The Winter of the Witch: A Novel
Winter of the Witch is the final installment of a trilogy by Katherine Arden that began with The Bear and the Nightingale, followed by The Girl in the Tower. I purchased the first two books to read for context, and I was not disappointed.
This beautifully written book is a retelling of a handful of Russian fairy tales against the backdrop of medieval Russia. The book follows Vasya Petrovna as she balances good and evil, Orthodoxy and paganism, family and country. It concludes with the battle of Kulikovo, a real historical event. Vasya is tasked with rallying the chyerti, spirits that live in nature and the home. She makes the mistake of fighting against the Bear, a spirit of life, summer, and chaos, and siding with Morozko, the god of winter and death. Meanwhile, Vasya’s brother Sasha, a monk, must convince his cousin Grand Prince Dmitrii Ivanovich that Vasya’s visions and advice are not the result of evil magic. Several times throughout the trilogy, ignorant villagers, egged on by a zealous, corrupt priest, attempt to accuse Vasya of witchcraft and burn her.
Several other plot threads that were started in The Girl In The Tower, were wrapped up tidily at the end of Winter of the Witch. Vasya had some other brothers and sisters, and it was unclear what happened to them at the end of the book since they never made an appearance after the first book. Any loose ends in this final installment are inconsequential at best. Winter of the Witch is an intense, enjoyable read.
|Page Count||384 pages|
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|Category||Science Fiction & Fantasy|