The Girl in the Tower
Author: Katherine Arden
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Blurb (as on Goodreads):
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.
Vasilisa’s journey continues as she leaves her home at Lesnaya Zemlya and decides to be a traveler. In spite of repeated warnings from the frost-demon himself, Vasya and Solovey set out on an unknown path, a path full of danger and cold that can kill.
“Go out into the world, traveler. See what the long nights and hard days feel like, after a week of them.”
“Perhaps I will like them,” Vasya retorted, with spirit.
“I sincerely hope not.”
This path eventually leads her to Moscow, where she has to disguise herself as Vasilii, the son of a Lord. In Moscow and adjacent places, the villages are burning and girls are being abducted by bandits who don’t leave any track. And Vasya is on a mission to find these clever, mysterious and shrewd bandits, only to realize later that it’s all a part of a big plan.
The story develops a lot in the initial chapters, as we are given details about the miseries that Vasya faces on the road. There is news about Sasha and his present life as a monk, as well as Olga, as the princess of Serpukhov. The strange relationship between Vasya and the winter king also grows, as they come close and he saves her life again and again. There’s a hint of a probable romance and there’s longing between the two souls.
“Think of me sometimes,” he returned. “When the snowdrops have bloomed and the snow has melted.”
The plot picks up only after 60% of the book and that’s when there’s action. So I suggest you have a little patience. Once the actual plot unfolds, secrets and treacheries start pouring out. There are fights, races, drama, emotions etc. We meet similar kind of ghosts as in The Bear and The Nightingale and they help Vasya a lot throughout her battle to save the city of Moscow.
I liked this book a little less than The Bear and The Nightingale. But what I loved is, nothing in the plot is forced. Not even Morozko’s presence, The author has taken the time to justify every plot twist (even though a few things have broken my heart 😦 )
- Solovey, because he’s the Hero 😉
- Vasilisa as a boy, charming the world
- Tales of the past, the origin of all troubles
- Possible Romance between Morozko and Vasilisa
The Girl in The Tower continues the tale of Vasilisa as Vasilii, the brave, and takes you to the city of Moscow. There is dark magic all around and forces that want to destroy the city and only Vasilisa can protect the city because in some strange, tangled way she is related to all of this.
Looking forward to the next and final book in the series.