“The Girl in the Tower” is the second novel in Kathrine Arden’s Winternight trilogy. Ms. Arden was able to continue to create a magical world where magic is weaved delicately to every nook and cranny.
In book two, Vasya sets off to become her own person — an adventurer if you will. However, her dream of exploring the wide land of Russ comes to a halt when she decides to play hero by rescuing some recently kidnapped girls — while dressed as a boy — and gets tangled up with a much darker magic brewing.
Just like in “The Bear and the Nightingale” Ms. Arden starts her prose with a story within a story, a retelling of a fairytale with a story of a Russian fairytale, probably hinting the general basis of the story. Vasya’s older siblings Olga and Sasha, who we met briefly in the previous novel, take center stage in this story and become essential to understanding Vasya’s story arc.
In this novel is a love story, but not your traditional girl meets boy and fall in love story. The love is instead between siblings and explores how far these siblings go for each other.
Ms. Arden displays beautifully the strange bond siblings have — even when several years have passed since the last face to face contact. The bond Olga, Sasha, and Vasya have are realistic and natural. When Vasya decides to pretend to be a boy in a time where women were seen as third-class citizens, Olga and Sasha take the responsibility of keeping Vasya’s secret (begrudgingly) knowing that such a thing could not only hurt Vasya but their own reputations as a wife of a prince and a high priest. The love, the pain, the betrayal and the forgiveness were all pure and real, reminding me of my own relationship with my sibling. Their pain and happiness became my own.
Much like her previous novel, “The Girl in the Tower” has a unique prose that is like no other. The attention to detail visually and emotionally allows the words to flow elegantly like poetry.
Ms. Arden’s newest book could be considered a work of magic and adventure, but much like her previous novel, it is an elegant work of art that will grip you and introduce you to a world you never knew you wanted to be a part of.
Personal Rating: 5/5
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2018
Page Count: 362
Publisher: Del Rey