Publisher: Del Rey
Source: NetGalley and Publisher for review
Amazon Affiliate Link: http://amzn.to/2Bl05sN
The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.
Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, 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, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.My thoughts:
I was surprised by the first book, The Bear and the Nightingale (my review linked) and eagerly awaited this book. I have to admit that, at first I was thinking this book might suffer from second book syndrome as Vasya kept making bad choices. She is learning something totally new so that is expected, but sometimes frustrating for the reader. Still, as things moved on and I became more curious. Once she became reunited with 2 of her older siblings I was totally invested.
This story is a retelling of Russian myth (actually several), we do get a tale that feels familiar in the embodiment of death who falls for a mortal the consequences. It is also a tale of a strong girl who learned what she didn't want out of life in the first book and what she was willing to do to avoid the consequences of her decision. While we are still dealing with the echoes of that important choice she now finds she must decide on what she wants and if she is willing to fight for it. In other words she doesn't just need to know what she is moving away from but what she needs to move toward. She finds her voice and her strength from within and every bit is needed to not just survive a cunning villain but also those that felt betrayed by her choices who also, in turn, betrayed and loved her.
I give this book 4 1/2 stars. If you haven't tried this series, I think you should! I really enjoy all the characters especially Vasya, Morozkzo (who will break your heart), and Slovey (her horse! I love that horse!). I also would start with the first book. While this trilogy hasn't ended, this one did not end on a cliffy, but questions linger and you are pulled into wanting the next book now. You could wait for the last book to appear, but seriously, I would just start enjoying it now.