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Review: The Winter of the Witch

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Title:The Winter of the Witch

Author:Katherine Arden

Series:Book 3

Rating★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Note:Review for Book 1 and Book 2. I received an ARC of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever and determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself and her history as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.

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Vasya was more calculating, independent, and open-minded in this book.

Morozko was more human in this book than in any other. I feel like he was more helpful, emotive, and compassionate.

Olga was much more protective of Vasya this time around. She was more understanding and flexible than she had been in the past.

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I have plucked snowdrops at Midwinter, died at my own choosing, and wept for a nightingale. Now I am beyond prophecy. 

Vasya’s journey is finally coming to an end in this emotional and powerful conclusion to the Winter night trilogy.

Vasya’s past catches up with her when her old enemy, Konstantin arrives in Moscow and sets out to destroy her once and for all. Vasya is finally outed as a witch to the city. In the face of so much distraction and loss, they are eager to place the blame on the strange girl.

Vasya has known loss in many degrees and forms throughout her life I think the one in this book is the hardest and we feel it throughout the book. I avoid spoilers, so I can’t go too much in detail, but it was such a punch in the heart. It made the journey so much heavier, but in a way, I think it was necessary for Vasya to finally come into her own.

Katherine Arden continues to weave her fantastical world in this book with the world of Midnight. It’s not only sometimes a refuge for her when the human world overwhelms her but it’s where she finally gets answers to her past and where her destiny may lie.

Although I can tell you that this story is full of action in fantasy, that’s not where the true story is. Beneath it all, this book was about the relationships Vasya had with those in her life and about learning to be an adult.

Vasya’s journey in large part was about her love and loyalty to her family. She may have set out to save Russia but in many ways, it was more about saving those pieces of her family that she thought were gone. Both Olga and Sasha learn to love Vasya not only despite her flaws and mysteries but because of them. They embrace her so much more in this book and are more open to her strange ways. That they were willing to learn about her world said so much about the love they shared for Vasya.

Magic is forgetting the world was ever other than as you willed it. 

The Winter of the Witch is also where Vasya begins to see that the world is not black and white. What she thought was so simple before is turned around when she finds herself having to turn to old enemies in order to save everyone she loves.

Not only that, but we see her grow as a woman when her relationship with Morozko is finally tested. This was something I definitely didn’t expect to see, Arden crafted it in such a way that it didn’t detract from the story. I think it would’ve taken from the story to give it a simple solution, but the way she wrote it only made me love the story more.

The Winter of the Witch really put Arden’s skills to the test. Because to have made it a happily ever after would’ve been a disservice to Vasya and her hardships. I can honestly say that even with all the tragedies and heartbreaks this story gave us I fell in love with it. Or more accurately, I love this book because of them. It was so human and grounding to have Vasya learn these life lessons in the face of all the magic that surrounded her.

The ending was more than I could’ve asked for and it was perfect in its own way. This is a series that will have a special place in my heart. Vasya’s fierce and kind nature along with Solovey’s charm and loyalty will always be strong in my mind. It’s a stunning end to a great series!

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What’s a book you’re looking forward to reading this month?

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