Enchanting 'The Girl in the Tower' mixes feminism, frost-demons

CNET | 1/24/2018 | Nicholas Tufnell
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After the critical success of 2017's "The Bear and the Nightingale," Katherine Arden of Austin, Texas, is back again with another elegantly crafted world that melds folklore and fantasy, with a splash of historical fiction for good measure.

"The Girl in the Tower," the second installment of her Winternight trilogy, begins where "The Bear and the Nightingale" left off.

Set - Russia - Story - Vasilisa - Petrovna

Set in medieval Russia, the story stars Vasilisa Petrovna (Vasya), who's on the run after having been accused of witchcraft following the violent deaths of her father and stepmother.

Finding brief refuge in the fir grove home of one Morozko, a morally ambiguous frost-demon, Vasya soon aches for adventure. Leaving the safety of the forest she begins her new life as a traveler, exploring Russia far beyond the boundaries of her childhood home.

Dangers - Woman - Vasya - Man - Countryside

Understanding the dangers of journeying alone as a woman, Vasya disguises herself as a man as she rides through the freezing countryside of ancient Rus' (the word Russia didn't come into common use till the 17th century).

On discovering a series of villages, each burned to ashes, with their young girls kidnapped, Vasya determines to free the girls and stop the bandits. But a chance encounter after a bloody confrontation sees her welcomed into the court of the Grand Prince of Moscow.

City - Threat - Something - Band - Opportunist

However, it soon emerges that the city itself is under threat from something far more sinister than a band of opportunist rogues, and Vasya may be the only person who can protect the town and its people.

From the outset, Arden's research and understanding of 14th-century Russia is lovingly woven into "The Girl in the Tower." She blends historical characters and established folktales into the fantasy setting of her own fictional world with apparent ease. Vasya and her brother, for example, seem as much a part of Russian history as the Grand Prince...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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