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The Girl in the Tower

Winternight, Book 2
Narrated by: Kathleen Gati
Series: Winternight Trilogy, Book 2
Length: 13 hrs and 2 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden, read by Kathleen Gati.

For a young woman in medieval Russia, the choices are stark: marriage or a life in a convent. Vasya will choose a third way: magic....

The court of the Grand Prince of Moscow is plagued by power struggles and rumours of unrest. Meanwhile, bandits roam the countryside, burning the villages and kidnapping its daughters. Setting out to defeat the raiders, the Prince and his trusted companion come across a young man riding a magnificent horse.

Only Sasha, a priest with a warrior's training, recognises this 'boy' as his younger sister, thought to be dead or a witch by her village. But when Vasya proves herself in battle, riding with remarkable skill and inexplicable power, Sasha realises he must keep her secret, as she may be the only way to save the city from threats both human and fantastical....

©2018 Katherine Arden (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

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Fairy tales within a fairy tale

I often do not like the middle books in trilogies or series - they usually feel like story fillers, not a proper story in itself. The Girl in the Tower is one of the few exceptions.

The story continues immediately after the first book. Or rather, it starts somewhere around the last third or quarter of the first book, but in Moscow, following Vasya's two older siblings, Olga and Sasha. We get a few more different perspectives in this book compared to the first, and Katherine Arden's medieval Russia became grander, bloodier, and slightly more cruel.

Vasya's stubborn challenge on medieval gender roles features prominently in this book. Understandable as Vasya is now sixteen but still wild and headstrong, refusing to live her life walled in either by marriage or the convent. Also more prominent in this book is romance, or rather strong hints of it. I didn't mind either, but the one thing that I missed more of was the old spirits. There are a couple of domovois and banniks, and even a new dvorovoi, but these encounters are few and far between. They are fading in Moscow, but not gone. The struggle between old golds and new carries on.

Yes, this book is a continuation of the first, and is a foreshadowing of the next. But it is also a book in itself. There is another story in this story about fairy tales; and that one (arguably) began and ended in this book. And that is why The Girl in the Tower, despite being in the middle of a trilogy, can stand on its own.

Kathleen Gati's voice remains soft and dreamy. I realise now that the prose itself is lyrical, and perhaps the narrator is building from that. But now she also had hard edges and shrill panic and breathless excitement. Much improved.

Although I love the first book more (largely because I love the girl Vasya more than the teen one), I don't think I loved a middle book as much as I loved this one. If you've read The Bear and the Nightingale, you know you need to read The Girl in the Tower. Get this. Now.

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I wished it would never end

Newly discovered for me, a stunning trilogy... how will I be able to wait a whole year for the final part?

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-03-18

good sequel

enjoyed the story. All the magic of the first book. but slightly spoiled by the delivery, which was Siri-esque

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • AliBerks
  • 07-25-18

A beautifully written fairy tale for adults

You need to read book1 first but this continues a brilliant story, beautifully written. My only disappointment was that the third book isn't out until 2019!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • R. Maines
  • 08-20-19

It’s simple.

If you enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale then you will enjoy this. Vasya, in her attempts to avoid be thrown into a convent is on a collision course with an immortal monster whilst battling the sexism of her time. I love this series, roll on book 3.

Narration was also great.

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  • Emelia
  • 06-19-19

Great sequel

Once again I listened to this as an audiobook. I even got up to 1.5x speed because I wanted to “read faster”.

I loved this book and continue to love the characters and the world. I was intrigued and interested throughout.

I didn’t give this 5 stars likely because the novelty of the world from the first book was lost, especially as this has much less folklore and more politics which was still fun. I think I will leave it a bit before finishing the trilogy so I can be enchanted again by the unique setting and world.

Definitely enjoyed this read and the story was fun too. Vasilisa is getting older and her life harder. It’s hard to witness but I have a feeling her character in the 3rd book will be better for it!

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  • SteveA
  • 05-25-19

An enjoyable story continues

Really enjoyed the first book, this one develops the story and characters in a new setting. Deep and rich storytelling, narrated beautifully.

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  • Connie Rea
  • 03-12-19

The Girl in the Tower

I put off reading this book for months. I loved the first book so much and I couldn't dream how Arden could pull off a second book that was anywhere near as good as the first. At some point, I finally knew I could put it off no longer, so I pulled out the first book again and did a reread. Oh. My. Gosh. I loved it even more the the 2nd time, so my anxiety (yes I sometimes have anxiety over books....don't judge me for that I won't judge you because you don't! #justsaying). I forced myself to start this book.

