The Bear and the Nightingale
Books | Fiction / Fantasy / Action & Adventure
Katherine Arden’s bestselling debut novel spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice. “A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up.”—Naomi Novik, bestselling author of UprootedWinter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil. Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village. But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.Praise for The Bear and the Nightingale“Arden’s debut novel has the cadence of a beautiful fairy tale but is darker and more lyrical.”—The Washington Post“Vasya [is] a clever, stalwart girl determined to forge her own path in a time when women had few choices.”—The Christian Science Monitor“Stunning . . . will enchant readers from the first page. . . . with an irresistible heroine who wants only to be free of the bonds placed on her gender and claim her own fate.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)“Utterly bewitching . . . a lush narrative . . . an immersive, earthy story of folk magic, faith, and hubris, peopled with vivid, dynamic characters, particularly clever, brave Vasya, who outsmarts men and demons alike to save her family.”—Booklist (starred review) “An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale . . . The Bear and the Nightingale is a wonderfully layered novel of family and the harsh wonders of deep winter magic.”—Robin Hobb
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"This was such a great book! I loved Vasya with her wild, free spirit. I loved how she still had her two siblings who still loved her through the tough times. I liked learning about the different Russian folklore/tales throughout the story. It did have some gruesome moments, but it didn't go into real fine detail; which is fine by me! There were also sad moments in it as well that just hurt my heart. The ending was really good, and I plan on reading the next book in the series soon! 5/5 🌟 "
"I am late to the game here. Watching booktube, booktok, and whatever else, I have seen The Bear and the Nightingale mentioned many times. With good reason apparently. It is very rare to get this level of detail and commitment from an author. The Russian folklore and history was very rich and enticing. The character development and world building, just as full and vibrant. Still I will say it slows down the progress of the story but as for me I didn't mind it too much.<br/><br/>In my opinion, it was worth the slow steady pace. We get to watch Vasilisa grow from a child to a woman. A relatable and very real woman. She was wild, scared at times, courageous in others, spoiled, sweet. This book also reminded me of Daughter of the Forest but a lot less cruel. Still it is about a child and the feeling of helplessness is always prevalent.<br/><br/>From everything I've heard I was a little disappointed at first. The book was dark and eerie but not as whimsical as I'd hoped. This is where I remind you the wait was worth it. There are things in the shadows we cannot see that are brought to light in the latter half. I found the story to be enchanting and the cold barren landscape to be a must winter read by the fire.<br/><br/>Not trying to turn this into a religious debate but ever since I have started reading more and becoming more educated in different cultures, blind faith has become very worrisome to me. Following beings with no proof and mostly for their own means, well it makes for a hard to beat villainous character.<br/><br/>Even though I enjoyed this so much it still left with a lot to be desired. Information mostly. I put the seires aside for a month but still it kept getting under my skin urging me to continue. So I think I'll delve back into this haunting atmosphere in hopes that it will loosen its claws once I'm done but it's very doubtful."
"The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden 4/5 ✨ I liked the book and will continue the series. I think coming into this as I did reading a few chapters and then putting it down was the right choice. It gave it a slow cozy feel and my only gripe was the climax of the story to me was anticlimactic. "
"This book is full of magic following the life of a young witch, Vasya who can see and speak with ancient creatures and spirits. Set in Russia, she cannot openly let anyone know of her powers. Witches are not seen as good. "