Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers – and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever and determined to spread chaos. Caught at the centre of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders.

This is the final book in Katherine Arden’s Winternight trilogy, which began with The Bear and the Nightingale back in 2017 and continued with The Girl in the Tower last year. Arden’s trilogy has been a fascinating trip through Russian history and myth, combing the two with a magical atmosphere, a fascinating protagonist and thrilling life-or-death moments.

Vasya is one of my favourite book characters of the last few years. It has been a joy watching her grow from the uncertain child of the first book to the strong and determined young woman of The Winter of the Witch. Nevertheless, she continues to struggle, caught between two worlds, to find a place she can really belong.

It is this conflict between the two worlds that gives such magic to Arden’s books. Russia is changing as its religion becomes more regimented, confined to churches and led by priests, but the old religion persists in half-seen creatures guarding the homes of those who still believe in the old ways. It is an intriguing mix of Christian and pagan, of magic and faith.

Arden’s writing is beautiful and atmospheric, whether she’s writing about impossible acts of magic or describing the cityscape of Moscow. Real characters and events from history are combined seamlessly with Russian myths and fairy tales.

This was a fantastic end to a brilliant trilogy – with a satisfying ending that will both lift your spirits and break your heart – and I highly, highly recommend it.

Many thanks to Penguin for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.