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  • 384
  • The Winter of the Witch
  • Katherine Arden
  • English
  • 05 July 2020
  • 9781101886007

Katherine Arden Ð 5 review

review The Winter of the Witch ì PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias the seen and the unseen 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 lea. There are seven wonders in the world and this book is all of them The experience of reading The Winter of the Witch is something akin to being surrounded by magic Yet those are still such pale passive words for what this story was After the wonder and elation of reading this book and flying in so real seeming a dream I now feel such an obscure sense of loss like something essential is inexplicably gone A sudden absence creating a space for the too bright too sharp world to rush into I reckon this will not be the last time I read this series I shall return to it again and again drawn to it by a wistful melancholy longing for a life I never had a nostalgia for a time I didn t experience and a desire to once again hold the characters handsThe Winter of the Witch has leapt forward to claim the title of Best Book I ve Read Yet This Year And if there s any series at all that you would pick up upon my recommendation let it be this one So what s this book about Mosco is afire and the blaze carried with it all the certainty of deathVasya had thought that she knew every horror and was beyond surprise But whatever spark had burned in her was no match for the terror she knew when her own people pursued vengeance upon her and tried to burn her at the stakes their hatred lit lurid by the fire of Father Konstantin s venom laced wordsWith darkness nipping at her heels and the trees whispering on every side Vasya escapes by the thinnest of margins into the realm of Midnight where she could stay there where nothing outside could touch her But the dead are pouring into the streets of Mosco held in the thrall of Medved Morozko s evil twin brother and the Tartars are threatening to bring Rus to its knees At the core of Vasya rage and determination pulse up like the shock wave of a blast ripping through her fear Her loved ones need her Mosco needs her Rus needs herThe shot silk shimmer of hope blazes all at once And Vasya s will can and will blow the strongest door asunder I am a witch said Vasya Blood was running down her hand now spoiling her grip I have plucked snowdrops at Midwinter died at my own choosing and wept for a nightingale Now I am beyond prophecy I love this book so dearly My experience of reading it was of wanting to discuss every paragraph I consumed I felt like a glass filled with splendor and awe Every page was a treat and my mind was afire with marvel the lit match setting off fuse after fuse They are so many things I want to say about this book they fall like confetti around my head and I struggle at deciding which ones to catch and which to let fall because all I want to do is celebrate the whole it makes without dimming the experience of coming to it freshThe Winter of the Witch is everything you want out of a Winternight novel It s a vivacious expansion that builds seamlessly and effortlessly on its predecessor In language that strikes and caresses Katherine Arden has written an absolute jewel of a novel where both concept and execution are so good that I resented having to spend time away from reading it Harden s characters are vibrantly drawn figures who scarcely need a villain to bring their strengths and weaknesses to light since they do a perfect job of that themselves Sasha Olga and little Marya cut straight to my heart and I wished I could just send them an emotional boogie board to help them keep afloat Medved s and Konstantin s characters are so riveting as well I loved how Arden examines interrogates and endlessly probes at the tropes used to distinguish heroes villains and the horrors they wrought She puts her characters at a crossroads where they stand facing each other They re foes but they hold each other s answers And you get such a tangible sense of the colliding emotion on both opposite sides and with every page your understanding sharpens deepens coming slowly and then all at once There are no monsters in the world and no saints Only infinite shades woven into the same tapestry light and dark One man s monster is another man s beloved The wise know that Another aspect of this series that I immensely admired is how Arden handles with great deftness the theme of religion by demonstrating how it can be a source for comfort and ease for some and scathingly denouncing how others can be driven by their unuenchable lust for power to wield it to plant the seed of fear and hatred in people s hearts and sink their clawed hands into their mindsNow let s talk about the absolute darling of my heart VasyaVasya s character development is so masterly executed that the years that stretch between the first book and the last feel so far past they feel like stories someone else had told me half remembered blurred and unreal I felt the sting of nostalgia for the savage exuberance of the child Vasya had been the little girl who had always attacked the world who wanted to see it but