Fantasy Fairy Tale Recommendation: Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden

Truth to be told, this series has been on my TBR for many months (probably a year or two). I’m not sure if the series have the deserving-hype when it first published to public, but if it did – then it’s been decided that I’m hibernating long enough to not heard of this book AT ALL because WOW this series deserved every bit of recognition exist in the whole universe!

This series is included in my list of coincidentally-found shelves (which is a very rare case) where I happened to notice the very first book of this series when I’m searching for some specific books online. Just like that, the book showed up and I stopped scrolling further.

The fairy tale title caught my attention as well as the soft elegant cover that holds secrecy.

I thought the book as a stand-alone and surprise to learn that it’s actually a trilogy! Which piqued my interest even more to read how good the story might be and at the same time, doubting the book will ever give me an eloquent story. Guess what? NEVER ONCE IN MILLION YEARS I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT TO FALL IN LOVE WITH WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY!

A seemingly endless journey of a young maiden in the world of the almost forgotten fairy tale

1. The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1)

Genre : Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Page : 323 pages
Published : 10th January 2017

“Wild birds die in cages.”

The title and cover that caught my eyes!

Vasilisa Petrovna — or later, known as Vasya, is our main protagonist of the Winternight trilogy. Vasya was introduced as a little girl who loves the wild, unafraid and unpredictable for she never failed to baffled her family with her actions. Vasya, as the youngest of four, keen to love more fairy tales than her brother and sister did. Including story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

Vasya instantly caught my heart with her quick-witted, courageous yet rebellious and stubborn self. Moreover, her pure heart gets me to love her more. For her family, Vasya is just like a symbol of freedom.

That is, until her father re-marries long after Vasya’s mother death and bring home his new wife from Moscow. Whom is harsh with Vasya and forbid any honoring to the household spirit. Crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village.

Obviously, this book is just the start of Vasya journey to a more bigger world and bigger troubles ahead. However, this book is the one that enclosed Vasya and readers bond as it really tells a full length of Vasya’s childhood and her growth that proceed alongside the darker side of the story.

2. The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy #2)

Genre : Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Page : 363 pages
Published : 5th December 2017

“Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory of the other: of a life left unchosen. Decide as seems best, one course or the other; each way will have its bitter with its sweet.”

Vasya’s journey continued almost instantly after the first book.  Only, now Vasya is a full grown young woman that grows to be more adventurous and braver than she had ever imagine. Of course, with lots of new characters introduced and more complicated troubles.

The Girl in the Tower showed how Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, away from Vasya’s freedom. As if it has not been complicated enough, Vasya disguised herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods when somehow she managed earns the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow. As a boy. Until she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

In this second book, we will also read more about Vasya’s second brother — Sasha and Vasya’s older sister— Olga whom will often being featured as well as the Grand Prince of Moscow.

3. The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3)

Genre : Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Page : 384 pages
Published : 8th January 2019

“What happened? Love, betrayal, and time. What happens to anyone who grows to understand you? Living happens.”

What’s more to wish for than a beautiful wrap-up ending finale?

The Winter of the Witch is a book of magic and hope. 

Started strong as Moscow was looking for a scapegoat for the irrational events that is happening just recently and Vasya just happened to be blame by many. Deserted and alone. All the while demon return but unseen by others except Vasya.

Meanwhile, many said Moscow is now cursed while The Grand Prince of Moscow is trying to choose the best allies and path that can evade Moscow from war and ruin. Only if it is as simple as it seems.

Again, Vasya is now caught at the centre of two worlds. Desperate to save both worlds as she discovers her own mystery.

The last book is my favourite of all. It was full of action and unanswered mystery that slowly unravels as Vasya venturing for her dear life. Moreover, the last book is so full of wonder and so rich of fairy tales. 

Deeper Thoughts on the Series

Where should I start? There are many things I would like to share, to ramble and to fangirl even. All at once.

For it is impossible, since I’m providing spoiler-free context (as always) — I’m going to hold myself and rambled it all on my inner demon.

Winternight Trilogy is none other than Vasya’s own adventure on NOT ONLY discovering herself along her journey— but also to help a great deal to others, both in human realms and the unseen realms— the almost forgotten fairy tales, known by many but refuse to believe by many.

This series is one of the few that do not deviate from its purpose after a long 3 books trilogy.

That is, Vasya and the fairy tales!

The story is always there. Ready to hammer readers heart with love, grief, magic and hope. It turns one emotion so quick that I don’t even notice when did the phase happened. One moment I was tense and the next moment I was grieving.

It does not build up goosebumps chills and nail-biting tense you often found in books — No. But it build up slow and tender narratives that makes your heart went wild with thumping. Afraid of what might come next to wreck Vasya and yet, can’t stop oneself to read and expect the roller coaster ride.

The book is calm, brutal, frustrating, prejudice, magical, hopeful but above all— it’s beautiful.

I don’t know how the book does it but as I read the new book after one was finished, I always find it to be more fast-paced than the book before without losing it’s slow and tender atmosphere. What’s more bizzare— the way the story was told never failed to be beautiful.

Surprise! Surprise!

This series also somehow manage to mix a small portion of history inside with some real historical name that I just ferociously googled after I finished reading three of the books. I am dead impressed! However, best to read the history after reading those 3 books for surprise element inside.

