Book Review | The Bear and the Nightingale
Title: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Genres: Fantasy, Historical
Publisher: Del Rey Books (Jan. 10th, 2017)
Summary: At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.
The Bear and the Nightingale is a magical debut novel from a gifted and gorgeous voice. It spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent.
The Bear and the Nightingale is definitely one of those books I picked up because of so many bloggers and bookstagrammers shouting their love for it. I’m happy to say that I will now be one of those people. 😂 Everything about this book was fantastic!
I was utterly enchanted by The Bear and the Nightingale. The writing was so captivating! This story is filled with such magic, whimsy, adventure, Russian folklore and fairytales. The setting is so snowy and wintry. It makes the perfect, winter read. I read this book in January and I’m so glad I did because it truly added to the experience.
Vasilisa is such a great character. She is brave, fierce, independent, and caring. She is willing to defy expectations to keep her freedom and her family safe. At its core, this story is about being true to who you are. I am looking forward to reading the sequel so very much! I want to learn more about the frost demon and can’t wait see what happens next for Vasilia!
I would recommend reading this book consistently, however, so you don’t get lost or confused by the characters, storylines, or plot twists. This book is so well done, though, that that should not be a problem at all. Once you start it, you won’t want to stop reading!
Overall, The Bear and the Nightingale is captivating and magical. I would highly recommend this one to anyone looking for a good story. Fantasy lovers will especially adore this one.