ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Girl in the Tower: It’s Russian Mulan, but it’s Still Pretty Great.

Updated on November 30, 2019

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Last winter I read a fantasy booked called The Bear and the Nightingale and I loved it. It was so unique, imaginative, and just great all around becoming one of my favorite books. After finishing it, I wanted to read the sequel, but when I found the sequel, it was expensive. So I decided to wait for a sale. So I waited. First weeks. Then months. Now a year later, it has not went on sale. And it was beginning to bother me that the next part of Vasya’s adventure was so pricey. So I decided just to bite the bullet to read the second book in the series. Here is any review of The Girl in Tower by Katherine Arden.

The book follows Vasya. A young woman who grew up in a frozen village in Russia. She can see what others cannot. This includes wood spirits, gods, ghosts and the Winter King himself. After the events of the last book, her home believes her to be a witch, so she dresses herself as a boy and runs away from home with the aid of the Winter King. She soon sees the world outside her village for the first time. She soon learns that Tarters are raiding and burning down villages. She saves some girls who have been kidnapped and impresses the grand prince of Russia with her actions. He invites her to help him fight the Tartars. She agrees and impresses him further. He welcomes her into the inner circle of his companions in Moscow. And she loves it. For once she feels like she found her place in the world. But she knows well it can’t last long because she will be killed if they discover she’s girl, but she keeps on getting pulled deeper and deeper into the mess. All the meanwhile she meets her brother and sister who are disappointed and disgusted by her. The Winter King also continues to warn her to leave before it’s too late.

So the good and the bad. Let’s start with the good. First of all, Vasya is a wonderful lead. She is such a strong character and this is such a personal story for her. The emotional moments hit so hard when they happen because she is just such a strong character. The story and setting is steeped deep in Russian folklore and it gives the story such an undeniable unique flavor. It all seems so new and fresh compared to most other fantasies. The story itself does not break new ground. It feels like a Russian version of Mulan for the most part, but it is done so well with just enough changes that it’s thoroughly enjoyable. The setting is also so unique.

The bad? The story is not as original as the first novel. The first novel had a tale so original that I never seen before. This, though a very tense story, is a tad predictable and is something we all seen before. Then when she leaves her home in this story, every male character with the exception of her brother are pretty awful. Sexism is thick in this book, but it may have been that way in medieval Russia. The little I learned about Russian history in college does reflect a grim picture and this may be historically accurate. It’s just a sad world for women in this book and some people may not want to read that if it bothers them. And lastly, the biggest issue is this book has an eleventh hour villain. Most of the novel is about Vasya falling deeper and deeper into this mess and fifty pages from the end a villain shows his face. It’s random and out of place. It’s almost as if the author realized she forgot to put in a villain until she was approaching the end of the novel. The villain introduction and resolution seemed very rushed.

Overall, this book was wonderful despite its flaws. Yes, it’s Russian Mulan, but that’s not a bad thing. The lore is so unique. The setting is both beautiful and cruel. And this creates a fascinating tale, which though not as good as the first book, is still one of the best fantasies I ever read. I recommend this to everyone who enjoys the fantasy genre. This is a must read.

4 smoothies out of Four.

Overall Rating: It’s Russian Mulan, but it’s still pretty great.

Have You Read This Book?

Share Your Opinion. What Did You Think?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)