did not count the cost before she learned the power of fear before life had sapped her innocence and brought on a weary anger before she discovered that the world was a perilous place for women like herThere s a tender spot in my heart that is abound with so much love and respect for Vasya This young woman who had chased the marvelous doom that is freedom to the world s end whose heart looked upon life and death and things in between without faltering who pushed through the cold sinking tangle of anger and dismay that her people have shown her and bore their burden in addition to her own Gosh I love her than I can articulate I m still shaken by her temerity by the way she was driven not by hopelessness but just pure unfettered stubbornness not even so much a will to live as a refusal to die There is so much ground Vasya had never felt under her hands and feet there is the entire world with all its wonders still unseen and the thought of her not letting the world hold a place hidden from her will keep my heart warmed for many years to come What happened Love betrayal and time said Vasya What happens to anyone who grows to understand you Medved Living happens But what makes the book truly sing other than the mastery of plot and story structure the characters and the luxurious prose that intricately entwines scenes from the natural world and the mythic one is how it tramples on several minor and major tropes like a boss The Winter of the Witch is a tremendous triumph on several fronts but it s the way the author insists on Vasya s agency while also allowing her space to experience and navigate first love and intimacy is what latched onto my heart the mostMorozko and Medved have painted in Vasya s mind a picture that wraps her in a life she had never tasted or imaginedif only she d give up everything else Medved wanted to use her powers like a lighthouse lens amplifying the intensity of his own gifts Morozko wanted to protect her from the world even the part of it that he represents but Vasyas s world is falling apart while his is continuing on a normal keel and they both know that this is the line past which his power can t help her If I am mad I will not be yours And dead I will not be his she spoke that truth to the Bear and built her life around itVasya can survive without the constant lifeboat of Morozko s existence supporting her So she tucked a little piece of his mind into a corner of hers let go of the echo of a love she could not hold on toand went on to do extraordinary fucking thingsI genuinely love Vasya and Morozko s relationship so much My wizened hardened heart fractured at the knowledge that they were each other s person each other s place and how cold and sharp the irony was because they couldn t even be in the same place together I waited two books and a half for their stolen moments in shadowed places where they could be alone where they were free to kiss and touch and drown and live and burn I m not even being hyperbolic when I say that Chapter 17 had me aahh ing and ooh ing and sending texts in all caps and screaming in audios to my friend This folks is how you goddamn write romance Love is for those who know the griefs of time for it goes hand in hand with loss An eternity so burdened would be a torment And yet He broke off drew breath Yet what else to call it this terror and this joy Through three books and years upon years of magic and family and growth this story has burrowed into my heart and wormed into my consciousness refusing to surrender its place Now all I can think about is how lucky we are to have this series in the world Before You Cheat you would pick up upon my recommendation let it be this one So what s this book about Mosco is afire and the blaze carried with it all the certainty of deathVasya had thought that she knew every horror and was beyond surprise But whatever spark had burned in her was no match for the terror she knew when her own people pursued vengeance upon her and tried to burn her at the stakes their hatred lit lurid by the fire of Father Konstantin s venom laced wordsWith darkness nipping at her heels and the trees whispering on every side Vasya escapes by the thinnest of margins into the realm of Midnight where she could stay there where nothing outside could touch her But the dead are pouring into the streets of Mosco held in the thrall of Medved Morozko s evil twin brother and the Tartars are threatening to bring Rus to its knees At the core of Vasya rage and determination pulse up like the shock wave of a blast ripping through her fear Her loved ones need her Mosco needs her Rus needs herThe shot silk shimmer of hope blazes all at once And Vasya s will can and will blow the strongest door asunder I am a witch said Vasya Blood was running down her hand now spoiling her grip I have plucked snowdrops at Midwinter died at my own choosing and wept for a nightingale Now I am beyond prophecy I love this book so dearly My experience of reading it was of wanting to discuss every paragraph I consumed I felt like a glass filled with splendor and awe Every page was a treat and my mind was afire with marvel the lit match setting off fuse after fuse They are so many things I want to say