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

Brimful of the deep-winter magic and folkloric elements I loved in her first two Winternight books, Katherine Arden’s trilogy culminates in a truly spellbinding finale with The Winter of the Witch.

Moscow is in flames, leaving its people searching for answers – and someone to blame. Vasilisa, a girl with extraordinary gifts, must flee for her life, pursued by those who blame their misfortune on her magic.

Then a vengeful demon returns, stronger than ever. Determined to engulf the world in chaos, he finds allies among men and spirits. Mankind and magical creatures alike find their fates resting on Vasya’s shoulders.

But she may not be able to save them all.

Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy has been ramping up towards its epic conclusion over the course of the first two books.

Given the title, it’s unsurprising to find that The Winter of the Witch is where Vasya needs to come into her own if she’s somehow to attempt to bring all the warring factions – military, magic, religious and demon – together to face the threat to Moscow.

No mean feat for someone who is once again an outcast, badly hurt and on the run.

Vasya’s journey takes her along the enchanted but hazardous road through Midnight, where she’ll learn more about herself and her family, take on an unlikely guide, and reunite with a beguiling frost-demon.

Katherine Arden has created a richly romantic and magical world yet still manages to keep it grounded in the harsh reality of what would have been medieval life in Rus’. Her world-building is immersive: my skin prickled at the cold and my stomach rumbled in sympathy at Vasya’s hunger, and I swear I heard the faint whispers of chyerti while reading their passages.

While I’m certain to revisit, it was a real wrench to close the pages on these characters and the world they inhabit. Arden’s storytelling is mesmerising and The Winter of the Witch is an exhilarating end to the Winternight trilogy.

The Winter of the Witch is the final novel in Katherine Arden’s Winternight trilogy and it is published by Del Rey, an Ebury Publishing and Penguin Random House imprint here in the UK. It is available as an audiobook, ebook and in hardback. You can buy it from Amazon UK or through Hive which supports your local independent bookshop. 

I received a review copy of the book from the publisher via Lovereading UK.

For more on Katherine Arden and her books, check out her Author Website, or follow her on FacebookInstagram or Twitter. Katherine Arden is coming to the UK at the end of this month on The Winter of the Witch (Winternight #3) tour and you can find all the dates below. 

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