Review: The Girl in the Tower

by - 3:04 PM

| ISBN: 978-1101885963 | Pages: 384 |
Publication Date: December 5, 2017 | Source: Own
| Rating: 5 out of 5 stars |

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

This review is so long overdue, but I have to admit that I'm still not sure if I can correctly formulate my thoughts on just how much I loved this book. 

I fell in love with The Bear and the Nightingale for its atmospheric writing and its unique story and I fell in love with everything else with The Girl in the Tower. Vasya is no longer a child and we witness her growth from a young girl into a mature teenager throughout the pages of this sequel. Exiled from her home, she heads to Moscow to find her siblings only to find herself in the middle of another struggle between the magical forces of lore and her real world.

“Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory of the other: of a life left unchosen. Decide as seems best, one course or the other; each way will have its bitter with its sweet.”

I cannot rave about Katherine Arden's writing but it is honestly one of the most beautiful things to grace a page (in my opinion.) Once again, she brings to life the mysterious allure of Russian folklore set against the frigid terrain of Moscow. I don't think I've read many, if any, books set within the Russian court so that was a whole new experience. 

“I carve things of wood because things made by effort are more real than things made by wishing.” 

Combined with the court intrigue is once again the stifling expectations of women which Vasya constantly challenges. She has honestly undergone so much growth since the last book and the connection that Katherine Arden creates between her and the readers makes it feel like you're watching your little sister grow up into this headstrong and proud woman. 

“You cannot take vengeance on a whole people because of the doings of a few wicked men.” 

In order to blend in the Moscovian court, Vasya cross dresses as a boy named Vasili and there were some moments which could definitely be drawn up as controversial in terms of how the author handled it. I won't defend it as I've read some pretty compelling and more analytical reviews and can see how such scenes are problematic, but regardless I still loved Vasya as a character and my heart was pounding throughout the whole undercover journey.

I did not know I was lonely, she thought, until I was no longer alone.” 

This review would not be complete if I don't talk about my undying love for Morzoko. I adored every moment when he appeared and all that he goes through to protect Vasya. They have such a fragile but beautiful relationship and it honestly hurts my heart sometimes (in a good way I guess). Along with being reunited with character whom I have come to love also comes characters, old and new, that I absolutely detest. I will forever hate Konstatin for his blind infatuation and desire to seek power and fame. 

The Girl in the Tower is a masterful piece of art that weaves the magical with court politics. My poor heart went on one hell of a rollercoaster throughout and while I may have aged 10 years after reading this, I wouldn't take back this amazing experience for anything else in the world.

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