about this book they fall like confetti around my head and I struggle at deciding which ones to catch and which to let fall because all I want to do is celebrate the whole it makes without dimming the experience of coming to it freshThe Winter of the Witch is everything Red Riding Hood Romantic Fairy Tales #1 you want out of a Winternight novel It s a vivacious expansion that builds seamlessly and effortlessly on its predecessor In language that strikes and caresses Katherine Arden has written an absolute jewel of a novel where both concept and execution are so good that I resented having to spend time away from reading it Harden s characters are vibrantly drawn figures who scarcely need a villain to bring their strengths and weaknesses to light since they do a perfect job of that themselves Sasha Olga and little Marya cut straight to my heart and I wished I could just send them an emotional boogie board to help them keep afloat Medved s and Konstantin s characters are so riveting as well I loved how Arden examines interrogates and endlessly probes at the tropes used to distinguish heroes villains and the horrors they wrought She puts her characters at a crossroads where they stand facing each other They re foes but they hold each other s answers And The Price of Emancipation your understanding sharpens deepens coming slowly and then all at once There are no monsters in the world and no saints Only infinite shades woven into the same tapestry light and dark One man s monster is another man s beloved The wise know that Another aspect of this series that I immensely admired is how Arden handles with great deftness the theme of religion by demonstrating how it can be a source for comfort and ease for some and scathingly denouncing how others can be driven by their unuenchable lust for power to wield it to plant the seed of fear and hatred in people s hearts and sink their clawed hands into their mindsNow let s talk about the absolute darling of my heart VasyaVasya s character development is so masterly executed that the Work and Life Integration Organizational Cultural and Individual Perspectives Lea's Organization and Management years that stretch between the first book and the last feel so far past they feel like stories someone else had told me half remembered blurred and unreal I felt the sting of nostalgia for the savage exuberance of the child Vasya had been the little girl who had always attacked the world who wanted to see it but did not count the cost before she learned the power of fear before life had sapped her innocence and brought on a weary anger before she discovered that the world was a perilous place for women like herThere s a tender spot in my heart that is abound with so much love and respect for Vasya This Stash Happy young woman who had chased the marvelous doom that is freedom to the world s end whose heart looked upon life and death and things in between without faltering who pushed through the cold sinking tangle of anger and dismay that her people have shown her and bore their burden in addition to her own Gosh I love her than I can articulate I m still shaken by her temerity by the way she was driven not by hopelessness but just pure unfettered stubbornness not even so much a will to live as a refusal to die There is so much ground Vasya had never felt under her hands and feet there is the entire world with all its wonders still unseen and the thought of her not letting the world hold a place hidden from her will keep my heart warmed for many Traduire years to come What happened Love betrayal and time said Vasya What happens to anyone who grows to understand Alien Crash at Roswell you Medved Living happens But what makes the book truly sing other than the mastery of plot and story structure the characters and the luxurious prose that intricately entwines scenes from the natural world and the mythic one is how it tramples on several minor and major tropes like a boss The Winter of the Witch is a tremendous triumph on several fronts but it s the way the author insists on Vasya s agency while also allowing her space to experience and navigate first love and intimacy is what latched onto my heart the mostMorozko and Medved have painted in Vasya s mind a picture that wraps her in a life she had never tasted or imaginedif only she d give up everything else Medved wanted to use her powers like a lighthouse lens amplifying the intensity of his own gifts Morozko wanted to protect her from the world even the part of it that he represents but Vasyas s world is falling apart while his is continuing on a normal keel and they both know that this is the line past which his power can t help her If I am mad I will not be Inking Him Losing It #25 yours And dead I will not be his she spoke that truth to the Bear and built her life around itVasya can survive without the constant lifeboat of Morozko s existence supporting her So she tucked a little piece of his mind into a corner of hers let go of the echo of a love she could not hold on toand went on to do extraordinary fucking thingsI genuinely love Vasya and Morozko s relationship so much My wizened hardened heart fractured at the knowledge that they were each other s person