This book was not what I expected… If I say the story was moving slowly, I wouldn’t be quite right, as it covered the first fourteen years of Vasya’s life, and still, it felt like not much was happening in the first half.
I loved the Russian folklore elements, and how these fairytale creatures were a natural part of everyone’s lives, even though only Vasya and her stepmother (Anna) were able to actually see them. While Vasya considers them friends, Anna is terrified of them and with the help of the overzealous priest, declares them the root of all evil. The author captures the villager’s despair brilliantly, how they turn against their old beliefs and superstitions when the truly horrible things start happening, going as far as blaming Vasya, calling her a witch, even though before the priest’s arrival none of them were bothered by the domovoi, the vazila, the rusalka and the other fairy folk.
Most of the story was set during winter, and I could almost feel the freezing cold through the pages. This is certainly one of those books that are best enjoyed under the blankie with some hot chocolate or coffee at hand.
What I didn’t like is that I had quite a hard time keeping up with the characters. I mean… Russian names are not that hard. But bloody hell… Like when Aleksei was called Sasha or Alexander randomly, and I kept forgetting that Kolya was Nikolai, Dunya was Avdotya (or something like that) and so on. Maybe we’d need a glossary for the names as well, like that handy list at the end of the book explaining all the words, phrases that were used in the story. (Just sayin’…)
I kind of want to read the next book though, but I definitely need a break.
Get The Girl in The Tower: (Winternight Trilogy) on Amazon UK (hardcover).