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.
I finished reading this book over a week ago and yet Vasya’s story and the ending, to what has become one of my all time favourite series, is still ingrained in my mind and my emotions. Please note this review will contain slight spoilers!
The story picks up pretty much immediately from the ending of The Girl in the Tower, with Moscow recovering from being nearly burnt to the ground by the Firebird. Accusations are running afire about a witch attempting to burn down the city. It all goes downhill from here. To escape persecution Vasya takes the only road available to her, into Midnight, this leads to an adventure of a lifetime, where she will meet new enemies but also new friends and maybe even some family she thought lost long ago.
I absolutely loved the direction this book took, even though I might never forgive Katherine Arden for chapter three! (you will understand when you read the book). As with the first two books her writing is sublime, and her descriptions, from the characters to the settings, make for a book that drags you in and doesn’t let go easily.
Vasya’s character progression in this book is evident, she goes from the slightly meek and afraid child to a woman who, once she learns her place in the world comes to rule over the magical side of Rus. I love the introduction of new characters and Deb Grib might have to be my favourite… even if I don’t like mushrooms! Her relationship with Morozko is one of all my all time favourites, and this book does not let down in that sense, the progression from the first book is overly evident, and has become one of my favourite literary romances. I love how neither of them is willing to give up a part of themselves for their love, which could ultimately be their salvation or their ending.
This book has some pretty epic battle scenes, from Vasya’s personal battles to prove her worth to herself and others, to the epic final battle between the Russian and the Tartars which was brewing in the second book. Again it is Arden’s effortless writing that makes these scenes stick with you and drags you in until you feel as though you are fighting along side them.
Even though its only January I can tell that this is going to be on my top reads of the year, and as glad as I am to have read it, a part of me is sad that this is the end. I could read an unlimited amount of books set in this world and never get bored. This is an easy 5/5 for me as were the first two books in the series and I cannot recommend this enough. If this isnt on you TBR then you should add it now, I can guarantee you will love it.