Review: THE WINTER OF THE WITCH by Katherine Arden ~ seep yourself in the winter forests of medieval Russia in this fantasy triology ~ releases January 8, 2019



Title:  The Winter of the Witch  Winternight Trilogy Book 3
Author: Kathleen Arden
Genre: Literary Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 384
Published by: Del Rey
Published Date: January 8, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B077LT812J

 Winternight Trilogy:
The Bear and the Nightingale
The Girl in the Tower
The Winter of the Witch

The first two books are also reviewed on Booktalk with Eileen. Use the search box to locate them.


Publisher’s Summary:

Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen.

“A tale both intimate and epic, featuring a heroine whose harrowing and wondrous journey culminates in an emotionally resonant finale.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviewers called Katherine Arden’s novels The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower “lyrical,” “emotionally stirring,” and “utterly bewitching.” The Winternight Trilogy introduced an unforgettable heroine, Vasilisa Petrovna, a girl determined to forge her own path in a world that would rather lock her away. Her gifts and her courage have drawn the attention of Morozko, the winter-king, but it is too soon to know if this connection will prove a blessing or a curse.

Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever and determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself and her history as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.


My Review:  Having read and reviewed the first two book of this trilogy, I was well-primed to enjoy the events unfolding in this story set deep in the myths of Russia.  It was a time where old beliefs fade from people’s minds while new one are taking root.

Vasya Petrona is caught between the two beliefs.  She has special powers of perception; able to see and hear the demons who guard each dwelling, protect the ovens of their homes, dwell in the forest, the waterways, and even demons who take the dead.  This world is in an uproar.  The smaller demons are becoming weaker, also losing their powers.  They want to fight back.  People have turned their backs on them.  They were the ones to protect homes and dwellings.  While they were believed in, people were able to see them and provided for them as well.  They grew strong.  But no more.

The Winter King, the demon of death, has grown an attachment to Vasya. He protects her when those would call her witch. His twin, the Bear, works against him, using hate and lust of a ‘man of God’ to destroy Vasya.  The Bear wants to destroy Morozko and take over the world.  He insights hatred and war among men, gaining more power as he does.

Vasya is in the middle of this battle.  Will she be overtaken by Morozko or the Bear?  Is she clever enough and powerful enough to stop the down-spiraling demise of the mythical world? She knows that to have Russia a country of peace the worlds must work together.

The dialog among the demons and Vasya is very well done.  It shows clearly the stress of the events and the power behind each demon. It sets the tone of the story, along with author Arden’s description of the setting.  I find myself in Russia, in the Midnight Forest where there is never day.  All the events create a perfect fantasy of battles, evil, and love – the kind that endures.  You will be surprised by the events and completely happy with the ending. This tale is memorable.

Uniquely written with a style suited to the time, author Arden shows us the underbelly of the demon. I took away a theme, intentioned or not.  In every good person, there is evil, and in every bad person, there is good.

I recommend this series to dreamers of the unknown.

About eileendandashi

I am a lover of books, both reading and writing. 2018 marks the beginning of my own journey from writer to published author. This blog will showcase various authors' thoughts on the elements of novel crafting, and my attempts to find my voice in writing. While journaling this journey, I hope to encourage others to follow their dreams. Book reviews continue as I have the last four years, only making time for my new pursuits.
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