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The Winter of the Witch

The Winter of the Witch is the final volume in The Winternight Trilogy by American author Katherine Arden following female protagonist Vasilisa in this Fantasy series based on Russian folktales. The first book followed Vasilisa’s childhood and the burgeoning of her identity and powers as a witch. The second book set in Moscow explored Vasilisa’s conflict to be with her family but need for freedom and her eventual understanding that her identity as a witch placed her between the realms of men and the supernatural powers of Russia, the cherti. The Winter of the Witch continues directly from previous events in Moscow. Vasilia struggles to gain her freedom from the confines of Moscow and the vengeance of Father Constantine and his master, Medvedev, the chaos cherti. In the last moment, Vasilia surrenders herself to the magical powers that are her heritage and escapes into the realms of the cherti. The fire that engulfed Moscow when the firebird was released is soon dwarfed by an invasion of a massive Tatar army. Against the backdrop of warfare and the enslavement of Russia, Vasilia struggles to keep her own humanity and rescue Morozko, the Winter King from an imprisonment devised by his twin, the chaos spirit, Medvedev. In the final battle to save Russia, Vasilisa and her brother Sasha, a warrior monk, unite forces against the overwhelming numbers of the Tatar army with Vasilia uniting all the cherti of Russia, even binding Medvedev to her cause.
The Winter of the Witch was a satisfying and powerful conclusion to the Winternight Trilogy, the culmination of Vasilia’s story and the vibrant Russian folktales made this series an absolute favourite of mine. Highly recommended!