"There are no monsters in the world, and no saints. Only infinite shades woven into the same tapestry, light and dark. One man's monster is another man's beloved. The wise know that."
The Winter of he Witch was the finale to the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two instalments, but this was still by far my favourite of the series with its great conclusion to the story and wonderful culmination of events.
The impressive aspects of the previous two books such as the unique characters and interesting plot continued and developed once again. Each book in the trilogy improves on its predecessor and I found this was consistently intriguing and faster paced than the first two instalments.
I enjoyed the Winter of the Witch all the way through and thoroughly enjoyed how the climax was much larger than before with multiple conflicts arising to a greater scale. The action sequences were well written and gripping as the tension grew and greater dangers arose. There were large scale battles for the first time and they were depicted in a vivid and immersive manner. It felt epic, with an appropriate build in tension and scale from book 1 to book 3.
"Not one life lost is worth the price of my grief. Do you think that I'm a fool, that you can drip words like sweet poison in my ear? I am not your ally, monster, nor will I ever be."
I have enjoyed from the start the realism combined with the faery-tale style, with historically authentic difficulties faced in medieval Russia, such as wealth, invasion and social hierarchy. Arden created a great balance of these themes with heroism, tragedy and magic. All things that I love to read about in novels I dedicate myself too.
Historical events were wonderfully blended with fantastical elements during the key moments in the novel and continued that brilliant aspect of the story. The Russian mythological culture was expanded and played a more prominent role in this final instalment, and was one of the reasons that I love this book.
"It is not for men and women to presume what the Lord wishes. That way lies evil, when men put themselves too high, saying, I know what God wants, for it is also what I want."
The Winter of the Witch was a great conclusion to the Winternight Trilogy and has left me wishing that there was more to come. I will miss the characters and world that Arden created in the medieval setting of Russia and hope that there is a return to it one day.