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The Winter of the Witch Reader Reviews

The Winter of the Witch

Kerry Bridges

A beautiful story based on Russian folklore and myths - I can't recommend it highly enough.

Moscow is in flames and Vasilisa Petrovna is to blame. Even Demetrii Ivanovich, Crown Prince and her cousin and her brother, the Monk Alexander Petrovich cannot save her from the angry mob. Vasya has other friends that most people cannot see, can they help her save Moscow and her family?

I have loved reading this trilogy and was looking forward to it finishing in yet another gorgeous story - I was definitely not disappointed. Where "The Girl in the Tower" seemed to concentrate a lot more on the people and the battles (reminding me of "The Two Towers" - necessary but not my favourite), "The Winter of the Witch" is right back to the gorgeous Russian winters and their mythology with spirits abounding and the road through Midnight providing a path.

If you like Russian mythology at all you will absolutely lovely this clever retelling; the settings are wonderful and the characters are enough to move you to tears whilst not taking away from the beautiful story in any way.

This is a fabulous book, but make sure you read the whole trilogy in order - you will absolutely love it!

Helen Skinner

A wonderful, magical read which brings this trilogy to a stunning conclusion.

I loved the previous two books in Katherine Arden's Winternight trilogy, so I had high hopes for this final one – and I'm pleased to say that I thought it was the best of the three!

As the novel opens, Moscow is on fire and blame has fallen on Vasya Petrovna. With a furious mob calling for her to be burned as a witch, Vasya manages to escape with the help of the magical beings only she and one or two others can see. However, her freedom comes at a cost and Vasya must do all she can to try to save her country, her family and her friends.

Like the first two books, The Winter of the Witch is steeped in Russian history, mythology and fairy tales. As well as being reacquainted with old friends and enemies, Vasya makes new ones too, including another selection of fascinating characters from Russian myth. She also follows a magical pathway through the realm of Midnight, a journey which provides some of the most thrilling moments in the book. My favourite of the novel's many threads, though, involves Vasya's relationship with a certain frost demon called Morozko...

This really is a great end to the trilogy; the beautiful, powerful writing took me through a range of emotions from heartbreak to joy. To get the most enjoyment out of Vasya's story, though, I recommend starting at the beginning and reading all three of these wonderful books.

Kathryn Eastman

Brimful of the deep-winter magic and folkloric elements I loved in her first two Winternight books, Katherine Arden’s trilogy culminates in a truly spellbinding finale.

Katherine Arden's Winternight Trilogy has been ramping up towards its epic conclusion over the course of the first two books.

Given the title, it’s unsurprising to find that The Winter of the Witch is where Vasya needs to come into her own if she’s somehow to attempt to bring all the warring factions - military, magic, religious and demon - together to face the threat to Moscow.

No mean feat for someone who is once again an outcast, badly hurt and on the run.

Vasya’s journey takes her along the enchanted but hazardous road through Midnight, where she’ll learn more about herself and her family, take on an unlikely guide, and reunite with a beguiling frost-demon.

Katherine Arden has created a richly romantic and magical world yet still manages to keep it grounded in the harsh reality of what would have been medieval life in Rus'. Her world-building is immersive: my skin prickled at the cold and my stomach rumbled in sympathy at Vasya’s hunger, and I swear I heard the faint whispers of chyerti while reading their passages.

While I’m certain to revisit, it was a real wrench to close the pages on these characters and the world they inhabit. Arden’s storytelling is mesmerising and The Winter of the Witch is an exhilarating end to the Winternight trilogy.

Nut Press / / @katheastman

Book Information

ISBN: 9781785039713
Publication date: 10th January 2019
Author: Katherine Arden
Publisher: Del Rey an imprint of Ebury Publishing
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 384 pages
Genres: Books of the Month, Reader Reviewed Books, Historical Fiction, Sci-Fi and Fantasy,
Categories: Historical fiction, Fantasy, Folklore, myths & legends,