each other s place and how cold and sharp the irony was because they couldn t even be in the same place together I waited two books and a half for their stolen moments in shadowed places where they could be alone where they were free to kiss and touch and drown and live and burn I m not even being hyperbolic when I say that Chapter 17 had me aahh ing and ooh ing and sending texts in all caps and screaming in audios to my friend This folks is how Betrayal The Crisis in the Catholic Church you goddamn write romance Love is for those who know the griefs of time for it goes hand in hand with loss An eternity so burdened would be a torment And Lovers (A MMF/MM romance) (Voyeur series Book 2) yet He broke off drew breath Yet what else to call it this terror and this joy Through three books and HORROR STORIES years upon The Bounty years of magic and family and growth this story has burrowed into my heart and wormed into my consciousness refusing to surrender its place Now all I can think about is how lucky we are to have this series in the world

characters The Winter of the WitchThe Winter of the Witch

review The Winter of the Witch ì PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free H “Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy isn’t just good it’s hug to your chest straight to the favorites shelf reread immediately good and each book just gets better The Winter of the Witch plunges us back to fourteenth century Moscow where old gods and new vie for the soul of Russia and fate rests on a witch girl’s slender shoulders Prepare to have your heart ripped out loaned back to you full of snow and magic and ripped out some ” Laini Taylor. ALL THE STARS AND MORE Russian firebirdReview first posted on Fantasy LiteratureMedieval Russia comes to life in Katherine Arden s WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY which began in Lesnaya Zemlya a small village in northern Rus in The Bear and the Nightingale and continued in The Girl in the Tower Vasilisa Vasya is a young woman with the rare ability to see and speak with the natural spirits or chyerti of the hearth stables and lands and waters of Rus Vasya has gained the attention and respect of the winter king Morozko god of death who has helped her along the way as she fought and bound the demonic Bear traveled from Lesnaya Zemlya to Moscow and undertook a dangerous masuerade as a boy while fighting to protect Moscow and her family from both an evil sorcerer and the Mongol invaders The Winter of the Witch begins in the aftermath of a huge fire that burned much of Moscow The distraught people of Moscow are whipped into a rage by Vasya s nemesis the priest Konstantin who blames Vasya for the fire with some justice Vasya is captured by a mob and nearly burned to death as a witch Though she escapes a tragic loss leaves her reeling and now a terrible price has been paid on her behalf The Bear is on the loose again pulling Konstantin into his plans for war and chaos and Morozko has disappeared into some hidden prison The vast Tatar armies the Golden Horde are still on the move against Moscow and Vasya has perilous journeys to make through magical midnight lands as she tries to save her country and the humans and spirits that she loves Vasya has gained in personal strength and magical power from her beginnings in the village of Lesnaya Zemlya but she still makes some serious mistakes along the wayIn the WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY Arden has proved herself particularly adept at weaving together folklore and actual history The Winter of the Witch focuses on the events leading up to the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380 but puts a fantastical spin on it As the country lurches toward war Vasya is guided into the midnight realm of Polunochnitsa or Lady Midnight where she meets not only one of her ancestors a famous Russian folklore character in her own right but the mythical firebird Pozhar whose other form is a golden mare and a delightfully opinionated mushroom spirit that Vasya called Ded Grib Grandfather Mushroom Pozhar and Ded Grib represent the high and the lowly among the chyerti whom Vasya is trying to protect along with the humans who inhabit Russia Even Medved the fearsome Bear who played such a terrifying role in The Bear and the Nightingale becomes understandable and sympathetic or at least much entertaining as a character It s a nice reminder that even villains have some positive characteristicsHe spoke of Russia Not of Muscovy or Tver or Vladimir the principalities of the sons of Kiev but of Russia itself of its skies and its soil its people and its prideShe listened in rapt silence eyes vast and filled like cups with shadow That is what we are fighting for said Sasha Not for Moscow or even Dmitrii not for the sake of any of her suabbling princes But for the land that bore us man and devil alike The tensions between Christianity and the old pagan ways humans vs chyerti are ultimately resolved in a way that I hadn t expected but that I found profoundly moving and Arden s writing style is entrancing The Winter of the Witch is not just the coming of age story of a girl with magical powers or a romance though it has both