“Winternight Trilogy” by Katherine Arden – Experience the Magic of Russian Folklore

I write this review for all three books in the trilogy.

  • The Bear and the Nightingale
  • The Girl in the Tower
  • The Winter of the Witch

First of all, confession time. I don’t have many references related to fantasy book genre. I’ve read Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter, but they were so long long long time ago that I can’t recall perfectly my experience. So returning to fantasy fiction once again, it’s a bit of a new panorama for me. The reason I bought the first book in the trilogy because it was displayed on the top-shelf in my local bookstore and the cover is very beautiful. At that time, I was looking for some new reading experience, reading a genre that I rarely explore. Given that my decision-making process was extremely shallow, picking up this book does not disappoint me.

Just a side note. Dear publishers, please design the cover as pretty as possible, so people like me will pick up the book.

Second, I just realized that ‘The Bear and the Nightingale’ was the first book of a trilogy when I arrived home. For your information, I hate waiting! For TV series, for books, I could not stand for a cliff-hanger. But, I already purchased the book, I didn’t want to return it, look at the cover, it’s very pretty. So I decided to BEAR with it – pun intended. Boy, oh boy. The waiting was definitely worth it! When I put down the third book, I wanted more. Then, I felt sad because I knew I’m going to miss Vasya, Morozko, and (maybe) Medved. All the ‘chyerti’ too. I’m going to miss their adventures.

The stories are incredible and very mind-opening. The story-telling is very poetic. It was set in 14th century Russia. The main character is a young courageous heroine. Overall, it’s like a breath of fresh air. As a requirement for fantasy novels, the trilogy has everything; the witch, the beast, the demon, the magic. You name it. At the end of every book, I couldn’t help myself but to Google a lot about Russian folklore, that was referenced a lot in the book. It makes me want to know more about Russian culture, which is awesome. Noting also that some major events in the book are loosely based on real historical events are also an excellent combination of history and fiction. Well done! Also, the next book was always getting better and better than the previous one. The conflicts were more intense and the atmosphere was getting darker and darker. Also, I got exposed to more magic.

Conclusion, if you don’t normally read fantasy fiction books, I think this trilogy will be a good starter. If you are someone who wants to read ‘less-complicated’ fantasy series – because we know some fantasy book series have their own maps and language, as well as more than five books in the series -, I can definitely recommend this trilogy. Although, honestly, I wish it was at least a five-book series (#greedy). For all three books in this trilogy, I give the score 5 out of 5. Wonderful!

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