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“The Girl in the Tower” by Katherine Arden Book Review

Book: The Girl in the Tower

Autor: Katrine Arden

Series: Book #2 of Winternight trilogy

The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden’s enchanting first novel, introduced readers to an irresistible heroine. Vasilisa has grown up at the edge of a Russian wilderness, where snowdrifts reach the eaves of her family’s wooden house and there is truth in the fairy tales told around the fire. Vasilisa’s gift for seeing what others do not won her the attention of Morozko—Frost, the winter demon from the stories—and together they saved her people from destruction. But Frost’s aid comes at a cost, and her people have condemned her as a witch.

In The Girl in the Tower, Vasilisa faces an impossible choice. Driven from her home by frightened villagers, she has only two options left: marriage or the convent. She cannot bring herself to accept either fate and instead chooses adventure, dressing herself as a boy and setting off astride her magnificent stallion Solovey.

But after she prevails in a skirmish with bandits, everything changes. The Grand Prince of Moscow anoints her a hero for her exploits, and she is reunited with her beloved sister and brother, who are now part of the Grand Prince’s inner circle. She dares not reveal to the court that she is a girl, for if her deception were discovered it would have terrible consequences for herself and her family. Before she can untangle herself from Moscow’s intrigues—and as Frost provides counsel that may or may not be trustworthy—she will also confront an even graver threat lying in wait for all of Moscow itself.

After the end of “The Bear and the Nightingale” “we find ourselves on the back of the faithful Solovey, riding through the wintry Russian forest.

The Girl in the Tower

Vasya knows that it is not a good idea to travel only as a girl and makes the bold decision to pretend to be a boy. She gets on her horse and reaches Moscow with some difficulties and obstacles. As the characters of Sasha and Olga unfold in “The Girl in the Tower”, we also get to know Dmitrii Ivanovich.

If the first part was fabulous, here it gets a bit scary. Although I do not want to give anything of the story away, I can not help but mention that Vasya has to make a decision that will shake her to the core. Moscow will literally burn and Vasilisa Petrovna will be responsible for both the fire and the rescue.


Sasha is still so straightforward and devoted to Dmitrii Ivanovich and the Church. The monk wavers between his sister, whom people think is a witch, and his faith. Would the elder brother turn away from Vasya and can he believe in house spirits and Morozko? You will find out if you give this amazing book a chance.

The Duchess of Serpukhov has a daughter who has the gift of Vasilissa. The child sees the house spirits and more. The image of the sister gradually dissolves and we see all the feelings and fears of Olga. But when Marya is in danger, we see the strength of the mother, which is boundless.

As the story progresses, we become more and more immersed in Russian folklore and in this book we, the readers, get to know Kashchei the Immortal. The God of Death was always just a breath, a heartbeat away, but Kashchei no longer has a soul to be taken.

Will Vasilissa Petrovna be able to face him and win?

Will she be able to protect her loved ones?

Katherine Arden has written a worthy sequel to “The Bear and the Nightingale“, such a compelling story and so much magic. If you choose your books by season, you have just found your cozy winter tale.

“We hope you enjoy reading “The Girl in the Tower“!


Hello, my name is Todora, but now also known as Dochka or Docheto. I have two wonderful dragons at home (boys ages 5 and 7) that I am trying to raise in the love of books. I was quite a chatterbox as a kid when I had required reading in school, and now I am trying to make up for it. I love reading fantasy, sweet endings are not my "thing". I love it when there are struggles, intrigue, and surprises in a book that shake you to your core. If I fell into paranoia that all the characters were traitors, my rating would be 5 stars. In short, I love to read and if one day I find a way to make this my sole occupation and get paid for it :D, I will have stumbled into heaven.

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