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The Girl in the Tower: Winternight #2    by Katherine Arden order for
Girl in the Tower
by Katherine Arden
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, Audio, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Girl in the Tower follows The Bear and the Nightingale as the second in Katherine Arden's enchanting Winternight series. The setting is an alternate history imbued with strong elements of magic in old Russia. The first episode told the coming of age of spirited young Vasilisa, who can see the otherworld and who does whatever it takes to protect those she loves, with no thought to herself. It ended in tragedy.

That first book also brought together Vasya and immortal Frost, the demon of winter. He helped her more than once, and gave her a magical horse, Solovey. Now, with her father dead and her reputation ruined, Vasya does not want to marry or enter a nunnery, but to see the world. She rides towards her sister Olga in Moscow, but is diverted into an encounter with Grand Prince Dmitri and her beloved brother Sasha. She had dressed as a boy and is assumed to be one by the Grand Prince, who takes a liking to young Vasilii.

Father Konstantin, who believes that Vasya is a witch, again plays his part for the dark side, and a new player strides on stage - a mysterious stranger, red-haired boyar Kasyan Lutovich. He befriends Vasilii. Frost tells Vasya of 'a shadow over Moscow' but she does not heed his warning. When an enemy reveals her sex, not only is Vasya undone, but her beloved brother Sasha, Olga and niece Masha are also endangered. Lying to the Grand Prince is no small matter.

Treachery is afoot. Despite being reviled, Vasya and Sasha foil one plan, but it takes a ghost of the girl in the tower, and a demon's feelings for Vasya, to truly save the day. This is a brilliant, luminous series, well worth following for any fantasy fan.

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