Fantasy, Low Fantasy, Young Adults
Winternight Trilogy, Book # 2
December 5th 2017
May 4, 2020 May 6, 2020
The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.
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.
About the book
The Girl in the Tower is the second book in the Winternight Trilogy series and follows the first book. As the first, the book is divided in parts, four this time. The first part is dedicates to Vasja’s sister, Ol’ga and brother, Saša who are in Moscow. Here we come to know about Ol’ga’s life since she left her father’s household to become the princess of Sepurchov.
We learn that villages are attacked and that three girls are kidnapped in each village. Saša, who is a warrior monk leave Moscow with the Great Prince Dmitrji to stop these attacks and it is in a monastery close to one of the attacked villages that he meets Vasja once again.
In fact Vasja, after the events of the first book, leaves the village where she was born because she is accused of being a witch and takes refuge with Morozko. But even here, she can’t find her path because she doesn’t want to get married and doesn’t want to go to a convent. She only wants to travel because she is a free spirit, almost a wild one and if she were born a man (for the period in which the story is narrated) it would have been better. On one of these trips she ends up in one of the burned villages and manages to free the three kidnapped girls and takes refuge right where Saša and the Grand Prince are at that moment.
Here, however, Saša doesn’t reveal that Vasja is a woman for fear of ruining her reputation and in fact she looks like a boy. So it begins a series of events in which Vasja introduces herself as a boy and helps the prince.
Obviously it all ends when the farce is discovered.
For the main characters, please read the first review. Here we find Vasja, Konstantin (yes we didn’t get rid of hit) and Morozko (although I didn’t say much in the first book to not reveal too much of the plot).
Again we have the Grand Prince of Moscow, which I liked despite everything.
Saša was present in the first book but left with Ol’ga after a few chapters. He is a monk but does not want to retire to a monastery and therefore becomes a bit like an adviser to Dmitrji.
Ol’ga got married and had two children plus one on the way: Marija and Dannil. We notice how lonely she is in her tower and how she represents the real “woman” of the time, in the sense that she is the one who obeys her husband and the rules of the time.
What I think
I liked the book like the first one, in fact, I gave the same amount of stars. I am happy that Vasja does not lose herself during the events and that she still manages to make her journey. It could have been a 5 stars and in fact I was about to give them but then Vasja is humiliated in front of all Moscow and I don’t like this fact. I know that we are in the 1300s and that women had a different role and social level but as in other books I don’t like when this excuse is used to humiliate a person. And I know it’s just me who thinks so.
This book is more focused on politics and less on Vasja’s ability to see the spirits, even if it is always present. In fact it seems that the language changes, although it is magnificent it is less magical. However, we note how much the author has researched this period and the study she has made of medieval Russia and folklorist tales.
I am also happy that we learn a little more about Vasja’s grandmother and her origin even if the questions I had in the first book (a couple) are still not answered.
Despite wanting to kill Konstantin, I still love him. He is wrong for a mentality of our time, but according to the rules of the time he is right. And I like this aspect of the character and every scene he has with Vasja is phenomenal.
Above all we see the female condition of the time. As long as she was a boy, Vasja was a hero for a certain fact that I don’t tell you not to spoil, but as soon as it is discovered that she is a woman not only she loses her dignity, but all the good she has done is cancelled as a woman because she has made fun of the “Grand Prince”. I honestly hoped for a different end, that Dmitrij was different from the princes of the time, but no, he’s the same (till now).
Can I say that I love Morozko and the veil of mystery that surrounds him? I liked how he behaves in this book (and in the first, too!) But above all I like how his non-human side is well characterised. How his feelings conflict because he is an immortal demon and cannot have human feelings. I also like how the jewel given to Vasja’s father in the first book is explained and why it was given to her.
I also like the bad guy and how he is defeated.
The conclusion is phenomenal, it’s not really a cliffhanger but almost. I will certainly read the third volume, I must say that I expected something different from these books but nevertheless I recommend them.