Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House Global for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Book: The Winter of the Witch (Winternight 3) by Katherine Arden
Release Date: January 8th 2019
Tags: Fantasy / Young Adult / Russian Folklore / Russian History / Baba Yaga
Trigger Warnings: Animal Death / Attempted and Mentioned Rape / Death of a Loved One / War / Death / Mutilation / Non-Graphic Sex
Other books in this series I reviewed
The Girl in the Tower
One girl can make a difference…
Moscow has burned nearly to the ground, leaving its people searching for answers – and someone to hold accountable. Vasya finds herself on her own, amid a rabid mob that calls for her death, blaming her witchery for their misfortune.
Then a vengeful demon returns, renewed and stronger than ever, determined to spread chaos in his wake and never be chained again. Enlisting the hateful priest Konstantin as his servant, turmoil plagues the Muscovites and the magical creatures alike, and all find their fates resting on the shoulders of Vasya.
With an uncertain destiny ahead of her, Vasya learns surprising truths of her past as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all..
One of the most anticipated releases of January 2019 was The Winter of the Witch as the conclusion to the Winternight trilogy. If you have been waiting a while. It was certainly worth the wait. While I didn’t end up loving this book as much as I did the second, it is still a very worthy ending to the story.
One of the things that Katherine Arden masters at is weaving the Russian folklore and fairytales to one compelling and dark story that digs into its characters. It digs deep. Everything stands and falls with our characters, mainly of course Vasya. But also the Winter King, Father Konstantin, Sasha and so on. No matter how little their own point of views were in the story, Arden knows how to deepen out characters with only a few sentences.
It creates a very introspective book where Arden invites you to take a closer look at how we treat woman and our expectations of them. Even in this day and age this still stands. We may not arrange marriages for the majority of the population but there are other ways where we still try and keep woman and other marginalized groups from acting out of what society expects of them.
The relationship between the siblings has been strained and that has been very realistic. But now especially Vasya and her brother come together and it feels great to see how Sasha can give up his misconceptions regarding Vasya’s abilitie. She is a woman. She is his sister. She is a leader. She is a fighter.
It is a powerful book and a powerful series. So why didn’t I rate this book 5 stars, but 4 instead? The thing is, I have a smidge with the plot. We get to what we perceive is the ending but then Arden throws us to the side. I always enjoy that but here I felt a little disjointed once we hop into that side of the story. I will also say that Lady Midnight needs to stop acting as if Vasya can bloody read her mind. If you want something to happen than SAY IT. Biggest pet peeve of this whole book.