of those elements it deals with larger themes like love of country individual worth self sacrifice and cooperation with those who are different The WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY was a wonderful series from beginning to end and I give it my highest recommendation I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for review Thank you so muchInitial update Five stars SO so good Amazing wrap up to this fantasy trilogy set in medieval Russia I love how this weaves Russian folklore into actual history and deals with larger themes like love of countryPlus it made me cryIf you haven t read this trilogy yet I highly recommend itInitial post YES I finally got the ARC of this last book in this trilogy which began with The Bear and the Nightingale Now can I keep my hands off it for a couple of weeks while I read a few other books in my urgent TBR pile We ll see Content notes a fair amount of gritty violence and a non explicit sex scene Envisioning An English Empire Jamestown And TheMaking Of The North Atlantic World Early American Studies your chest straight to the favorites shelf reread immediately good and each book just gets better The Winter of the Witch plunges us back to fourteenth century Moscow where old gods and new vie for the soul of Russia and fate rests on a witch girl’s slender shoulders Prepare to have Three Years in Tristan Da Cunha your heart ripped out loaned back to Implementing Cisco UCS Solutions you full of snow and magic and ripped out some ” Laini Taylor. ALL THE STARS AND MORE Russian firebirdReview first posted on Fantasy LiteratureMedieval Russia comes to life in Katherine Arden s WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY which began in Lesnaya Zemlya a small village in northern Rus in The Bear and the Nightingale and continued in The Girl in the Tower Vasilisa Vasya is a MXX young woman with the rare ability to see and speak with the natural spirits or chyerti of the hearth stables and lands and waters of Rus Vasya has gained the attention and respect of the winter king Morozko god of death who has helped her along the way as she fought and bound the demonic Bear traveled from Lesnaya Zemlya to Moscow and undertook a dangerous masuerade as a boy while fighting to protect Moscow and her family from both an evil sorcerer and the Mongol invaders The Winter of the Witch begins in the aftermath of a huge fire that burned much of Moscow The distraught people of Moscow are whipped into a rage by Vasya s nemesis the priest Konstantin who blames Vasya for the fire with some justice Vasya is captured by a mob and nearly burned to death as a witch Though she escapes a tragic loss leaves her reeling and now a terrible price has been paid on her behalf The Bear is on the loose again pulling Konstantin into his plans for war and chaos and Morozko has disappeared into some hidden prison The vast Tatar armies the Golden Horde are still on the move against Moscow and Vasya has perilous journeys to make through magical midnight lands as she tries to save her country and the humans and spirits that she loves Vasya has gained in personal strength and magical power from her beginnings in the village of Lesnaya Zemlya but she still makes some serious mistakes along the wayIn the WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY Arden has proved herself particularly adept at weaving together folklore and actual history The Winter of the Witch focuses on the events leading up to the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380 but puts a fantastical spin on it As the country lurches toward war Vasya is guided into the midnight realm of Polunochnitsa or Lady Midnight where she meets not only one of her ancestors a famous Russian folklore character in her own right but the mythical firebird Pozhar whose other form is a golden mare and a delightfully opinionated mushroom spirit that Vasya called Ded Grib Grandfather Mushroom Pozhar and Ded Grib represent the high and the lowly among the chyerti whom Vasya is trying to protect along with the humans who inhabit Russia Even Medved the fearsome Bear who played such a terrifying role in The Bear and the Nightingale becomes understandable and sympathetic or at least much entertaining as a character It s a nice reminder that even villains have some positive characteristicsHe spoke of Russia Not of Muscovy or Tver or Vladimir the principalities of the sons of Kiev but of Russia itself of its skies and its soil its people and its prideShe listened in rapt silence eyes vast and filled like cups with shadow That is what we are fighting for said Sasha Not for Moscow or even Dmitrii not for the sake of any of her suabbling princes But for the land that bore us man and devil alike The tensions between Christianity and the old pagan ways humans vs chyerti are ultimately resolved in a way that I hadn t expected but that I found profoundly moving and Arden s writing style is entrancing The Winter of the Witch is not just the coming of age story of a girl with magical powers or a romance though it has both of those elements it deals with larger themes like love of country individual worth self sacrifice and cooperation with those who are different The WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY was a wonderful series from beginning to end and I give it my highest recommendation I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for review Thank The Wanting you so muchInitial update Five stars SO so good Amazing wrap up to this fantasy trilogy set in medieval Russia I love how this weaves Russian folklore into actual history and deals with larger themes like love of countryPlus it made me cryIf COFFRET LAGARDE & MICHARD you haven t read this trilogy Keywords for Today yet I highly recommend itInitial post YES I finally got the ARC of this last book in this trilogy which began with The Bear and the Nightingale Now can I keep my hands off it for a couple of weeks while I read a few other books in my urgent TBR pile We ll see Content notes a fair amount of gritty violence and a non explicit sex scene

review ✓ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ð Katherine Arden

review The Winter of the Witch ì PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free D 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 allAdvance praise for The Winter of the Witc. I learned an important life lesson from this trilogy If a fanatic priest ever comes to your home causing trouble and a cannibalistic lake spirit helpfully offers to eat him JUST LET HER DO ITI still remember reading The Bear and the Nightingale and reaching the part where the rusalka nicely offers to eat Konstantin and Vasya stops her I was screaming at Vasya to just step aside and let her do it And then as Konstantin s future actions lead to so much suffering and so many lives lost I kept thinking how it would have been the right decision Then comes The Girl in the Tower he causes even trouble and I grow even madder than he didn t find his final resting place in a rusalka s stomach years ago And then comes this book and my hatred for him manages to grow even But this is only of testament of the strong writing and characters The book is pure magic whimsical and atmospheric and it perfectly captures the spirit of the original fairy talesThis is going to be a very weird review While this is one of the best books I have read in the past couple of years I think I ll spend half the review criticizing things I didn t like and then I ll spend the other half talking about mushrooms but I ll get to that laterBut perhaps that s not too weird Usually the I like a book the I complain about things that could have been better Seriously I challenge you to look through my 5 star reviews and find one where I don t complain about anything In fact you are likely to find 3 star reviews where I have nothing bad to sayI ll try to keep spoilers vague but you ll understand better what I mean if you ve read the bookCOMPLAINING TIME Things I didn t like 1 The way Vasya returns Morozko s memoriesIt felt clich d What is this an upgraded version of a First Love s Kiss from Once Upon a Time I thought it would have been fitting to use a mystical method perhaps using the nightingale talisman And then Olga takes one look at Vasya and figures out what happened explaining credit me with some perception I ve seen enough girls wed Hmm and what is a girl wed supposed to look like Have a big glowing letter on her forehead And Olga s next uestion is if Vasya was willing So she somehow figures out what happened but not if Vasya is happy or unhappy about it It makes no sense to me2 Dehumanization of the TatarsYes they were invaders and did terrible things But considering how badly Tatars are treated in Russia nowadays I have friends who have been horribly harassed by authorities police and random people it s not pleasant I feel it s the wrong time to have a very high profile book where the Tatars are less human than the literal demons We see only two named characters and none of them has any personality And all the others are a faceless horde When Vasya is presented to a tent of Tatars the single Russian person is the only one who shows her compassion I m not saying make the Tatars good guys By all means make them bad But make them complex bad with personality and motivations and uirks Make them humanEven the Bear who conspires to destroy all humans and causes fear sickness and chaos is given a lot character development His motivations are clear he is given charm and humor and he even gets some redeeming ualities in his twisted love for Konstantin And Midnight who causes a lot of pain is a sympathetic character Only the Tatars remain completely faceless and interchangeable and it makes an otherwise great book suffer for it3 Timelines and agesThat s pretty minor but it s been bugging me Everyone who hears about Vasya s great grandmother is first shocked and then immediately says there s no way she could still be alive and she must surely be dead But why Vasya is 17 One of my great grandmothers lived until I was 21 and at Vasya s time women were having children younger so it was not uncommon to have great grandparents or even great great grandparents around Sure Vasya is not the first child in the family and her mother was a bit older when she had her and I m not saying it s likely but I m saying it s not as absolutely impossible as everyone