hers. Their reunions are hard-won and heartbreaking as they all begin to realize Vasya isn’t the same child they left behind.

Bonus Factor: Magic

The magic is subtle but masterfully woven into everything, making you wonder what will happen next—what else can Vasya do? What is going to come to fruition or potentially fade away before the end of the series?

Anti-Bonus Factor: Terem

Terem are the towers where the high-born women from the city would live, away from the eyes of anyone except the men of the family. They were unable to travel about the city except on special occasions. Sadly for the women of the time, this was common practice until the early eighteenth century.

Relationship Status: To The Ends Of The Earth

I know you’re always down for an adventure. Where are you headed this time, Book? I need only a few moments time to gather up my travel gear, sell all my worldly belongings, and make sure I’m bundled up good for the cold weather ahead. Let’s meet out back and I’ll follow wherever you lead.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Del Rey. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. The Girl in the Tower is available now.
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