Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in the conclusion to the Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen.
With a fluid incorporation of Russian diminutives and references, Arden wonderfully blends Russian culture into her novel. Conversations are brought to life in a realistic and relatable fashion, even when half the participants are devilish fey creatures ... Arden writes the mystical and mysterious forces of her fey world well, and keeps the reader engaged with its mysteries. But in answering almost every possible question I could have had, Arden removes that mysticism from the setting. Some readers may find they like a tidy ending, but for a book fraught with sacrifice and cost at every turn, I would have liked to see an ending just as messy. However, The Winter of the Witch was a fantastic way to end my literary year... and I would highly recommend it.
Though the pace lags a bit toward the beginning, once Vasya finds her footing, Arden’s signature cinematic pacing and clearly choreographed action come to the fore. Visceral descriptions of battle, an atmospheric sense of place, and some truly heartbreaking moments of loss make this a gut-wrenching read, but there’s ample hope and satisfaction to be found as Vasya chooses her own unique path to triumph.
The Winter of the Witch feels a bit like three novellas in one ... the segmented structure does throw off the pacing. Time jumps erratically ... Arden writes crisply and evocatively, with a harsh sense of urgency seeping through the lines ... Reading The Winter of the Witch was a huge challenge not because it was poorly written (it most certainly was not) but because it was so hard to put down ... Brimming with magic and myth, The Winter of the Witch, is the perfect conclusion to Katherine Arden’s lush series. As effervescent as it is foreboding, this is a series that will be on recommendation lists for years to come.