I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. I really liked the first book in the series, The Bear and The Nightingale, so I was looking forward to reading this second installment. I enjoyed this book even more than the first. I was completely swept away by the story and wanted to savor every word. I honestly didn't want the story to end. This is the kind of book that made me fall in love with reading and I know that I will reading this story again in the future.
Vasya is such a wonderful character. She doesn't quite fit in with what would be expected of a proper lady. She actually spends most of this book posing as a boy. She doesn't want the life that would be expected of her as a lady. She wants to see the world and do some good. She does what is right even when those actions put her at risk.
Vasya strikes out on her own along with her trusted horse, Solovey. Solovey is quite the traveling companion and is really a strong character throughout the story. She finds villages that have been burned with many dead and their daughters taken by bandits. She sets out to find the girls of a village after some advice from one of the local spirits. One thing leads to another and she ends up seeking refuge in the same location as her brother and the Grand Prince.
It was great to see Vasya's brother, Sasha, and her sister, Olga, both have important roles in this story. Vasya's actions will not only have an impact on her own life but could also influence how people see her family members. Another character that I really enjoyed in this book was Morozko, the frost demon. He is drawn to Vasya and his feelings for her are complicated.
This book pulled me in almost immediately and never let go. There was so much excitement in the overall story. There are battles and violent scenes offset by moments of tenderness and caring. The descriptions really brought the story to life. The writing was absolutely wonderful.
I would highly recommend this book to others. This is the second book of a trilogy that really needs to be read in order because the events of the first book are often discussed. I found this book to be a simply wonderful fairy tale of a story. I can't wait to see what happens next in the trilogy!
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Del Ray directly and through NetGalley.