When I read The Bear and the Nightingale, I definitely liked it (you can find the review here), but I knew that the series was not opening up its full potential. But I decided to stick with it, because I was sure it would bloom by the second book. And it did! I loved The Girl in the Tower. So here are…
5 Reasons To Read The Girl In The Tower
The Girl in the Tower carries on where The Bear and The Nightingale left off. Vasya, a rebellious girl, needs to flee her homeland, because after the events of the first book, she is regarded as a witch, feared and loathed, and she is worried for her own life. She can think of no other place to flee to than to Morozko, the frost god. However… Things get even darker than in the first book, but also? Much more adventurous! As Vasya now becomes the traveling adventurer maiden she was cut out to be.
Vasya Is A Great Model Of Female Power
Vasya is such an amazing woman! Sure, she’s a tomboy, she’s rash and doesn’t quite think things through, but also? She’s brave, she’s daring, and through her character and her experiences, we get to see the obstacles women had to face before our times. I have always known that life for women was tough, back in the day. We all know that. But do we ever think just how tough? How limited the self expression and the life, when you’re trapped in a tower, and that’s normal? When you can’t ever say what you want to say, or even feel what you want to feel? Not speaking of the boredom and dullness of such a life. Vasya was a great contrast. She fought, she ran, she rescued. She burned and destroyed. Vasya is the true strong female heroine and I love her for that.
The Slow-Burn Romance
To be honest? I was very curious what would become of the romance in this story. This is not the kind of book, nor is Katherine the kind of writer, I feel, who would subject you to flowery love stories. I wouldn’t have expected ANY romance in this series at all – apart from the fact that the story was set up from the first book and it was sort of leading up somewhere. And I was so curious about where it would lead! I have to say, I am extremely satisfied with the outcome. I’m not a romance fan, so this was just perfect for me. Subtle and reasonable. I will not say more, for fear of spoilers!
The Pace And The Suspense
This book has done what the first one hasn’t – namely, it has suspense! If The Bear and the Nightingale was slow at times, you could only say this book was rolling, and always on edge. At one point, I had to stop reading, because I just didn’t want to find out what was next – it was too much. Had to put the book down for a day or two!
This Book Is More Adult
You can clearly feel that Vasya is no child anymore in this book. If things were a little soft around the edge in The Bear and the Nightingale, they are not so in The Girl in the Tower. The book is much more adult, both in the tone, and the darkness it tells about. I’m normally very sensitive to darkness in books, but this was just right. The ideas it helps express just absolutely worked with it.
Being A Strong Woman Can Be So Many Different Things
You’d think that if Vasya, a strong and fighting woman, is in the spotlight here, this book says that the strength is only in fighting? WRONG! I was pleasantly surprised to see extremely strong and capable female characters who were symbolizing the other side of femininity – the soft, submissive side, namely – Vasya’s sister Olga. She is no rebel, she does what she’s told, she submits to her life and bears her cross with her head held high. But it’s no weakness! Olga displays incredible strength in the face of adversity, and she only bears that kind of life because that’s the way she can protect everyone she loves, keep her responsibilities. I couldn’t claim that either one of these women – Vasya or Olga – is portrayed as the right one! That’s the whole brilliance – both are right ways to live. Your strength lies in who you are, and there are many ways to be strong. Because of this, the book feels like a song to the many kinds of femininity there can be.
I know I loved this book and it was very easy for me to follow. However, I’ve grown up close to Russia and I’ve been exposed to Russian fairytales and mythologies from an early age. I’ve heard from some Westerners that some of the mythologies are hard to follow and maybe not explained enough – if I hadn’t know the fairytale about Koshchei the Deathless, I might have had trouble following too. So if you don’t have any background, just read the glossary at the back first.
I thank Del Rey and Katherine Arden for giving me a copy of the book in exchange to my honest opinion. You can buy the book here at Book Depository and buying using this link supports the blog.
Have you read The Bear and the Nightingale? Are you planning to read The Girl in the Tower?