Rated five stars out of five by reviewer Iris Chacon. A complimentary ARC was provided to this reviewer for an honest, unbiased review.
In January 2016 I had the pleasure of reading Katherine Arden’s first novel, The Bear and the Nightingale. At the time, I wrote in my review that the book was “a laudable debut and gives every indication that future works by Katherine Arden will be worth a look.” It turns out, I was right. Arden’s second novel, The Girl in the Tower, is even more polished than the first.
Arden says in her Author’s Note, “The icy, earthy terrain of medieval Muscovy is not necessarily the most natural setting for a fairy tale.” Nevertheless, Arden uses her encyclopedic knowledge and understanding of Russian history and culture to create what she calls a “fairy-tale form–strong on villains and princesses.”
Imagine if Leo Tolstoy sat down over a mug of warm borscht on a snowy night, with J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, to concoct a fairy-tale full of heroes, heroines, villains, and supernatural beings. Together they might produce a story with elements of Russian melancholy and superstition, combined with fantastical battles in exotic places, combined with brothers and sisters living an otherworldly drama they never planned or expected.
That story has been written, and written well, but not by Tolstoy, Tolkien, and Lewis. It has been written with all the gravitas of those gentlemen and all the passion of author Katherine Arden, and the book is called The Girl in the Tower.
Lovers of the Narnia chronicles and Lord of the Rings trilogy will also enjoy and appreciate The Girl in the Tower. The book is suitable for all ages and contains no offensive material.
The Girl in the Tower, by Katherine Arden, second book in the Winternight Trilogy, becomes available on AMAZON on December 5, 2017.