My Reading Chart of the series

The Bear and the Nigtingale — ± 4 days

The Girl in the Tower — ± 2 days

The Winter of the Witch — ± 1 days

As you can see, I read my eyeballs out for this series. Especially for the last two books. Please pray for the safety of my minus eyes.

What I Really Love In The Series

1. Vasya

Of course Vasya made it to the list! She’s just amazing and definitely not a damsel in distress. Her crude appearance and carefree attitude was lectured and disliked by many but she never waver to defend and protect what’s important to her with her bravery. Even if it meant to risk her life.

2. Winter-King

For sure, Winter-King is included in Russian Fairy Tales tag later, several numbers down below. However. I just can’t stop myself from making a different tag special for the Winter-King. Who knows Winter-King could be so addictive? Like, addictive- addictive. A heartthrob. A scene stealer. For I always expect his part in the book and can’t get enough of him no matter how long his scenes are.

3. Familyhood

The familyhood in the series is so deep and it is so rare to read fantasy series with a strong sense of familyhood.  As you read, you will notice that this book never really put all those familyhood behind. It just never fade as the story proceed.

4. The Horses!

Vasya’s bond to the horses? Simply pure and heartwarming.

5. Character Building

I love the character building. It was written in a very subtle way that you don’t even realized the characters are growing until you come to specific part of the book and thought “Wow. They’ve changed from the way they used to be.”

6. Russian Fairy Tales

Full of Russian Fairy Tales that is cleverly being included and written in the Winternight Trilogy. It was like making a story out of a story. And it was wonderful.

7. Ambience

The book never failed to deliver magical ambience even if there are nothing miraculous happening in the scenes. The series itself feels like magic.

I was sad when I found myself already lingering at the end of the series. I am not saying to prolong the story, but I am not ready to part with this fairy tales series. Anyway, a petition for a book solely for Vasya and Winter-King. I can’t get enough of them both.

“The more one knows, the sooner one grows old” 

Author : Celine

23 thoughts on “Fantasy Fairy Tale Recommendation: Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden

  1. I finally read this series a few months ago (did a review for it too!) and it was so much more than I had expected! I really really liked it! The way the author wrote it that pulled me into the story and the morally gray characters were amazingly developed. The ending wrapped up everything amazingly. Just a beautiful beautiful work!
    Loved reading your thoughts!!✨✨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I KNOW RIGHT! I have NEVER EVER expected this series would be SO SO GOOD and it instantly be one of my favourite series of all time!❤ The more I read, the more beautiful the books get! It’s just a heartwarming beautiful series!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a wonderful post! I really loved this series and I’m glad you did too. The writing throughout was so good and I enjoyed all the things you mention. Vasya is one of my absolute favourite characters. The Girl in the Tower was the best one for me, it was thrilling and eventful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Stephen! And yes, after reading this trilogy Vasya is one of my favourites too! She’s absolutely amazing. The Girl in the Tower is indeed eventful! Can you believe it I just love all of the books with all my heart?! They’re so beautiful!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. so glad you enjoyed this series so much! i read the bear and the nightingale a few months ago and enjoyed it. i think vasya was a standout character—she was such a strong female character without being annoyingly sassy or emotionless. i can’t wait to continue, especially because i’ve heard good things about the romance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awhhh, if you love the first book, then I guarantee you are going to love the rest of the series. With much more loving quality too! And I can’t agree more about Vasya! She’s amazing. And yes please, the romance. It’s not much but it’s enough to send me jitters and butterfly inside!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad to hear more about this trilogy. I remember musing over the cover and title. It sounds like a wonderful read, and I like it that the story is complete since I love to binge-read. Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Diana! It has been such a long time since I last heard from you!❤ I’m so happy you took the time to read this review! And yes, the cover and title are both amusing! It would be delightful to know if you decided to read this series one day! Highly recommend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My TBR pile is huge right now. Sigh. But I did go ahead and add it to my Amazon wishlist, which is a good way for me to keep books in my radar. It sounds mesmerizing. 🙂

        And sorry about the lack of visits :-(. It’s been a tough couple of years as I became the primary caregiver for my parents. Lots of everthing got put on hold. Lol. Have a lovely week and be well.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahaha I can relate to it like SO HARD😂😂 TBR books that are planned to be read tomorrow are gone until the next few years😂😂 And pleaseeee don’t take the blame for the lack of visits 😦 it’s fineee truly. I understand how we should carry on living and dealt with life and tossed blogging writing as the least priority for a while.

        Anyhow, I wished things could always go well with you and I truly wished that you and your family will always be safe, healthy and well❤ and thank you for your kind words too Diana!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this, Celine! I really should continue with this series, because I loved The Bear and the Nightingale! Whenever I think about it, I just have fond memories of it, like I was there with Vasya. This post reminded me to try and read book 2 as soon as possible!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awhhh that’s so sweet Xandra! Thank you so much for your kind words!❤ I am so glad you love The Bear and The Nightingale and I hope you could love the next books as much as the first!


  6. Oooh, I have had the first book of this series on my TBR for over a year now, and your review is telling me that I should start it soon!! Great review 💕

    Liked by 1 person

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