So! I have been wanting to write this post for some time but I wanted to finish the trilogy first so I could chat about it.
This series I have had on my TBR for quite some time but a few months ago I decided to finally read it.
And let me tell you: it was a great decision.
I don’t think this could be qualified as a review, but I just want to share about it, so here we are. Maybe you have heard about it, maybe you have even read it, or maybe not. Either way, I hope you enjoy this.
I’m going to ask you a few questions:
- Do you like fantasy books?
- Do you like mythology?
- Do you like morally gray characters?
- Would you like to read a book with heavy winter vibes?
- Would you like to read a book with politics and religions in a fantasy world?
- Are you looking for a fantasy book where romance isn’t the main plot?
If you answered to more of these questions with “yes” then maybe you should consider giving this series an opportunity.
Now I want to chat about the whole trilogy, doing my best to not give any spoilers while talking about some general aspects.
The first book for me had a main problem: the pacing. From what I have heard this is somewhat of a common problem. Because let me warn you: these are not easy to read, they are not quick to read and they are not light reads. That was for me, at least, but I can say it was so worth it.
Without doubt, the first book gives some hints at the romance and has some good “fighting” scenes but one of the things I liked the most was the introduction to the characters and how the author confronted religions while showing that sometimes it isn’t all about faith, or maybe it is.
The second book for me was way better from the beginning. I just felt more into it, and while the “not easy, not quick and not light” mantains through the whole series, this time I felt like more things happened and that kept me more interested.
The third and last book, which for me is maybe the best of the trilogy, doesn’t give you a moment to breath. The many plot threads that the author built in the previous books are colliding and just so much stuff happens. It was funny because I just wanted it to last while wanting to know what would happen.
Other thing that the author did great was getting me into the world. Many times we enjoy a fantasy world, but at least for me the times I feel like I’m in that world, breathing into it, living in it are very very few. From all the “problems” I might have had in the beginning, this wasn’t one of them and I just felt that way through the other two books as well, which for me is amazing.
Lastly about the series as a whole, I want to address how well the author managed the conflict between paganism and christian religion. I just felt that the conflicts, and how it was portrayed through the characters was amazingly done.
There are many interesting characters in this series. We follow Vasilisa from a very young age to becoming a woman and: what a journey it is, let me tell you. I wasn’t in love with Vasya I must say, but she was real. She made mistakes, many mistakes. She acknowledge her guilt, she tried to make amends. She suffers form a hero complex and for me sometimes she doesn’t learn the lessons from her past mistakes, but I guess you could say that’s what being human means.
The Bear and the Winter King are also two characters very important in this series. They have set characteristics but the author makes everything look so you root for one or the other. But, you end up learning that things are not black and white. They influence Vasya in many different ways, and it is very interesting how they do that, especially in the last book.
Last character I want to talk about is Konstantin who I feel embodies the best the conflict between religions, the doubts about God, the questions that don’t get answer. He also brings up many emotions from hate to pity and while you never like or love him he is a character with so much dimension.
There are many characters, Olga, Sascha, Dmitrii, Sergei, Midnight, Varvara and I could go on and on. But what I feel they all reflected very well (and praises to the author here) is human nature. That’s why I asked in the beginning of this post about morally gray characters. You may like them or you may not but I think you can’t deny that they feel real. They make real choices and show different aspects of us, humans.
Maybe this is a bit rambly, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts on this amazing trilogy and maybe if you haven’t read it, I can make you at least check it out.
To sum up:
- while this trilogy might not be easy, quick or light to read, it was definitely worth it.
- the writing is beautiful, the author absolutely got me into the world, made characters that conflicted me (love that btw) and managed to use the conflict between paganism and christian religion amazingly.
- I’m here for some characters that make me have a wide range for emotions and make me think of what I would do and doubt those choices.
Aaaaaand I think that is all for today!
Thank you so much for reading and if you want I would love to chat in the comments!