The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
Publication date: 10 January 2019
Page count: 384 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This review is spoiler-free for The Winter of the Witch, however contains spoilers for the first two books. Don’t forget to check out my review of The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower.
Welcome to my stop on the Winter of the Witch blog tour! You may know by now how much I absolutely love the Winternight trilogy, and while I was so sad that the series is coming to and end, I knew I had to read The Winter of the Witch as soon as possible — I had to know how it ended! Katherine Arden has knocked it out of the park once again with the conclusion to Vasya’s adventures.
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…
The Winter of the Witch picks up immediately where The Girl in the Tower ends — Moscow has burned to the ground and Vasya has been revealed to be a witch. The beginning of this book is pretty stressful — I had to put it aside a few times and catch my breath — as Vasya extricates herself from her difficult situation. Despite this, I loved the way that Arden brought the story back to its more fantastical roots. The Girl in the Tower, while brilliant, definitely felt more like a historical fiction novel with fantasy elements. The Winter of the Witch returned to the same feeling and atmosphere of The Bear and the Nightingale — it was a fantasy novel with historical elements.
Vasya continues to be one of the best heroines in modern fantasy fiction. Her character arc across the trilogy is just incredible. She’s one of those amazing characters who starts out strong and admirable, but continues to grow and evolve into an even more interesting and complex character. I don’t necessarily agree with everything she does, however I always believe in her choices and decisions, and that’s a rare thing. This book builds on her wonderful relationship with her brother Sasha, as The Girl in the Tower did with her sister Olga, and is one of my favourite parts of the story. The family relationships in this book are just wonderful.
We get a whole crop of new and old characters in The Winter of the Witch, including a particular favourite of mine that I’ll leave you to discover. Because this book once again leans more toward the fantastical, we get to see many more chyerti than we did in the previous book. I really loved seeing all the different chyerti come back into the story and playing a more important role. I don’t want to say too much, but there are some absolutely brilliant chyerti characters in this book!
The Winter of the Witch is a brilliant, hard-hitting, emotional, but incredibly rewarding end to the Winternight trilogy. Fans of the series are sure to love this stunning conclusion to this series. Although I’m so sad that the trilogy has come to an end, I cannot wait to see what stories Katherine will tell next.
Want to pick up a copy of The Winter of the Witch? You can find it at the following sites (affiliate links):
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the Winter of the Witch blog tour!