After recovering after the traumatic battle in the forest, Vasya makes a deal with the Winter King to see the world for herself disguised as a boy. It is a harsh world, but Vasya is thrilled by her experiences and her freedom, but chance brings her back into contact with her family, where circumstances force her to continue the charade under the nose of Moscow. The capitol is full of delights and adventure, but there are treacherous political currents and Vasya cannot ignore the hurt she has caused her loved ones. There's also the small matter of ancient evil raising its head, threatening Vasya and the whole city.
It is so strange how often I delay reading something I know I'm going to love to pieces. 'The Girl in the Tower' is an amazing follow-up to Arden's debut 'The Bear and the Nightingale'. The characters are well-drawn, and perhaps its because of my relative unfamiliarity with this historical period, but none of my usual objections to historical fiction came up.
Arden does a good job of balancing the needs of the plot, adjusted historical realities, and maintaining the feel of genuine folklore. My only complaint is that the climactic moments of the book didn't match the power of 'Nightingale'. It's a good thing there's more already available!
Next: 'The Winter of the Witch'
Previous: 'The Bear and the Nightingale'