The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

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“Close your eyes,” he said into her ear. “Come with me.”
She did so, and suddenly she saw what he saw. She was the wind, the clouds gathering in the smoky sky, the thick snow of deep winter. She was nothing. She was everything.

✨ I wish I had thought of a way to create a magical gem in which I’d have kept all the beautiful words because let’s face it, my ability to write a review has been seriously fading these past months.

I want to say that Katherine Arden‘s writing is so gorgeous and enchanting that its brilliance inspired me to delve into my forgotten idioms but today, more than ever, my fingers hover above the keyboard and I don’t know how to express my love?

Where are chierti when we need them?

Oh, well, I’ll do my best.

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✨ The Girl in the Tower begins right after the events of The Bear and the Nightingale, when our beloved Vasya must escape her village, failing which she’d end in a convent, married, or worst if the frightened whispers and the accusations of witchcraft take precedence. She’s not about to fulfill the role set out for women in this misogynist society, and would rather explore the world as a boy, thank you very much. But it’s without counting on the dangers creeping in, and soon she finds herself in the midst of Moscow’s political and magical intrigues. If you enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale, I can’t see why you wouldn’t enjoy The Girl in the Tower, given that this sequel keeps everything that made the first book captivating – the fabulous atmosphere, the complex characters, the fascinating folklore – but the stakes are higher and it’s just so much more exciting.

I loved everything about it.

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✨ If Vasya has a special place in my heart, it’s important to note that none of Katherine Arden‘s characters are wasted, or one-dimensional. All are complex beings caught in a tug of war between opposite forces and reading The Girl in the Tower made the differences with other fantasy works so much more profound because how rare is it, really? We readers are slowly struck by the realization that there’s no such thing as a right choice and actions we support could – and will – have dire consequences.

And what about the incredible characters’ dynamics? The family relationships? It’s perfection.

Above everything, I love how The Girl in the Tower puts great emphasis on the utter brilliance of women, regardless of their choices. Indeed it would have been so easy to praise Vasya and Vasya only, but that’s not what this story is about : with Olga, and others, Katherine Arden shows other forms of strength, and explores the complex threads of what it means to be a woman in this world, to be brave.

Witch. The word drifted across his mind. We call such women so because we have no other name.

As for men, they unsurprisingly don’t have a clue what they’re doing, but they do it anyway, because #patriarchy. Yet they’re still complex, villains and allies alike, and again, that’s what makes it so hard to dismiss them entirely.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that my favorite male characters are a sassy horse and a frost demon, isn’t it? I adore them. I’ll protect them at all cost. I am so,so scared.

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✨ 5 stars, and I couldn’t recommend The Girl in the Tower enough. Again, if you liked The Bear and the Nightingale, I can’t see why you wouldn’t fall in love again, and if you haven’t read the first book yet? God, what are you waiting for?

Art created with the graphics provided by Vecteezy

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