The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden

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ARC given to me by my amazingly kind friend, who I don’t deserve – Lilly at Lair of Books!

1.) The Bear and the Nightingale ★★★★★
2.) The Girl in the Tower ★★★★★

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

This is a hard review for me to write, because I think my heart doesn’t want to admit that this series is finally over. But it is, and this concluding book was everything I wanted. I cried, I felt gutted, I got my heart broken, but somehow Katherine Arden healed the pieces back together.

Where do I even begin to tell you what this story is about without spoiling anything with a review about the final book. This is a book about the bonds of family, blood and found, and doing whatever it takes to protect the ones you love. This is a book about religion and the beautiful and terrible things people are willing to do in the name of it. This is a book about all the different pieces that make a person, and how it is okay to love them all even if others won’t. But this is ultimately a book about a girl becoming the hero of her own story every single time, no matter who or what tries to block her path.

“There are no monsters in the world, and no saints. Only infinite shades woven into the same tapestry, light and dark.”

But I suppose The Bear and the Nightingale is a Russian inspired fantasy that stars a family living on the edge of the unforgiving Russian wilderness. And our main character grew up on fairy tales, but always hungered for more. And she soon realizes that maybe there was some truth in those tales, and she encounters a frost-demon named Morozko who makes magic a reality before her very eyes.

This story picks up right after the events of The Girl in the Tower in Moscow, and Konstantin Nikonvich’s vengeance knows no bounds. And a bear demon named Medved is happy to aid with the chaos in any way they possibly can. We also get to see Marya, Olga, Sasha, and Dmitrii on very different journeys through this pain and heartbreak. But we also get to see Vasya learn new things about herself and her ancestors, while even venturing into a new land unlike any other. And I truly think this concluding novel was damn close to perfection.

“You denied both the winter-king and his brother, didn’t you? You made yourself a third power in their war.”

Following Vasya, seeing her go to battle for Russia, go to battle for her family, go to battle for herself, has been a journey like none other that I’ve ever experienced while reading. Katherine Arden pulls from a lot of historical events and themes, but I’m convinced that this equal parts harrowing and heartening fairytale that she crafted is the real timeline that happened. I’ll be completely honest, this is a hard review to write, and not because it’s the last book in a series, but because I am in awe of what a damn masterpiece this entire story is. It doesn’t even feel real that I have this story in my hands, that I get to read it, I get to love it, I get to experience this beautiful tale that feels so whimsical but so real. The actual blessings.

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

Overall, this is just one of my favorite trilogies of all time, and I think it always will be. This story just truly has every element that I’m in love with in literature; lyrical writing, winter setting, fae folks of all varieties, strong sibling bonds, heart wrenching romance, and girls becoming the hero of their story. Katherine Arden and this trilogy is a gift from a higher power and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for talk of death during childbirth, graphic animal death, graphic torture, graphic violence, sexual assault (unwanted touching), threat of rape, death, murder, blood depictions, slavery, captivity, and war themes.

Buddy read with Sissi, Lily, Hanaa, & Lilly! ❤


The Girl in the Tower (The Winternight Trilogy #2) by Katherine Arden

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ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

1.) The Bear and the Nightingale ★★★★★

“Vasilisa Petrovna, murderer, savior, lost child, rode away from the house in the fir-grove.”

Hi, my name is Melanie and I’m in love with a frost demon. You guys, please stop sleeping on this series. This is the best historical fantasy I’ve ever read in my entire life. And all of the Russian folklore is actual perfection. This is the type of book that reminds me that literature can be tangible pieces of magic, and this book is truly an enchanted masterpiece.

The Girl in the Tower picks up right where The Bear and the Nightingale left off. Vasya is leaving the only home she has ever known, and has chosen to see the world that is beyond the forest that surrounds her family’s home.

And since it is absolutely unheard of for a girl to go exploring the world on her own, and since the ways of men can be cruel to a girl traveling alone, Vasya disguises herself as a boy and ventures out to see what the world has to offer. Well, unfortunately, Vasya soon finds that the world has to offer many cruelties, and some of the surrounding forest towns have been burned down and had their young daughters stolen away.

Vasya can’t help but want to save these people that remind her so much of her own village back home. And soon her path crosses with her older brother, Sasha, who has devoted his life to God, and her older sister Olga, who has devoted her life to motherhood after wedding a prince. Vasya hasn’t seen either of these siblings for ten years, so it’s quite a reunion to say the least. And Vasya soon finds out that her niece is much more like her than the world would want.

We are also very quickly thrown into the world of Moscow, where political intrigue and betrayal is vast. Vasya is forced to masquerade as a boy in a city that is unlike anything she’s ever experienced while living in the safety of her forest. And even winter can’t protect her, because spring is arriving sooner and sooner every day.

“You cannot take vengeance on a whole people because of the doings of a few wicked men.”

