A review by ehmannky
The Winter of the Witch, by Katherine Arden

dark emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


A wonderful end to the series. Winter of the Witch delves straight into the action, without any of the slow build up to Vasya's main plot that the previous two books did. And it starts out intense, with Vasya nearly killed by a mob spurred on by the corrupted priest Konstantin. I did kind of miss the meticulous world-building, but this is probably the most focused of the series in terms of plot. But I forgive much because I loved the relationship between Morozko and Vasya getting the room to really grow. Also, Vasya's PTSD from the beginning of the book was rendered so vividly and painfully, and I liked seeing a protagonist struggle with doing what she had to do with that disorder. It just makes her feel all the more real and brave. 

The only thing I didn't particularly love was that it felt that there were essentially two parts that felt like an ending-one part in the middle and the other was the actual end of the book. I don't want to spoil it, but I felt that after one of the major forces of antagonism in Vasya's life are defeated, there was a 50 ish page gap where the book felt like it sort of stalled. Overall, I didn't hate it and I get thematically why this split exists and the meaning behind showing that "defeating evil" is not enough for a victory in a complex world, but it felt odd in a book that's so action-focused to have this weird lull roughly 2/3rds of the way through.

Overall, extremely satisfied with this series and its ending, and good god
Spoiler was it satisfying to see Konstantin die. Still not sure how I feel about Solovey being resurrected in the last 10 pages of the book, but it is a very fairy tale twist so I did appreciate it.

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