At 20% I was just...well....heck....what can I say...I was surprised....I was honestly loving it even more. I knew there was no way the 2nd book could be even has as wonderful as the first...yet somehow it was turning out EVEN BETTER!!!! I was terrified to ask my friends who loved the first book to read it...to see if they would feel the same way....I spent page after page wanting to rush and ask them to read this and the need to keep silent so I didn't jinx it...At about 30% the need to share my love won out...I let the world know I was in love! I was crushed with myself...I KNEW I had ruined it and jinxed the novel...that it would all go downhill quickly...At 70%I couldn't believe all of the emotions I was feeling...at 75% I had to stop reading and take a half day off from reading...I couldn't slow down enough to make sure I didn't miss anything...I was just loving it so much that I wanted to race heedlessly to the end...so I forced myself to set it aside for most of the day to calm myself...

What can I say? There's no way I can express all the wonder in this book. No way to explain why this is so much better than the first book. I don't even know why....well...sure...I mean, there's the part of spending more time with Vasya...and the Winter King...But seriously...I just can't do a review to put all of my feelings into words...So different from the first book...but also so much the same...less of a made-up fairytale feel and more of a real-life fairytale....yes perhaps that's it...instead of just wanting a warm cozy fire nearby reading the first book, this book I found myself snuggling deep within the covers...of both the book and my bed...Every time that Morozko spoke I felt the kiss of the cool fresh air of first light on cold winter's morn...

See, I am rambling...I am like some over stimulated child that has had too many sweets and too much excitement all in one day...

I loved this book so very much that I am ALREADY having anxiety through the roof about the third book...I just want to keep these characters near...I woke up with morning (after staying up past midnight to finish this novel!) knowing I had dreamt of horses and domovoi...

I just want to be one of those crazed fans and run out and meet Katherine Arden and thank her for the beauty she has brought into my world. For making me believe...well...in all the wonderful things this book brings to me...that magic does exist....that love is the greatest gift...that there are those that will sacrifice anything for the right cause....that loyalty can't be bought...nor sold...that kindness matters...the list goes on and on....and honey oat cakes...I want to bake her honey oat cakes over an open flame...and FFS I don't even know what those are!!!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Rebecca B
  • 11-24-18

Loved the language and the imagery.

I read the first book in the trilogy and couldn't wait to download this. The complicated names and language challenge the reader and I loved the author's explanations of the Russian words/tales. This created vivid images with a good balance of historic licence, fantasy & human emotion.

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  • geekclique
  • 10-28-18

Thoroughly enjoyable

I really enjoyed this book. The reading is excellent and I appreciate that a reader with Russian family members was found, so that pronunciation of Russian names and words was accurate and consistent.
I preferred the atmosphere of the first book, but know that most in my reading preferred the adventures and wider world explored in this one. If you found the first book a little slow or lacking in action then I strongly recommend you give this one a try.
I look forward to listening to the third book soon.

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  • KosmicTea
  • 10-20-18

love love love it

Such a good book, a magical warm cosy tale. can't wait for the next one!

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  • stephen moss
  • 10-06-18

Gripping and magical.

An adult fairytale about the fairytales of medieval Russia. Brilliantly told and read as it builds on the characters and worlds introduced in book 1. Audacious heroine and colourful manipulative wicked villain.

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  • Monica
  • 08-27-19

So good! Would recommend to anyone!

This trilogy is so wonderful, I'd recommend it to almost anyone. Kept some mystery, there's adventure, fighting, the supernatural, romance and friendship. I honestly cant even explain how much I loved the series.

I also really loved that the narrator did the accents and different voices, it really brought the story to life. My only complaint is that she spoke so slowly that I had to keep it at 1.75x or 2.0x to keep up with the pace of the book. So really, think of it at like a 7.5-9hr read

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  • Miss Tanya Heywood
  • 06-13-19

Beautiful

A magical tale which was beautifully read. I loved every second. I could not stop listening.

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  • Lunagirl
  • 05-14-19

Loved it

Fabulous story... never stops, compelling heroine... love the interweaving of myth and magic. Arden is a great storyteller.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-06-18

AMAZING

Very engaging, great for reading and listening. performance was fabulous, with great accents. Could listen to it over and over again.

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  • Mary
  • 06-17-18

Gripping, better than the first book!

Story really picks up in this 2nd book for me. By the end of the story i was holding my breath not knowing how it would end. I applaud the author for a vivid tale & the Russian medieval setting is refreshing. Can't wait for the third book now!

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  • Jen
  • 06-02-18

Excellent Author

I very much loved the story and characters however some of the english pronunciation were unusual.