fantasy · The Minis

The Minis: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden


Welcome to a mini, bite-sized review of The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden!

I feel like I can’t properly review follow-up books in series, because I feel like they only make sense in contrast with the first book, so I think doing mini-reviews for them makes sense. The Girl in the Tower is the second book in The Winternight trilogy, which follows Vasya, a brilliant and ferocious girl, and it’s steeped in Russian mythology and folklore (done the right way! I am sorry, but Leigh Bardugo COULD NEVER). You can read my review for the first book, The Bear and the Nightingale, HERE.

At a glance…


The Mini

  • The selling point for me in these novels continues to be Vasya. I absolutely adore her, she is such a well-written, rounded character, that is determined and ferocious, but still flawed. She learns from her mistakes, owns them and holds her own, always. She had a lovely character arc in this second book, that did a lot for her character in the long run, and I loved seeing her grow and acknowledge the mistakes she made and still work hard to fix those mistakes.
  • I was also a huge fan of her and Morozko’s dynamic. It was really carefully crafted, and slow but deliberate, which I loved. I cannot wait to see where it goes from here, because it’s that wonderful brand of push-and-pull, back-and-forth, and I really enjoyed it.
  • I still LOVE the inclusion of myths and folklore in this novel. I think it’s done wonderfully, and really fits well with the atmosphere and the themes of the books. It also feels really natural and like it belongs in this story, it’s really carefully and intricately interwoven.
  • However, this had a pretty slow start, and took a while to get going, which definitely lowered my enjoyment of it.
  • Moreover, this whole series never really reaches brilliance for me, simply because it gets too historical at times. This wasn’t as focused on magic and folklore as much as I wanted, so it reads very much like a historical fiction novel. The writing is gorgeous, but the historical fiction brand of writing and storytelling just doesn’t work for me.

Despite some of its flaws, I still highly recommend this series, because I think it’s beautifully written and it explores a lot of different themes that are seamlessly incorporated into the story. Highly recommended.



I’d love to hear from you! Have you picked this series up yet? Have you read this particular book? Any thoughts you’d like to share? Let me know!

                                                                                           Thanks for reading,



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5 thoughts on “The Minis: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

  1. I loved The Bear and the Nightingale, I love the atmosphere, the writing and the conflicts between culture, societal norms, religion and magic that clearly underline the series, but I cannot for the life of me get into this book. I’ve tried a couple of times to read it and it’s bugging me that I keep putting it down. Whether that’s due to the book or me, I just don’t know.


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