Satisfying Ending? The Winter Of The Witch Review
The Winter Of The Witch by Katherine Arden
Genre: YA Fantasy
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.
Rating: 4 stars!
Okay, I’m going to be honest: I found an unexpected gem in Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy. I thought I’ve sworn myself off of Young Adult fantasy adventures, but this series completely caught me off guard.
Book one, The Bear and the Nightingale was unlike anything I’ve ever read. I was pleasantly surprised by the lyrical prose, the way Arden told the story like how a fairy tale should sound.
Book two, The Girl In The Tower, found me wanting more of Vasya, the Winter King and Arden’s rich world-building.
The final book of the series, The Winter of the Witch, was the perfect end to this sweeping series.
Vasya, bless her impulsive soul, is caught between two wars— the impending battle between Rus and the advancing Horde, and the unseen clash between the Winter King and his evil twin, Medved.
She faces impossible choices, is pushed against the proverbial wall and is assailed from all sides. Just the way I like it.
The Winter of the Witch still contains Arden’s lyrical prose, but it’s less of a fairy tale and more of a coming-of-age story. No more afternoons in the woods for little Vasya, here. Arden’s imagined Rus’ is now darker, colder and with sharper teeth. This final installment starts out harsh, and it keeps this pace all throughout the book. There were times where I felt physically and emotionally exhausted for Vasya. The girl was dead on her feet for most of the book, but I loved how she just kept soldiering on.
A lot of character development happens in The Winter of The Witch, and I appreciate how much Vasya’s character grew, for better or for worse. She entertained, awed and annoyed me in equal measure.
Her relationship with Morozko is far from what you’d call ‘romantic’, but their dynamic works, nonetheless.
The book also delves deeper into the Russian folklore and Vasya’s heritage, which I enjoyed.
I have to admit that there were some parts where the pacing felt rather off and anti-climactic, but all loose strings were neatly tied in the end.
Overall, the Winter of the Witch was a satisfying end to this trilogy. The Bear and the Nightingale will always be my favorite among all three, but this one is a strong contender.
4.5 stars. 🙂
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