It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community. 

I’ve had these books for quite awhile now, and I have just recently cracked them open because I felt that they would be perfect for our current reading theme; plus, it is the first time in my over forty years of existence that I am living in a country with four seasons: and I thought that this trilogy would be the absolute perfect winter read, and boy, was I not mistaken.

The Bear And The Nightingale [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Katherine Arden
Published by Del Rey (2017)
ISBN: 1785031058 (ISBN13: 9781785031052) Book Awards: Locus Award Nominee for Best First Novel (2018), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fantasy & for Debut Goodreads Author (2017), HWA Debut Crown Nominee for Longlist (2017). Review copy provided by Pansing. 

The Girl In The Tower [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Katherine Arden
Published by Del Rey (2018)
ISBN: 1785031074 (ISBN13: 9781785031076) Book Award: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fantasy (2018). Review copy provided by Pansing. 

The Winter Of The Witch [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Katherine Arden
Published by Del Rey (2019)
ISBN: 1101886005 (ISBN13: 9781101886007). Bought my copy of the book.

It is always a challenge for me to share my “reviews” or my musings about novels that I truly love, mainly because I am reduced to a gibberish, inarticulate idiot, blathering on about how everyone – every single reading creature – should use their grabby hands to find these books and read them immediately.

I read the entire trilogy while spending the Christmas holidays with family in Antioch, California. And when friends asked me what the series is about – I say that it is fantasy mixed with mythology, witchcraft and religion, animism and faith, set in Medieval Russia. However, the catchy simplistic blurb does not truly capture the world-building in the narrative mixed with Russian folklore, or how historical facts are reimagined so convincingly by author Katherine Arden with a supernatural twist so persuasive that I doubt I will be able to look at Russian history the same way again.

Then there is the unforgettable female protagonist named Vasya who resisted all the expected female trappings set by society and forged her own path – no matter how treacherous the journey, how high the costs, how seemingly impossible the task. She claimed a choice where none existed – defied a handsome bedeviled self-righteous Priest who desired her, rejected the warm hearth of the Winter-King because she refuses to sit by idly with riches laid out before her, and fought alongside chaos-spirits and demons to save her country’s future.

It has been such a long time since I have been so deeply immersed in a make-believe world. I gasped out loud while reading, shed tears in frustration along with Vasya, raged at her lack of purpose especially when she recklessly abandoned her family to go on an ill-defined adventure to escape from the confinement of either marriage or the convent (the only two acceptable choices for a woman during her time) – but with nothing really in sight for her but the quickening of her pulse: no goal, no meaning to what she does, just fleeing from something that chokes her very soul.

I marveled at how the battle scenes at the end of each book escalated so meticulously and gradually and in such a masterful manner. I usually sit up, wide-eyed, at the edge of my bed, my heart racing – reading the last few chapters. The last book in the trilogy drove me to despair at four chapters in. And just when I thought the entire story is over, it appeared to be a prelude to something else, like Arden has multiple aces up her sleeve, and she knows the perfect timing as to when to draw them out – piece by piece with such dramatic flair and effect. Yet it isn’t just the pace or the plot or the historical context that spoke to me so; there were also unforgettable, clean lines that were so delightfully irreverent and defiant and unexpected – even with the usual expected narrative twist and trope – breathing new life into what may be construed as a cliched love story – yet dealt with in such an effective fashion that upends everything that came before it. What a treat to begin the year with such an extraordinary series. I think I will have to reread the entire series soon just for me to see whether there was anything I’ve missed in my first reading.

Needless to say, give yourself a treat, find these books immediately and binge read them ASAP.

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

13 comments on “[Monday Reading] The Winternight Trilogy

  1. Wonderful review! I’ve had it on my TBR list for awhile. Your recommendation has me eager to read this trilogy. I love fantasy – finally read Six of Crows and loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This has been on my list to get to for a while now! I really must get to the first book!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know how fast I can get to them, but they’re now on my list, Myra. These are all new to me, so thanks! I love the pics of you reading with all that snow & by the fire!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Looks like you enjoyed some cozy reading time! I love when a book is so great that it makes you feel as if you’re in a different world when reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, these sound great. I’m not usually into books about magic, witchcraft, and the like these days, but you make this trilogy sound so appealing to read. I’ll have to mark if for a future TBR stack. (My current one is toppling.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love when you can find a series and enjoy it in its entirety all at once.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I really enjoyed book #1 to this trilogy and I hope to get to book #2 some time this year. Those cozy photos look awesome!! Now that I live in a place where we have four seasons, I would have a difficult time going back to the south and having basically summer and cooler summer. LOL Have a great reading week, Myra!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve had The Bear and the Nightingale sitting on my kindle forever! I’m hoping to get to it when I go on vacation in a few months.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful photos! Have a great week and happy reading!💜

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m not sure I will get to this, but I am so happy that you loved the series so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Your spot in front of the fireplace looks like a wonderful place to be.

    Wishing you a great reading week

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rebecca Herzog

    I haven’t read any of these, but I loved Arden’s Small Spaces and Dead Voices books. I will definitely check these out ASAP!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: [My 2020 in Books] Favourite Books Read in 2020 – Gathering Books

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