Review: The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

Winter of the WitchThe Winternight trilogy comes to its conclusion. I feel somewhat late to the party just reading this one now, but what can I say: library holds, eh.

This one picks up directly where the second novel left off, with Moscow having suffered a massive fire the night before. As Vasya and her sister Olga begin to pick up the pieces, a mob appears at the door, led by Father Konstantin Nikonovich, demanding Vasya, the witch.

And you don’t take another breath until it’s over. As Vasya works to first find and then free Morozko, the Winter-King, then enlists his help to once again bind Medved, the Bear, she slowly discovers what her true purpose is and her role in the world.

I liked this one a lot. I LOVED the first one, with its magical realism and meticulous detail (The Bear and the Nightingale was one of the books that made me realize that the descriptor “well-researched” is a pretty good indication I’m going to like the book. See also: A Discovery of Witches). The second book I loved a little less, mostly because of Vasya’s tendency to make a mess of things, before gaining the skills she picks up in the third book that enable her to then Fix Things.

The third book was excellent. Vasya finally gets over the culture shock of leaving behind the home in the woods where she’s lived her whole life and gets on with the business of figuring out how to be a bad-A. Time and again, she solves her problems using her wits and sheer nerve, defying everyone who expects her to just lay down and either: a) wait for a man to come save her or b) die.

Mild Trigger Warning– If you’re a person who’s attached to their pets, be warned: The horse dies pretty early on.

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