"The Girl in the Tower" is a cozy, fantastical masterpiece. It's been a long time since I've read a book that felt this magical. Vasya is a heroine I wish I'd grown up with - fierce and fresh. She is equal parts wisdom and naivete, and this installment of her adventure sees her navigating the treacherous gender politics of medieval Russia.
The setting of medieval Russia has a feeling of familiar, old magic flowing through it. Personally, this second book had the strongest historical feel to me of the three novels (The Bear and the Nightingale, The Girl in the Tower, The Winter of the Witch). I loved the complex struggles of Vasya and her relatives as they try to find their place in the rigid gender and political/religious structure of Moscow. It's a riveting, intriguing story, much faster paced than the first book, and thrilling in its own, quiet way.