BOOK REVIEW | The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

So, the weather is getting colder and I both love and hate it. I love that I get to snuggle in luscious blankets with a cup of Horlicks and read lovely books like this, but also I ride a motorbike. So, Yano. It’s fucking cold.

But the relevant point here is that ‘The Girl in the Tower’ is the perfect book to read at this time of year, much like the utterly delightful ‘The Bear and the Nightingale, the first book of this series.

A few facts about this book:

Title: The Girl in the Tower
Author: Katherine Arden
Series: The Winternight Trilogy
Published by Del Rey Books


For a young woman in medieval Russia, the choices are stark: marriage or life in a convent. Vasya will choose a third way: magic. . .

The court of the Grand Prince of Moscow is plagued by power struggles and rumours of unrest. Meanwhile bandits roam the countryside, burning the villages and kidnapping its daughters. Setting out to defeat the raiders, the Prince and his trusted companion come across a young man riding a magnificent horse.

Only Sasha, a priest with a warrior’s training, recognises this ‘boy’ as his younger sister, thought to be dead or a witch by her village. But when Vasya proves herself in battle, riding with remarkable skill and inexplicable power, Sasha realises he must keep her secret as she may be the only way to save the city from threats both human and fantastical. . .


Here are a few things you can expect from this book…

  • A delightful books that retains all the wonder you experienced in book one;
  • Vasya;
  • Standout characters and relationships;
  • Animal companions;
  • Well written and epic scenes; and
  • Thought and emotion provoking plot and characters.

On to the full review…

When I originally read ‘The Bear and the Nightingale I was delighted with what I read, and Arden does not fail to maintain a high level of storytelling in this installment. In book one we saw much growth of our beloved Vasya, so to see this continue in book two was such a pleasure. We see how she navigates her new trials and while this is set in Moscow it still blends the magical elements prevalent in book one with this new setting.

This book achieved such greatness in its character creation and its diverse and wholesome relationship with friends and family. I very much liked the bonds developed in book one and it was fantastic to see them again in book two. There were several elements, that I won’t disclose for spoiler reasons, that allowed me to let out a satisfied breath because Arden didn’t devalue these relationships for the sake of a plot point. They were real, with genuine reactions and heartfelt moments.

Arden also blessed us with a superb animal companion which was one of this book’s strongest assets.

Though saying that, it is hard to review a book that has been written so brilliantly, and condense it down to singular elements. This book has so many strengths and it is hard to comment on them all. It achieves so many things I want as a reader. I saw this world, I felt the bitter seasons of this world and I feared the dangers that lurked within it.

I also loved the contrast in this installment from its predecessor. Book one was, I guess you could say a cosy read, one filled with delightful wonder. Yet this book took a turn into the adventurous side, rich in intrigue and mystery.

Arden has managed to blend certain aspects I would not have thought would work so well together. Yes, we see magic and politics together but this was so much more than that. I truly do not want to say much by way of the actual story because it is a book to feel and experience when reading not through another’s review. So, on that note, I will leave my review here. Pick up this book or audiobook and read it, now is the perfect time to read it.

Oh and one final praise…both this and book one have pulled me out of reading slumps with an ease that even my comfort rereads rarely achieve.



I had such fun listening to the audiobook narration of this book, of which the narrator did a fantastic job! I would adore the hardback in these books, the only reason I don’t have them is that the ones I want are so hard to get a hold of. However, that does not negate the fact that this is a very easily awarded ‘Buy the Hardback’ rating.

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