Rating – 4.7 out of 5
Having run away from her family, Vasya is looking to be a traveller far and wide, but only as she pretends to be a boy. While she still courts danger at every turn, she often has help from the supernatural on her journey. With everything in Moscow not as it seems Vasya is pulled in to the intrigue of the Russian court. Her sibling’s world of custom and tradition proves complex to navigate as her male alter-ego, and Vasya must uncover the true nature of some of Moscow’s most powerful men.
“Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory of the other: of a life left unchosen. Decide as seems best, one course or the other; each way will have its bitter with its sweet.” ― Katherine Arden, The Girl in the Tower
Why I liked The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
When I finished The Bear and the Nightingale I knew I would have to come back to Katherine Arden’s historical Russian world soon. Arden writes with a lyrical voice that captivates me and pulls me deep into her stories. The story reads as a fairytale might with focus on specific details more than making sense in any given moment. I will be reading the final book in the series soon, as I must know how the story continues.
The Girl in the Tower was set at a faster pace than Arden’s last novel as it covered a deeper story but a shorter time period. I did not feel that it went as deeply into the divide between the Christianity vs. traditional religion/mythical dichotomy, which I would have liked to see more of. I am fascinated by the abilities of Vasya and some of her kin to be more in tune with the mystical elements of their world. Vasya as a first-person narrator allows us to see more deeply into how the supernatural appears to her which gives an interesting perspective. It points to an interesting question of who is able to sense the divine in our own world. If you are looking for a novel to challenge you on human power vs. the divine, this novel is interesting.
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