This book is so atmospheric! You will breathe in the cold, you will taste the food, you will break from the heartache, but you will feel the magic inside of this story. I truly believe this book is on parallel with none for atmosphere. The descriptions are lush, and gorgeous, and make me believe Katherine Arden’s words truly are written with sorcery.

And the characters are some of my absolute favorites, bar none. How am I so in love with a brooding frost demon, a sassy stallion, a brand-new ghost, and every single small-folk who reside in all the different ovens and bathhouses in Russia? On top of Vasya being one of the best female protagonists every to be created. I’m so enthralled, so captivated, and so invested in everyone’s story. Somehow, Katherine Arden has woven the entire cast into my heart and soul and I want to protect them all at all costs.

“Do you think that is all I want, in all my life—a royal dowry, and a man to force his children into me?”

And this book is so wonderfully feminist! Give me all the books about girls choosing themselves and their wants for their own future. Like, this entire series is about a girl who doesn’t want to fit into women’s gender-norm for this time period. She is proud to be different, she doesn’t care what other’s say, and she always listens to her heart. She’s knows that being brave is more important than being beautiful. She knows that being smart is more important that being subservient. And she knows that being a woman doesn’t make her lesser than being a man. And all of these themes are constant throughout the novel.

“…An aging woman, magnificent and solitary, whose tower door never opened, who would make her daughter a proper maiden but never count the cost.”

Vasya wants to explore, and go on adventures, and see the world, rather than getting married, having children, and managing a household. But Vasya never shames that life choice/path, she just knows that it isn’t for her. And even when she feels like she has the whole world against her, Vasya never backs down or changes who she is. I could honestly write a thesis, a book of my own, and a freakin’ sonnet to how much Vasya Petrovna means to me.

“Perhaps I will die here, as others have died. But I will not die your creature.”

I loved this book with the sum of my being. This book is so very powerful, and I can’t even find the words to express how much this series means to me. The Winter of the Witch is easily my most anticipated release of 2018 now. This series is such a magical treat, and I hope you all do yourselves a favor and pick it up. Just make sure you are prepared for the ultimate winter wonderland, that doesn’t hold back from heartbreak.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

November 2017 TBR

Happy November 1st, lovelies! I hope you all had an amazing Halloween last night! I can’t believe we are already into the eleventh month of the year, but here we are! And here are six of the books that I plan on reading in the month of November!

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3) by Brandon Sanderson:
This is the third book in this epic fantasy series! I’m sure every fantasy blog you all follow with have this on their TBR! And you all should keep an eye out on The BiblioSanctum, because Mogsy received an ARC because she’s the reviewing queen of all things fantasy and I’m stalking here every day to see if she loved this one!

The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden:
I already told you guys that I was given this, signed, by the entire Goodreads team in San Francisco! This book means so much to me, and I’ll cherish it forever, so I figured I better at least read it, too! Also, Russian folklore and fairytales with a wintery scenery? Like, that’s my brand.

The Girl in the Tower (The Winternight Trilogy #2) by Katherine Arden:
And since I have no control whatsoever, I also immediately requested an ARC for book two, without even having read the first book, because… reasons. If I love this one, I’m totally going to buy the European edition on Book Depository, though, because it’s honestly my favorite book cover of all time. Also, this releases on December 5th, 2017.

Zenith (The Androma Saga #1) by Sasha Alsberg &, Lindsay Cummings:
This is a brand new Sci-Fi series that is cowritten by a very famous BookTuber. I’ll be completely honest, I love Sasha and I think she’s a sweetheart, and I requested this ARC just because I wanted to give her book a chance and to support her. I’m not sure if I will love it, but I’m going into this optimistically. Also, this is a buddy read with Jules! ❤ And Zenith is set to release on January 16th, 2018!

Ever the Brave (A Clash of Kingdoms #2) by Erin Summerill:
This is another ARC that I was sent that I felt lukewarm about. I gave an ARC of Ever the Hunted two stars last year, but I thought the story has a lot of potential, which I’m hoping to see executed in this book. I’ll report back soon! Also, this comes out December 5th, 2017, too!

Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon:
And last, but not least, my bookish best friend, Paloma, has finally persuaded me to give Outlander a try. The biggest problem I have as a book reviewer is that I find it very difficult to separate the art from the artist, which holds true for separating the book from the author. I won’t lie, Diana Gabaldon has said some downright offensive and nasty things on Twitter, and it’s made me never want to touch this beloved series. But Paloma is my book twin and reading sister, so I have a good feeling that I’m going to love this. Also, she’s going to buddy read it with me and it’s going to make the experience even better, because I live for buddy reads with her! Wish me luck, guys!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get to a couple other things this month as well, but my life always gets so hectic the closer and closer we creep into the holiday season! I wish you all the best books this November! Happy reading, everyone!

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