in the book claimsAnd before anyone says But it s the Middle Ages average life expectance was 30 that s not how it works As I also mentioned in my review of The Bear and the Nightingale where the description of characters ages was bugging me for a different reason average expectancy of 30 doesn t mean people dropped dead at 30 It means an extremely high child mortality But if you survived childhood and you avoided catching a serious infectious disease you had decent chances to live well into old ageAnd speaking of timelines summer turns to winter in a couple of weeks While Vasya mentions it s early for snow we never see a proper explanation4 Everyone constantly mentioning how ugly Vasya isCome on No one is universally beautiful or ugly people have preferences and I find it hard to believe that everyone who meets Vasya will first find her ugly second say it out loud and third somehow get attracted to her anyway5 The Chernomor connectionIt felt unnecessary Baba Yaga is already very powerful Vasya doesn t need extra explanation for the magic in her blood While the Tsar Saltan fairytales were among my favorite as a kid this reference felt artificial without much connection to the restENOUGH COMPLAINING LET S TALK ABOUT MUSHROOMS Did I mention this is going to be a strange reviewIf you ve read my review of The Miniaturist you know I have a slight problem when it comes to food in books Namely if a food is mentioned often or described in detail I start craving it and need to drop everything else and go find it and eat it asap It s annoying really but I can t help it With The Miniaturist it was marzipan with Game of Thrones it was lemon cakes And here as Ded Grib became uite a prominent character it had to be mushrooms or in particular what Vasya calls lisichkiAnd that s the strange thing about how my brain works when it comes to food in fiction at first I couldn t figure out which mushroom type that was but I kept thinking Oooh these sound delicious I need to have them Now Then I checked it out and found out it s the mushroom that back home we call duck s foot apparently it s chanterelle in English good to learn something new Imagine my surprise to find out it s actually my favorite type of mushroom it looks so cool and tastes like heavenI had to have it The thing it I ve been living in Germany for some time and I couldn t remember ever seeing this type of mushrooms here and I had no idea where to look for them But then I went to the supermarket for some other reason and there they were my precious babies just one single tiny packet of them in the whole supermarket And they were imported from Bulgaria so of course I had to buy them immediatelyAnnoyingly they were extremely overprized if I paid one tenth of that prize back home it would be considered crazy expensive Honestly if my mom hears I ve spent 350 EUR on 150 grams of mushrooms she ll disown me and I m not exaggerating It s pretty infuriating knowing the people who picked them get paid next to nothing and then a German supermarket chain gets to label them as some fancy product and make tons of profit They even have the audacity to mention handpicked on the label like it makes it high class Of course it s handpicked it s wild mushrooms And the human labor is cheaper than any mushroom harvesting machine that would have workedIf it wasn t for this book I would have probably skipped but as I said I can t fight this weird fiction food cravings So I ended up cooking them with butter white wine uark and chivesI d like to think that s exactly how Vasya would have cooked them if she had the chance Chives is believed to come from Siberia and uark is super popular throughout Russia so there you goENOUGH MUSHROOMS LET S GET BACK TO THE PROPER REVIEWThe book picks up right after The Girl in the Tower ends and we jump straight into the action The plot is extremely engaging from the first page probably because we already know and love the characters Magic is everywhere from the strange creatures to the distant realms that one reaches through midnight roadsWhile I guessed the nature of Morozko s prison I loved that part of the story when Vasya arrives at the old town where people can still see spirits It felt straight out of a fairytale and I would have loved to spend time there Though I wasn t a fan of how the bath scene was handled the rest of that setting was one of my favorite parts in the book Now I want to go back and reread the old fairytalesI was happy to see that the actually holy priests are effective when fighting the demons Because of Konstantin I was afraid all priests would turn out to be cartoonishly incompetent which would have made Sasha look na veAfter the Bear was defeated and the Tatars became the new threat I was afraid the conflict would become mundane leaving behind the fairytale feel I needn t have worried The magic keeps growing and everything ties together perfectly I love the idea of humans and spirits allying together to defend their land and how Vasya s choices played a central role Her decisions were never strictly good and often seemed reckless but at the end shaped the course of history for better or for worse Beautiful trilogy I am sad it ended but it was a good end