The Girl in the Tower

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Feb 2018

Member Reviews

Full review forthcoming...........................................................................................................................................................................
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This another ARC I didn’t finish in time because I had to go read The Bear and the Nightengale first. The writing is pure gorgeous! I found myself reading slower than usual to savor the descriptions and the enthralling writing style. An auto-buy author for me, for sure!
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I was thrilled to be approved for this one, as I ADORED the first book. This one also did not disappoint!

My review is delayed (apologies), and as such I thought it might be interesting for me to talk about circulation over a book review, as there are many reviews for this one out there now. I will tell you I have been so, so pleasantly surprised at the popularity of this book at my library.

Generally, fantasy does not move quickly at my library, ESPECIALLY if it's adult fiction instead of YA. It was a pleasure to see a waiting list for this one before it was even ready to be put in circulation! It beat out some of the new mystery/thriller fiction for approximately 3 months, which is something I've never seen happen with a fantasy book before. And that says a lot about Arden's skill and the world she's built.
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Beautiful, rich, evocative. I think this might have been enjoyed more if I'd read it in the winter, as it's so closely tied to the cold and snow. And I don't like those, but I liked this.

A perfect dark fairytale for a cold winter's night.
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Accused of witchcraft and falsely blamed for the death of her father Vasya has two options open to her, accept an arranged marriage or join a convent. Unsurprisingly neither of these choices hold much appeal to someone as independent as she is so instead Vasya disguises herself as a boy and, with the help of Morozoko, sets out on her own to travel the world and have an adventure. It's all going pretty well until she catches the attention of the Grand Prince and he insists on taking her back to Moscow where two of her older siblings are caught up in her lies and forced to help her continue her deception. And that's where things really start to get complicated.

I absolutely adored The Bear and the Nightingale so I had incredibly high expectations for The Girl in the Tower and thankfully Katherine Arden didn't disappoint. The sequel had everything I loved about the first book and more and I was immediately sucked back into Vasya's world. These stories are just so atmospheric and really make you feel like you've taken a step back in time to medieval Russia and I enjoy exploring that world through Vasya's eyes. She's a great character who is so independent and who wants to live life on her own terms no matter how restricted women's lives were at that time. That reckless streak does get her in trouble on more than one occasion and it also makes things extremely difficult for her siblings but I could understand her desire for more than marriage or life in a convent.

Morozoko continues to be one of my favourite characters and we get to see a lot more of his history in this instalment of the series. I'm enjoying finding out more about his character and I'm not going to lie, I'm totally rooting for him and Vasya to end up together! This series is going from strength to strength and I can't wait to see how it ends in The Winter of the Witch.
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I didn’t think it was possible, but I fell in love with Vasya a little bit more in this book. She is bold, loyal, and has such an adventurous spirit. She also has a way of finding trouble, or for trouble to find her; whichever way you want to look at it. Vasya is wise in some ways and in other areas a little naïve. It frustrated me a little when the characters would refer to Vasya as a child (or young), but as soon as she made a mistake, they were quick to say that she should have known because she was old enough. But who did she have in her life to guide her and tell her the rules of society and of life in general?

I loved the writing and descriptions of the world around Vasya. There were even a few moments where I almost cried. Vasya has definitely grown some on her journey since the first book. With no real place to call home, Vasya wants to travel and see the world, something a lady does not do in her time period. Especially by herself. She does not want to be married off or locked away in a convent. Of course the road she travels is not an easy one, and she encounters trouble along the way. But with the help of her loyal horse Solovey, and even Morozko on occasion, she feels confident she can handle what comes her way.

The Girl in the Tower is a wonderfully unique and atmospheric tale, that I thoroughly enjoyed. The Bear and the Nightingale is still my favorite out of these two books, however I found TGITT to be a good continuation to the events from TBATN. The ending for TGITT was well done. It tied some things up, but there were enough questions left unanswered that I was left wanting more. I am excited to see how everything else unfolds in the third and final book, The Winter of the Witch, releasing January 9, 2019.

RATING: 4 out of 5.
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I read. Shivered. Went back to reread sections. Savored. But at some point, many months overdue, a review needs to be written.

The Girl in the Tower (Winternight #2) was a very welcome follow up to The Bear and the Nightingale, and, already, I can't wait for Vasya's story to conclude in The Winter of the Witch (forthcoming in January 2019). (Truly, does this series have to stop at 3?)

The story picks up right where BN leaves off, as Vasya, accused as a witch in the aftermath of her showdown with the priest and the Bear, flees her village in the ice-gripped north of medieval Russia and makes her way down to Moscow. Along the way, she reunites with her brother Sasha, now a wiser warrior-monk with his own regrets, her cousin Dmitrii, the Grand Prince of Moscow, and her older sister Olga, who lives a proper noblewoman's life in the capitol. And with this transition from backwater country to chaotic city comes political intrigue, mysterious enemies, disguised identities, ghosts, and magic that threatens all bounds.

I love how this book really expands in so many dimensions. The characters are even more vivid than in the previous book. We see Vasya grow in understanding of the world and her place in it, while still retaining her impudent spark and desire to throw off the fetters of expectation. The main conflict extends beyond church vs. natural spirits to the wider world of politics and statecraft. We even get glimpses of a wider 'Rus, one that is far more dangerous and intriguing than Vasya had imagined in her pinings for adventure.

The relationships are also things of beauty. From the playful interactions between Vasya and her stallion Solevey to the tender moments of siblings united to the growing sparks with a certain frost king, they are interactions with a depth and fierceness. They are loyal to the core, even if these characters can't always be fully honest with one another.

And here, Katherine Arden continues to spirit us away with her lyrical writing, making me shiver at the passing fingers of a ghost.

There is more to be said, but in order not to give too much away, my last words will be: read the book. Read them both. Read the one to come.
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I absolutely loved this sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale. After focusing on village life, this book pulls us to Moscow where Vasya's siblings Olga and Sasha have made their homes. When Vasya shows up with three missing girls on her otherworldly horse, her siblings are forced to lie and cover for her possibly witchy tendencies by saying she's a boy. Her old foe Konstantin is also in Moscow along with an unknown political foe. This book is great, playing with all the rules that were in place at the time to keep women in their place.
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I LOVE VASYA. So much. She's my heroine!!! And I may have a book crush on a certain frost demon...! lol. I loved the Mulan-ness of this book. Obviously it's been done many times but Mulan sticks out the most in my head (child of the 90's). Kasyan was a surprising twist! And I wasn't sure where this book was going. And now I have no idea where the final book is going! But the phoenix on the cover of the third book...ahhhh!! Magical! Vasya has grown a lot from the first book to the second and she's just rocking my socks off. And I just adore Solovey. These books are beautiful and I will be purchasing the trilogy when it's complete.
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Far better than the first instalment. The pacing in this one was far better meaning I didn’t consider abandoning the read part of the way through like I had with book one. The writing was beautiful and the adventure exciting, can’t wait for book three to come out. This book has made me think this might become one of my favourite series.
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Loved, loved, loved. This book and the first are what I live for. While not a big fantasy fan, the romance in the novel is enough to keep me coming back for more. I want to learn more about every character in this book. I love the time period, the descriptions, and the writing is superb. I highly recommend and cannot wait to read more from this author. And hopefully one more in this series.
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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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