Thursday, February 11, 2021

Review: THE GIRL IN THE TOWER by Katherine Arden


Rating: 3/5 stars

After being disappointed with The Bear and the Nightingale, I wasn’t sure how much I would like its sequel, The Girl in the Tower.

The first book had a lot of set up and character introductions, so I had hoped the second book would be more plot-focused now that we know the setting. The beginning, for me, was still pretty slow. It wasn’t until part two that it started to pick up, and then I did start to enjoy the story more.

I liked seeing Vasya masquerade as a boy, especially during a time when that was seen as scandalous and unaccepted. She has turned into a BA heroine that we all love to see in fantasy stories.

I loved Vasya’s relationship with her horse, Solovey, and I enjoyed her being able to communicate with him. 

One thing that intrigued me was the phoenix on the cover of books two and three, and we finally get to see what that means toward the end of this book. I love phoenixes. It was a very interesting character that obviously will be more present in the final volume. 

Even though I liked this book slightly better than the first, I still didn’t love it. I think my problem is that the slow and melodic storytelling present in folktales and replicated here just isn’t my style. I like to see more detail than what we get here, and I prefer a more engaging and quick-paced storyline. Like I mentioned in my review of The Bear and the Nightingale, this series reads a lot like Uprooted and Spinning Silver to me, both the same atmospheric fairytale-type story. And I didn’t like either of those books. I think it’s just something about this style of writing that doesn’t work for me. Instead of now wanting to read more Russian folktale-inspired literature, I specifically do not want to read such, if they’re going to read like Katherine Arden’s books do.

I still do plan to finish out the trilogy and start The Winter of the Witch pretty soon, and I hope that one will be more to my liking, but I suspect it will be more of the same and only a mediocre read for me, unfortunately. 

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