Author: Katherine Arden
Publisher/Publication Date: Del Rey; January 10, 2017
Source/Format: First to Read; eARC
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Synopsis from Goodreads...
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 by Katherine Arden is one of my most anticipated 2017 releases. I was very excited to finally start this one and wasn’t disappointed with what I read. The Bear and the Nightingale was a fantastic book. It is my new favorite thing. The writing was descriptive and atmospheric. The story, while slow to begin, was ultimately engaging and compelling, and the setting gave the book a fairytale like ambiance. I’ve come to the conclusion that The Bear and the Nightingale was just my kind of book.
The characters, well, there were some that I just didn’t enjoy reading about as much as others, but for the most part, they were great. Vasilisa was the main character of The Bear and the Nightingale. This was her story and it showed. I liked her personality. Most of all, I liked how she was just herself despite all that happened to her. Also, the horses—I won’t get into their role too much since it would be a spoiler, but they were fantastic and I loved them.
I think what I liked most about this book was the pace of the story. Typically, if a story moves too slowly it runs the risk of losing my interest. The Bear and the Nightingale was far from boring. This story had layers of detail found in the folklore and traditions. It had a lot going on, both in the character’s everyday lives, and the story that slowly unfolded around them. Religion and faith was one of the more prominent elements of the story, and I did like how it was incorporated into the lives of the characters.
The Bear and the Nightingale isn’t that short of a book, but I felt like it flew by so quickly. It was easy to get lost in the story, and those are the best kinds of books in my opinion. By the time the book ended, I was already wishing for more. I’m really impressed with this book, and I’m definitely going to continue on with this series.
This copy of the book was provided by First to Read (Publisher) for this review, thank you!