Recommended Books: THE WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY by Katherine Arden

Katherine Arden

The Winternight Trilogy, which includes The Bear and the Nightingale, The Girl in the Tower, and The Winter of the Witch, is one of those rare beasts where each installment is as glorious as the last.

The story revolves around Vasilisa, or Vasya, who is born as the youngest child of a lord in Russia during a time when the old traditions of honoring the spirits have begun to fade in favor of Christianity. Yet, she is one who can still see the spirits, who understands the need to continue offerings to them in order to retain their protection and support in times of strife.

The Bear and the Nightingale is told in a beautiful, sedate style, traveling through Vasya’s youth, her encounters with the spirits and her struggles with a newly-come priest who begins to hear a voice that he thinks of as the voice of God. She is also introduced to Morozko, the demon of Frost and Death, who has unknown goals of his own for interacting with her, and threatened by the coming of the Bear, another of the great demon spirits who thrives in chaos and life.

The Girl in the Tower is the continuing of Vasya’s story, through her travels across Russia and refinding family as she attempts to discover her purpose and place in the world. While The Winter of the Witch is a fast-paced, climatic end to Vasya’s story, as all the threads from the previous books are brought to conclusion, with Vasya finally realizing her own potential and power within this new world.

Arden’s writing is superb, as is her handling of intermixing mythology and history and fiction into one smooth tale that becomes harder and harder to put down the further you travel with Vasya. This trilogy is one for anyone who wants a snow-coated adventure tale featuring a protagonist growth arc.

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