Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Blurb: For a young woman in medieval Russia, the choices are stark: marriage or life in a convent. Vasya will choose a third way: magic…
When Vasya encounters the Grand Prince of Moscow, she is dressed as a boy for safety’s sake. This is a dangerous country with a court plagued by power struggles and bandits roaming the countryside. One of the Prince’s advisers, Sasha, recognises this ‘boy’ as his younger sister and must keep her secret. For Vasya has remarkable gifts and may be the only one who can save the city from threats both human and fantastical…

Title: The Girl in the Tower

Author: Katherine Arden

Publisher: Del Rey, an imprint of Ebury, owned by Penguin

Genre: Fiction, Historical, Fantasy


With the second instalment of the Winternight Trilogy, I continue to be captivated by this magical story and its inhabitants.

This book follows the next step of Vasya’s adventure where she finds herself on the road, with only her horse Solovey for company, forging a new life. When she stumbles upon a village that has been pillaged and burned to the ground by a group of unidentified bandits, she takes it on herself to help. Before long, Vasya finds herself disguised as a boy and before the Grand Prince of Moscow. She must keep her true identity a secret to survive in this man’s world, but what happens when there are darker forces at work?

There are so many things that I love about this book. My favourite thing about this series is the expert way in which Arden weaves historical folklore with an exciting and adventerous narrative, all while keeping a beautiful flow. The descriptions of the settings and characters really brought this story to life with lots of details that made the story really easy to imagine. I could feel Olga’s regality, see Vasya’s wildness, which added so much to the story. Vasya continues to be one of my favourite book characters. She’s not portrayed as the stereotypicaly beautiful, meek and noble girl who suffers her hardships before finding some kind of inner strength – right from the beginning she is wild and untamable, a force to be reckoned with. This only grows as the series progresses and I love that we get to see her become even more mature and selfless as she gets older. Plus, her relationship with Solovey is adorable. Arden keeps a good pace in regards to the plot of this book, not leaving us hanging around nor moving too fast that we miss details.

As for what I disliked, there wasn’t much. My main complaint would be that I’ve been rooting for Vasya and Morozko’s relationship to become more tangible, more romantic, and it isn’t getting there. It’s definitely keeping me on my toes which is a positive as it makes me want to read more, but I really can’t tell what’s going to happen next with them.

Overall, if you’re in the market for a historical novel with a whole heap of folklore and magic, all led by a strong female character, then this is definitely the series for you!

Rating: 4/5

Recommend?: Yes

Have you read this book? What did you think? Have you read any of the books that come after this one? I’d love to know! 

You can always find me over on Instagram and Twitter if you’d like to discuss this book (or any others that I’ve featured) in more detail 😌

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