Published Date: December 5, 2017
Publishing Co.: Del Rey
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
When the first decent snow hit, it was time to pick this up. Something about reading it while it snows just adds another level of whimsy to the tale.
After the events of the first book, Vasya has decided to travel the world on Solovey. The Winter King doesn’t think this is a good idea as bad things happen to maidens who travel the big, scary world alone. But, Vasya won’t be deterred. There is nothing left in her village for her after the rumors spread that she is a witch. So she dons men’s clothing, packs up Solovey who doesn’t approve of saddles and turns her eye to the great, wide world.
Someone out there is burning villages and stealing away the girl-children, people cower in fear and the noblemen can find no trace of the bandits. Vasya and Solovey stumble across the bandit camp while running from some pursuers who tried to catch Vasya, with three girls still in their custody. They hatch a rescue plan and steal the girls back but they’re almost caught by the leader. They run until they reach sanctuary where unbeknownst to Vasya, her brother Sasha is hunting the bandits with the Grand Prince of Moscow.
With new allies at her back and her brother keeping her gender a secret, they track down the bandit camp and take their revenge. Blood spilled together cements relationships and Vasya is invited back to Moscow with the prince and his men. Here, the tale becomes more treacherous, Vasya has the prince’s ear but there are many men jealous of this and hiding her deceit becomes more difficult everyday. Her sister, now a princess, plans to marry her off as soon as people forget about her ‘handsome younger brother.’ Tied down in marriage, popping out babies has never been in the cards for Vasya but very soon, the choice may be taken away from her.
Better than the first, Vasya is becoming a headstrong woman, more confident in herself everyday. Who doesn’t enjoy a good story of a maiden disguised as a man, exploring a world they never thought they would see and out cunning criminals along the way with the help of old, forgotten gods?