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The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

The Girl in the Tower

by Katherine Arden

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5298228,195 (4.45)58



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Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
Another delightful and adventure filled story! I am so glad that I found these books. They are like water and air to my soul. Please do yourself a favor and read this trilogy. ( )
  c.archer | Feb 10, 2019 |
As I said after the first book, The Bear and the Nightingale, I am not a big fantasy reader, but i would classify this book also as folktale/mythology/history. I was looking forward to this book in the trilogy and even though I did not enjoy it as much as the first, it was still a very strong story and moved along quickly.

Medieval Russian superstitions are the backbone of this trilogy, with many of the same chyerti (spirits and/or demons) in this book as the first as well as some new ones. Vasya (Vasilisa) has the sight passed down to her by her mother and grandmother before her. Unfortunately, she has been labeled a witch, so unless she wants to be sent to a convent or marry someone she doesn't love, she hops on her magical horse, Solovey, dresses up like a boy, and heads off into the world for adventure. Running into bandits who are burning villages and stealing young girls to sell as slaves, she escapes to a monastery with 3 of the girls and runs into her brother and the Crown Prince of Moscow. Her brother agrees to keep the secret of her gender so she is off to experience battle, camaraderie, and more. Once again, the winter king, Morozko, the man made of ice and snow, with his chilling pale blue eyes, comes to her aid many times. He also comes as death welcoming those who are leaving the earth. Vasya makes many decisions and choices that affect not only herself but family and others who have befriended her. Whether these decisions are the right ones or not will be revealed as you read this story.

Katherine Arden has done a great job creating the time period and introducing us to the various magical creatures and the power they possess. This story is quite a bit darker with more violence than the first in the series. There is magic, family, folklore, the arising power of the church, battles, adventure, political uprisings and coups as well as bandits and the culture of the time. This was a very harsh and uncertain time for those in power as well as the individual lords and their villagers. The weather, especially the descriptions of the winter, make you feel what those living there are going through. There are pieces in the story that give us more information about the family that explain more about Vasya's gift. The ending is a surprise and leaves you wanting more. I am looking forward to the last book in this trilogy. The author's notes at the back give information about the folklore, the characters and her desire to stay true to the history of this period. I recommend this book to anyone as there is something for any book lover. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley. ( )
  Carlathelibrarian | Feb 5, 2019 |
The sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale, Vasilisa Petrovna has left her family and is traveling the world with her not-quite-a-horse, Solovey. Meeting up with her monk brother, Sasha, she dresses as a boy and ends up in Moscow with her sister Olya. There she clashes with Koschei the Deathless.

I enjoyed this. There's a bit of foreshadowing for the third book, but like the first book, this is a stand-alone story. However, it helps to have read the first book as many of the characters feature in the first as well, and Russian names and their diminutives can be a bit confusing. It's a bit like Roman names as nicknames are also used a lot and the same character can be called many different names depending on the relationship of the people involved and the formality of the situation.

  Maddz | Jan 18, 2019 |
So good. I had to find out how it all ended ... and now I’m sad it’s done.

I don’t know much about Russian fairy tales and folklore, or frankly history, and Arden has done a beautiful job of melding them together into an interesting world/backdrop. Fascinating at every turn.

And then Vasya - how I love her. I loved her in book 1 for her feyness, and I love her in book 2 for her courage and refusing the life a medieval Russian woman is supposed to be confined to. I love her family, and here we pick up with two who left book 1 too early.

Also, if you love horses, these books are the books for you. Or witches.

“Witches, Vasya thought. We can see things that others cannot, and make faded things real. Then Vasya understood.” p. 328. ( )
  chavala | Dec 29, 2018 |

I was absolutely caught up in the continued harrowing, and poetically nuanced tale of Vasilisia Petrovna (Vasya). A girl who can see creatures straight from Russian folklore. A girl who just might have the will and wherewithal to change history. A girl herself straight out of the pages of Russian fairy tales--Vasilisa the Brave.
Disguised as a boy, riding her beloved stallion Solovey, Vasya begins a harrowing flight from her homeland and the Forest of Lesnaya Zemlya to Moscow (Muscovy) to seek shelter with her sister Olga, the Princess of Serpukhov and her brother and monk, Alexsandr. As her journey unfolds I was caught up in her wildness, her unfeigned delights and her heartfelt sorrows. When Vasya takes up the mantle of a warrior and friend to her cousin and Grand Prince Dmitrii Ivanovitch her fate begins to unravel, or maybe change direction. Vasya comes up against the customs and prejudices of those in the city of Moscow. The conflict between the chyert brothers, Morozko the Frost King, spirit of Death, and Bear the Winter King is woven throughout. The tartars threaten Moscow, the god deceived Father Konstatine lurks in the background. Vasya's deception of Dimitri will have consequences. Vasya takes up a horse race challenge and the plot spirals into breath catching heights and incalculable emotions.
I read on entranced, alarmed and caught in the web of Arden's spellbindingly lush medieval Russian world, always underscored with a haunting grimness, captured by the happenings around Vasya, her family and Frost. Her word pictures have the strength of sight and scent.

A NetGalley ARC ( )
  eyes.2c | Dec 26, 2018 |
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The storm haze shrouds the sky
Spinning snowy whirlwinds
Now it howls like a beast
Now cries like a child
Suddenly rustles the rotten thatch
On our run-down roof
Now like a late traveler
It knocks at our window. - A.S. Pushkin
To Dad and Beth with love and gratitude
First words
A girl rode a bay horse through a forest late at night.
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Lucht, gevuld in nevelvlagen,
Sneeuw die opstuift, wervelwind;
Hoor hem als een roofdier klagen,
Dan weer huilen als een kind
Hoor hem ritselen daar buiten
Op het strodak van ons huis
Dan weer tikt hij op de ruiten.
Als een zwerver, eindelijk thuis.

A.S. Poesjkin
Last words
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Book description
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.
Haiku summary
Vasilisa, with
the winter wind in her hair,
travels to Moscow.

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"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"--… (more)

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