Morning Mortals! I got to read The Girl in the Tower and it was absolutely everything I wanted it to be and then about 4000% more on top of that. I’m still excited a week later (yeah I am catching up with reviews don’t judge me!). I can’t wait to get stuck into this review so let’s leap right in.
Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.
This book reminds me so much of one of my other favourite books of this year, And I Darken which also deals with the idea of how a woman in another time who didn’t want to conform to tradition might have to deal with that. There are a lot of similarities between Vlada and Vasya and I’m proud to have them both in my fantasy list of phenomenal friends who are girls. Although that group is getting a little crowded that just means bulk ordering the jackets will be cheaper!
But I digress.
My point is that, if I liked Vasya in The Bear and the Nightingale, my obsession has only grown through book two. She’s feistier, she has more freedom now and she just runs with it. I love the way that so much of Vasya’s liberation comes from cutting ties (by choice or otherwise) with the people she loves. It makes for some beautifully bittersweet moments that had me almost in tears (almost).
There are also still a lot of fairytale and classic story elements throughout this work. The idea of being disguised as a boy in the court, of courting ethereal beings to gain information, evil step-characters. It’s all grounded in some of the most powerful storytelling devices which makes it all so much more engaging when it subverts your expectation.
If you haven’t read The Bear and the Nightingale yet then you probably do need to read that first to understand most of what’s happening here. But if you have already read it and you’re wondering if the sequel is worth the gander then trust me, it is just as evocative, as beautiful, as intense and as inspiring (if not more) than book number one. I may have to buy a physical copy for myself because I am so obsessed and I want them to sit next to each other on my shelf.
My rating: 5/5 stars
Pub date for The Girl in the Tower is the 25th of January!
By the way, I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Are you as hyped about this book as I am? Let me know in the comments below!