You see, I have always tried to tell myself that whenever I finish a book, just give it a day or two to compose my thoughts before I sit down to write a review. Well, I have tried but it never works, especially for the books that have blown my mind or the books that have spoken directly to my soul. I can scarcely contain my emotions right now (I finished this book like 10 minutes ago) and I just want to pour out all my thoughts, so the world know how much I adore and love The Girl in The Tower by Katherine Arden.
This is a devastatingly well-crafted tale and Katherine is without a doubt an exceptional storyteller. This book follows shortly after the end of book 1 The Bear and The Nightingale, where Vasya left her beloved families and home and went on a journey into the wilderness to find her place in the world. Of course, during her journey, we will encounter demons, deathless king, bandits, kings and queens, princesses, princes, mythical creatures, folklore, snowy forest, ghosts, smoky cities, a beautiful bay horse, a firebird, a handsome frost-demon and an eccentric maiden. I am totally and utterly fascinated by it. I want more of this world, I want more of such complex and yet pure and beautiful thought out stories.
There is not a trace of deliberateness, everything happens in the story feels natural and has fallen into place nicely. It is extremely atmospheric and fantastical. The bell rings, the smoky towers, the blue sky, the dark shadows, the white forest, the smell of the midnight air, the sound of the snowdrop, it is so vivid and alive! I am reading Katherine’s words but it’s like watching a movie playing right in front of your eyes, it feels magical but realistic at the same time. It’s dark but also light; it is raw but also tender. It really is extraordinary.
I love book 1, The Bear and The Nightingale (you can find me review here), but The Girl in the Tower will always have its special place in my heart Why? Because I got to see Vasilisa grow from a maiden into the brave woman she is; and also get to witness tenderness between Vasya and a very mysterious winter king. I cannot have enough of them. The storylines and arcs between the two have my heart beating faster and made me swell with sadness but also happiness. The pace of the book is one of the best I have seen, the last 20% is full of suspense and had me gripping my book like there is no tomorrow, so good, so good!
I also want to specially mention the writing in this book. I have not read anything like this, it is like I have been transported back in the medieval Russia and read a book that was written in that era. I cannot imagine how much research Katherine has done to achieve this and what outstanding skills she must have possessed to write a book as beautiful as this. It is so matured, so well thought out but feels also pure, airy and frightening. I truly truly love her work.
To me, this is a hauntingly beautiful story that everyone needs to read. I love it and I will love it to the end of time!
Thank you so much for Ebury Publishing and Tess Henderson for sending me this advanced proof copy! I thoroughly truly loved this book.
I do not own the pictures which I used to make these edits.
For a young woman in medieval Russia, the choices are stark: marriage or a 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…