The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy #2) by Katherine Arden
As Vasya is faced with the choice of the convent or marriage she decides she will take her life in her own hands. With the help of her friend Morozko she aims to see the world and experience a life of her own choosing. Yet attacks on villages has Vasya putting a halt to her travels to help them, drawing the attention of the Grand Prince putting her cross dressing adventure into a precarious position not only for herself but for those who know her secret.
I really liked the Bear and the Nightingale, but I loved The Girl in the Tower. Where the pacing in the TBATN could sometimes be slow, I thought the pacing in TGITT a lot more steady and kept my attention. I think what was particularly compelling about the book was how fierce and headstrong Vasya was. Like many books with feminist themes the book revolves around Vasya’s choices, and while they may not always be the most sensible or have results that she may regret later, they are still hers to make, as it is her own life.
I am not 100% sure but I am thinking that this was a loose retelling of Vasilisa the Priest’s Daughter. To my understanding there are a few Russian stories that include Vasilisa/Vasiya as a strong female character, and I really enjoy seeing it used in a similar fashion in this series.
The World Building
Where the Russian setting was essentially the same in the second book, Arden does an excellent job of immersing the reader into the cold vast world of Russian, culture and it’s folklore. All the magic and quirky demons add so much flavor to such a complex story. I think what I found really intriguing was Morozko’s power and am so eager to read more!
I think Vasya has such a complicated character. There were times when I thought she was so selfish, but then she goes and puts her life at risk to save some village girls. She is so headstrong and stubborn, though that I want to just smack her up against the side of her head and say look what your decisions are doing, look how it affects those around you! And I think towards the end she really starts to see what sort of mess she has caused.
Though it wasn’t entirely focused on him, I completely adored Morozko. I love that he is so powerful, yet so confused. His relationship with Vasiya is twisted yet so sweet as he battles with his feelings, his power, and his immortality. I often felt bad for Morozko because it seemed like Vasiya only called on him when she needed something from him, and I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t stand when a friend acts like that.
French for Rabbits – The Other Side