Review: The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden

38391059Verdict: Still in love.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy, Re-Telling

Published by Ebury Publishing, January 10 2019

Find it on Goodreads.

One girl can make a difference…

Moscow has burned nearly to the ground, leaving its people searching for answers – and someone to hold accountable. Vasya finds herself on her own, amid a rabid mob that calls for her death, blaming her witchery for their misfortune.

Then a vengeful demon returns, renewed and stronger than ever, determined to spread chaos in his wake and never be chained again. Enlisting the hateful priest Konstantin as his servant, turmoil plagues the Muscovites and the magical creatures alike, and all find their fates resting on the shoulders of Vasya.

With an uncertain destiny ahead of her, Vasya learns surprising truths of her past as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all…

I adored this beyond measure.

I am a huge fan of this trilogy, have been ever since reading the very first chapter of the first book. I was both super excited and a bit apprehensive before reading this book – but I didn’t have to worry because Katherine Arden absolutely sticks the landing here. This book is both a great conclusion to this brilliant series as well as a great book in its own right.

What Arden does better than most authors I read is building an atmosphere so immersive I become lost in her (impeccably researched) world. I found reading this book a very rewarding experience and I am definitely a life-long fan. Drawing on Russian fairy tales and real world figures to build a world uniquely her own, Arden tells a story of a girl and her choices. Whatever happens in this book is always filtered through Vasya’s lenses and her destiny and I am in love with this. Vasya is a difficult character but someone I could not help root for. I wanted her to find her place and be happy. She is allowed to be prickly and nurturing, she can be rash and caring, and altogether wonderfully rounded. Her relationship to the Winter King just worked for me in this book (I was not fully on board in the book before) and I really liked the overwhelming tenderness between those two.

I adore how the world becomes more complicated as Vasya grows and the scope increases. Things that seemed very black and white to her in the first book become more ambivalent, people grow while staying true to their characterization, and overall the world becomes ever more believable.

Arden has a very distinct and very beautiful writing style that hints at her influences while being very much her own thing and from the very first chapter I was glad to be back in her capable hands. There is a rhythm to her writing that I find very beautiful and this coupled with a story that wraps up strong makes this a strong contender for my favourite book of this year (I just know it’ll make the list).

Other books in the series:
The Bear and the Nightingale: 5 out of 5 stars
The Girl in the Tower: 4 out of 5 stars

I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Ebury Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

20 thoughts on “Review: The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden

  1. Glad to hear this book makes a great conclusion! I’m not a huge fan of this trilogy, but I’ve read each book shortly after they’ve been released. I think it’s that atmosphere you describe that allows me to really enjoy the story while I’m reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really loved the first book, thought the second wasn’t as strong but I do think the last one pulls it together. Have you read her middle grade? I don’t usually read that age range but really like Arden’s writing..

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I preordered this on Audible as soon as it became available and hearing you give it such a glowing review makes me less scared to get to it! (Scared because I’m always terrified things won’t live up to my expectations!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was super scared to pick this up as well. I had the ARC since October but was worried because I so wanted to love it. But I really do think Arden stick the landing here!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What I really want to do though is read the series end to end over the space of a long weekend or something when it’s all less fresh in my mind. The series as a whole is a solid 4.5-5 star for me. I just felt there was something missing in the last book, but I don’t know what 😂 I might change my mind on an intensive reread!

        Liked by 1 person

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