Book Quadrant: The Girl in the Tower and The Winter of the Witch by. Catherine Arden

Hello to all of you beautiful nerds and welcome back from traveling the vast nerd universe! It is time for another book review!

The Girl in the Tower and Winter of the Witch by. Catherine Arden

I finally finished reading the trilogy these two books were in since I already read the Bear * the Nigtengale years ago and did re-read it for review’s sake. Now, let’s see what I think but first!

Disclaimer!

This book review is based on thoughts and observations of the material from the writer of the blog here. Please respect her thoughts on these two books! You have been warned!

Synopsis

Last time we left Vasiliza in the first book, she left home to be with the Winter King knowing that she doesn’t belong anymore with her family due to thoughts of being a witch and the dangers of being burned at the stake. She decides to roam around Russia outside the walls of her home. Despite warnings of the cold and not being experienced, she ends up finding bandits kidnapping grils from villages and managed to save some girls due to training she received from the Winter King. After a daring rescue, she ends up running into her older brother, Sasha, which he has been looking for the same bandits with the Grand Prince of Moscow, Dimitri. Once safely returning the girls, Vasiliza and her brother lie to the prince and say that she’s a boy instead of a girl and go with the ruse until she reunites with her sister, Olga, in Moscow. Things get interesting once she learns that a new phantom is in the tower that overlooks Moscow and ends up risking her life and everyone else’s to her identity while finding out things even her own niece able to see the fairy tale creatures that exist in their world and to keep them from fading away due to the bells that ring in the church towers. Once she gets found out, things go wrong and Moscow burns to a crisp all thanks to a fire bird being set loose but Vasiliza gets blamed. Which goes into the final book, The Winter of the Witch, where we see the aftermath of what took place. Most of Moscow is burned to ash and Vasiliza has saved the rest of the city with the help of the Winter King. Tired and burned, she gets found out that she caused the fire and that she was a witch all this time. When Constantine appears with a mob, they tried killing her by burning her at the stake except she escapes into a new realm known as Midnight. Once inside Midnight, she meets the ghost of her Great Great Grandmother and finds out that the world was the home for her mother and her aunt and that they were witches except her aunt, Vavira. With this knowledge, she is able to use fire magic and control it at will. With the help of the Midnight Road, Vasiliza has to find the Winter King in order to save Moscow from an impending war and make sure her family is safe in the end. Will she and the Winter King be able to save Moscow? And will they be able to make sure the Chariaty don’t disappear from everyone’s sight?

Thoughts

I know this has been a long wait since I did have the second book on my Kindle for many years and starting to pick up where I left off. I was also glad to re-read the first since I forgot what took place. You can find the first book’s review in my 2019 archives if you want to see what I thought. I did find the first book a bit rough on the first read since my religious beliefs were very different from my family’s and hearing the legends of Russia was really interesting. It did kind of continue in the second book since we did get to learn a little bit more about Vasiliza and her family and how her mom came to be. I did like Maria, Olga’s daughter, though and how she figured out Vasiliza’s disguise since they always refereed to her as a “frog” due to the big green eyes. Apparently, the ancestor did have these same green eyes and it does tell where she got them from. I did like their interactions in the second book since Vasilia did teach her how to get the demons out with tributes and it helped pass the knowledge on. In the third book, we get to see Maria talk to the Demivoy in the oven in order to find out if Vasiliza was till alive or not after what took place in the beginning of the book.

I felt the third one, Winter of the Witch, kind of dragged on, especially towards the end since we were seeing more of the truth behind Vasiliza’s family traits within Midnight and how she was able to travel through the road to get to different parts of Russia without being seen. Of course, we did see the return of Mevid, the Bear, throughout the second and third books. I did read the note from the author stating that she wanted to include the antient war that took place that led to the creation of Russia, which gave the books a nice historical spin with the inclusion of old legends, I had a feeling the parts with the Winter King and Vasiliza was going to end up as a romance story since in the first book, she was playing the part of the maiden that was given the dowry from the Winter King except she turned it down because she didn’t want to get married and left home to escape from either being burnt for being a witch and the social norms which you have to be married with dowry as a woman and stay home to tend the home while men do the work and ride horses. Even Morozko, the Winter King, tried to push that on her but she refused because she’d rather see the rest of Russia and she got to do that with Moscow, even though it ended in disaster but accomplished her wants of seeing the outside. I think what the trilogy is saying is delivering the message of letting go of who you’re supposed to be in order to be someone you want to be which that is what Vasiliza had done throughout the story by saving Russia in the end. I wished an epilogue should have tied it altogether where there was a bit of a time skip and we see Vasiliza and Morozko together in Midnight but in winter watching everyone and how things took hold after the war. It would have ended the story a bit better.

Ratings:

The Girl in the Tower: 4.5 Shooting Star Paws out of 5

Winter of the Witch: 4 Shooting Star Paws Out of 5

I think I gave the first a five rating but these two kind of got a bitof a lower score because there were things I did notice and that is how Vasiliza changed through the story. Even though she was stubborn in the first book and was inexperienced being able to handle being out in the freezing cold, or even the knowledge she had of the fantastic spirits, she did seem weaker as the story drove on. Even though she was mistaken as a boy in the second one, she did kind of lose her strength towards the end of the book going into the third and feeling hopeless. I think the most strength she had was against Constantine since he was putting so many people against her and it took until Dimitri finally saw some sense in what Sasha had told him about him, even when the revelation of how he tried to kill Vasaliza at the beginning of the third book with a mob. She did become a little stronger after losing Sasha in the end of book three but she did switch back to being worthless at most points and I think that is why it did drop some points in both books. These two did tie the story end pretty well but did lose their spark a little. I do recommend though.

That ends this review!  I think the next one I am reading is also part of a series, I may take a look into it and if it is, I will be taking a good while reading. Since yesterday’s post did kind of look down on subscriptions, let’s put a positive spin with brands I’ve been purchasing even after unsubscribing? Until next time!

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