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

RATING: 3.5/5

SYNOPSIS

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 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.

REVIEW

This is going to be an unpopular opinion. This last installment of the Winternight Trilogy to me, is not as epic as most of the concluding installments that I have read (maybe I have high expectations for this series).

First, lets start off with the pros of this series. Arden’s writing is special, distinctive and beautiful. I love the setting and the incorporation of Russian folklore into the story. The feminism theme shines throughout the series. And of course, the cover of this book is so beautiful!

Now to the cons. The pacing and plot of this book is a major problem to me. I am not sure why Arden did not focus more on the final battle. I think there are only a few pages describing the final battle which is unsatisfactory to me (most authors spent a few chapters on final battles to build up its epicness). Instead, Arden focuses too much on the relationship between Vasya and Morozko (which I still think it’s awkward to me) and Vasya’s path of self discovery and mastering her new powers (not to mention that there’s not much description of the magic system as well). The strangest part is the sudden revelation of Vasya’s great-grandfather which only took a 1 or 2 pages to go through it. This to me is a loose end which was not properly addressed by the author.

To me, this series started off strong but the conclusion fell flat. Hence a 3.5/5 star rating. But of course, if you enjoy folklore incorporation in a fantasy series, you can try out this trilogy!

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