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Overview (No Spoilers):
Sometimes after finishing a book I find myself struggling to compose a review. Despite thoroughly enjoying The Winter of the Witch, I have delayed over and over again actually formulating my thoughts into something concrete. I had high expectations for this last installment of the Winternight Trilogy after raving about the first two books and Arden does not disappoint. That being said, despite the elegant writing style and plethora of details, it does not mean that this was a fun or easy read. Likely adding to my struggles with physically writing down an opinion was how to capture the often heartbreaking and cruel events that take place, yet constructed in an eloquent prose that draws the reader ever further into its depths. The now familiar characters all return for better or worse, and are each treated to their own tribulations with the final outcomes never quite what was expected. Arlen unapologetically toys with the reader’s emotions as you’ll (ugly) cry and laugh repeatedly, sometimes yo-yoing between the spectrum within only a span of pages. One of my favorite aspects of this read is that Vasya‘s family history and source of her power is revealed, along with other secrets of the Midnight Realm. Overall, The Winter of the Witch was a fitting conclusion to an elegantly composed trilogy. That being said, while having enjoyed these books, I have very little happy associated feelings toward a trilogy that has had so many heart wrenching moments.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- Father Konstantin has to rank high as one of the most infuriating characters I’ve stumbled across in literature. From a creative standpoint, it was intriguing to have a man of God become corrupted despite still seeming like a good man. He had such tunnel vision when it came to Vasya.
- If Vasya has the opportunity to never grow old or at least age slowly, does that mean the rest of her siblings do as well?
- Vasya traveling to the Midnight realm was by far my favorite part of this read. She finally escapes the horrors of the real world and adventures into the fantastical. Her little mushroom chyerti was an excellent side character as he added humor to what had been a very dark tale.
- Poor, poor Sasha! His death seemed so pointless, as he needlessly through himself into harms way. Was the single combat really necessary?
- I was surprised that Vasya’s family (other than Sasha and Olga) didn’t take more of a center stage in this last book. Her family has been so important throughout that it was surprising that they seemed to be forgotten about in this final book.
- Solovey dying almost made me put down this read. It was horrible, heartbreaking and honestly just very shocking. That being said, I wasn’t even mad when Vasya brought him back to life. After his passing, the narriative lacked the light that this spunky horse brought to the text.