YES! I got my early Christmas gift this year. Almost a week ago, this book was up for request. I got excited because this book has been a long awaited novel since I read The Girl in the Tower in December 2017. 5 days later, I came home from work to an email telling me the publisher has approved my request. You betcha that I was just like that 8 year old girl who just opened the best present on a Christmas morning! Made myself a cup of salted caramel hot chocolate, put on my PJs, turned off my phone, climbed into my wonderful bed with my dog Ewok, and my cat, Luna, and started reading.
Wow! What an amazing breathtaking finale! I needed a day to stop reeling from all the aftermath of this beautiful folklore before I could write this review. Sadly, I needed to step out of the book affter saying goodbye to my favorite characters.
Like the synopsis stated, stunning conclusion. It did not lie! It was gut wrenching, anger, sorrow, relief, freezing cold, tired, self discovery, betrayal, love(not the sappy kind, mind you!) evilness, blood and gore, goodness, neutral, new and old friends, family, leap of faith, religion, and cult. They all wrap into this fairytale, folklore, myths, and history.
Katherine Arden has done it again. She did not fail with this third book in this Winternight Trilogy. In fact, it just may be the best book of the 3 books in this trilogy! Ms. Arden has improved with her story telling gift. She is extremely talented with words and lyrics. While I'm inside the story, I can almost hear her telling the Russian Folklore in the background.
The story picks up immdiately at the ending of the novel, The Girl in the Tower. I was able to remember the characters from both of the books. This story was packed with mythical creatures, evil priest, mob, magic, evil, good, grief, madness, action, battle. The heroine was growing into her own powers and discovering her self while discovering her love for the "winter king". She really became one bad assed chick. The romance was hardly there but the love grew mostly out of admiration and respect which grew stronger. She learns more of her magical ancestry and her self worth despite of the powers she has. Bear, the evil twin brother of Winter King(many names for winter king) comes back and she has to use her wits, powers, and forgiveness against him. Ironcally, they ended up working together on the same team with her brother, brother in law and other prince in the battle.
I had to admire Vasya so much because her background was so deeply rooted to gods, and old beliefs to the point where she had to question herself with her beliefs and the religion her brother, Sasha believes in. She basically questioned everything. By opening her eyes and beliefs, she became a bridge between the old world and the new world.
There's so much in this story. Ms. Arden wrapped all of the pieces together as should be in this conclusion. There were new understanding, new bonds, consequences and etc. This is a wonderful, magical world of winter with midnights, mythical creatures, spells, and fairytale weaved with myths and history.
I was very spelled bound with all of the trilogy and Katherine Arden did not disappoint me one bit at all. It was so well worth the wait. When the hardcover comes out, I will most definately purchase it to add it to my other two books, The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower. This trilogy will be among my favorite series of all time.
I received this beautiful magical ARC from Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine Del Ray through Net Galley in exchange for my unbiased and honest review. Thank you so much!