Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.
I love both of these books. I love the light romance between Vasya and Morozko, I love the setting, the characters, the entire plot, the book covers, everything! I’m anxiously awaiting The Winter of the Witch release later this year. Vasya is one of my favorite female characters in a book. She’s so strong-willed, brave, caring, and honest. We need more strong, female characters in literature! Move over Bilbo! 😛
I feel like this second book was all about her having to grow up and learning how to be conscious of other peoples desires and less impulsive. She has a tougher time in this book versus the first book because she is no longer at home, no longer has a parent, and is thrown into her older brother and sisters world at court in Moscow. She must learn to behave herself and fit into the role of a woman instead of a young girl. Her brother and sister have now spent several years away from the frontier and at court and do not understand why she still behaves the way she does.
To tame her, they try and find her a husband. All the while, Vasya is trying to unravel the mystery behind all of the village burnings in the countryside and all of the young girls being kidnapped. She and Solovey, her horse, are the only ones able to track down the raiders. And she ends up catching up to her brother Sasha at a monastery but he does not want to reveal her as a female because of the gender roles of the time. It would ruin her reputation.
He ends up bringing her to court where a mysterious guy takes an interest in her, even as a male. Which makes his character very confusing and his motives unclear. I don’t want to put too many spoilers in this review because it’s a rather large piece of the plot 🙂
Anyway, this novel is all about the journey to adulthood, making the right decisions, romance, and the relationship between a girl and her horse. I think Solovey is my favorite character in these books. He’s hilarious! And is always looking out for Vasya.