| The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden |
For a young woman in medieval Russia, the choices are stark: marriage or life in a convent. Vasya will choose a third way: magic. . .
The court of the Grand Prince of Moscow is plagued by power struggles and rumours of unrest. Meanwhile bandits roam the countryside, burning the villages and kidnapping its daughters. Setting out to defeat the raiders, the Prince and his trusted companion come across a young man riding a magnificent horse.
Only Sasha, a priest with a warrior’s training, recognises this ‘boy’ as his younger sister, thought to be dead or a witch by her village. But when Vasya proves herself in battle, riding with remarkable skill and inexplicable power, Sasha realises he must keep her secret as she may be the only way to save the city from threats both human and fantastical. . .
A spellbinding fairytale full of magic and wonder, perfect for fans of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.
| Book Review by Tanya Kaanta |
Fans of Young Adult Fantasy will find happiness in this gem. The Girl in the Tower is the second book in the Winternight Trilogy and while it might be good to start with Book one, I found it quite easy to pick up with Book two. The Author does an excellent job of introducing the characters as part of the story, while never pulling my attention from the plot.
As a young woman, Vasya is now forced to either marry or promise herself to a convent. Instead, Vasya chooses a third option of adventure. A common trope among fiction, Vasya dresses as a boy. Once free with her horse, she ends up fighting off bandits in the woods—bandits who have actually been creating havoc throughout the country. Her valor and courage earns her the notice of the Grand Prince of Moscow. Though now she has the fear of having her gender revealed, which could impart more pain and suffering on herself as well as her siblings who run in the same circle as the Prince.
The story flows, the characters are developed, and the fantasy intrigues. I read this story in one sitting and never felt myself bored or confused. Though I will go back and read book 1. The Girl in the Tower is a testament to the strength of a young woman, her gumption to live of life of adventure, and her ability to help others. She’s no simpering miss, and provides a role model to girls, illustrating the potential for greatness we all possess, despite restrictions in society.
I definitely recommend this book and I look forward to the next book in the series, published this year – The Winter of the Witch.
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