The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale

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, an...

Details The Bear and the Nightingale

TitleThe Bear and the Nightingale
Release DateJan 10th, 2017
PublisherDel Rey
Number of pages322 pages
GenreFantasy, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Fairy Tales, Historical

Reviews The Bear and the Nightingale

  • Emily May
    A beautiful, pastoral fairy tale set in a fantasy version of medieval Russia. Narrated in lyrical prose and third-person past tense, Arden weaves a tale no less compelling for its slow, gradual development. Like all the best fairy tales, the author draws on the setting - a village in the northern woods of Rus' - to create an atmosphere that promises magic and suggests many horrors. Atmosphere is the key word here: The Bear and the Nightingale cap...
  • Paromjit
    This is an atmospheric and intoxicating read that draws on history and Russian fairytales. Set in medieval times, it charts the origins of Vasya's birth and her mother's determination to have a daughter endowed with her grandmother's powers despite it meaning her death in childbirth. The novel begins with Dunya telling the story of Frost, a harbinger for what comes later. Vasya is an enchanting rough and tumble girl, more at home in the wild outd...
  • Mischenko
    Please visit our blog to see reviews and an interview with author Katherine Arden!Words cannot describe how much I cherish this book. The characters were described so well and the story was absolutely fantastic and so magical. ♡♡♡Certain parts of the story felt so nostalgic to me. It reminded me of my upbringing with my Russian grandmother and our old Orthodox Church. Matyushka, Batyushka and many of the other words ...
  • Robin Hobb
    Just finished reading an ARC of this forthcoming book. You will have to wait until 201 to get your hands on it.First, a metaphor. Have you ever been about to eat something, thinking it's flavored with vanilla and cinnamon? Then you bite into it and discover ginger and nutmeg (also favorites of mine.)This book is a bit like that. It's fantasy. Okay, I've read lots of that. It's told rather like a fairy tale. Okay, ready for that. It's told a bit l...
  • karen
    this is a stunning debut that perfectly mimics the tone of a classic fairytale, but breathes new and exciting life into the familiar themes with lyrical writing, strong characters, and by weaving in elements of russian folklore, which were mostly unfamiliar to me, and therefore fresh and exotic.quickplot first, then i will return to these three strengths in greater detail.pyotr vladimirovich is a lord in medieval rus', responsible for the well-be...
  • Elyse
    Wow.....*Stunning*!!!!Katherine Arden's lush and lovely debut novel deftly transports us to Russia in the 14th century with incredible lyricism- scents-sounds-vivid beauty-subtle intrigue- and gorgeous Russian folklore. At the start Marina is frail and weak. She has 4 children and is pregnant with her 5th. Pyotr, her husband, and Dunya, her devoted nurse, both beg Marina not to keep the baby. They are fearful she will die. Marina had given Pyotr ...
  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    4.5 stars! Now on sale, as of 1/10/17. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:In the northern lands of medieval Rus’, a daughter is born to Pyotr Vladimirovich, a boyar, lord over many lands, and his wife Marina, who dies in childbirth. But Marina, daughter of the Grand Prince of Moscow and a mysterious, swan-like beggar girl, has bequeathed her daughter Vasilisa a mystical heritage.Vasilisa the Brave (or Beautiful) Vasilisa, or Vasya...
  • Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads
    Reviewed by: Rabid Reads3.5 starsI added another new bookshelf to Goodreads: religious nuttersI preface my review with that statement, b/c it's important that you know exactly how off-putting I find anyone who uses religion as a crutch to excuse their abominable behavior. Agamemnon sacrificing his daughter to ensure favorable winds as he sails to Troy? Kill him on his own alter. Spanish Inquisitioners torturing anyone not Catholic for the glory o...
  • Cheri
    Edit 3/22: I just wanted to include this link to an interview with the author, Katherine Arden, by two of our goodreads friends (Mischenko and Stacy) who co-author Two Gals and a Book! Check it out!!! NOW AVAILABLE !!In northern Rus’ the family of Pyotr Vladimirovich are waiting out the last days and nights of winter, with rapidly dwindling food supplies gathered before the winter snows began. Marina, his wife, tells him that she is with child....
  • Hannah
    Do you know that fuzzy feeling when you find a book with a world so immersive that you don't want it to ever end? This was a book like that for me. I absolutely adored it - and I am not quite sure if this review will at all be coherent, but I'll try my best.This was a book that I was super super excited to get to read early. I love books set in Russia, especially the North of Russia; I love Fairy Tales; I love the books the blurb compared it to. ...
  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    Very unpopular opinion time because it seems everyone in the world loves this book :-/I liked certain things about the book but overall it wasn't for me. Don't know if it was the book or my mood but I'm glad there are so many people loving it. I liked the characters enough and the storyline for the most part but I don't know. Sigh ...
  • Diane S ☔
    Medieval Russia, though it is called only Rus, Russia not yet an entity, the fourteenth century, and a young woman who has inherited the sight of her Royal ancestor. Exquisitely written, brilliant and evocative imagery, fully fleshed characters and a fantastic rendering of the history of this time period, seamlessly woven with the myths and folklore of Russian lore. The first half, the cold, what can be seen by a few but not by most of the ancien...
  • Karen
    I finished this book just now on the day we got our first snowstorm here in southeast Michigan. A fitting day to read this book.I was swept away to Midevil Russia where it seemed to be always cold and snowy, and to the world of magical creatures and forests, just a great atmospheric reading experience.So, you really ought to read this, preferably this winter, you will like it!Thank you for the ARC to Random House-Ballantine, Netgalley, and author...
  • Simona Bartolotta
    *I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*3.5"I?" said Morozko. "I am only a story, Vasya."Fairy-tales and folklore, magic and snow, and an untameable “wild maiden” right out of a story. Well, colour me delighted.•The Bear and the Nightingale undoubtedly is a delicious novel. For one thing, it's cleverly written, and my friends from Russia and Belarus and Ukraina (I'm linking their reviews down ...
  • Zoeytron
    Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.In a forest dark and dense, an enormous bear awakens in the dead of winter. The bear howls, other beings shriek, while the nightingale watches but does not sing. Vasya is blessed with the second-sight, although some would warn it is more of a curse than a blessing. Mayhap she is a witch, as the sly murmurings of the town folk suggest. At any rate, it is plain to see that Vasya has magic in he...
  • PorshaJo
    Just getting to the review on this one as I had to think *how* to actually review it. I saw an early review of this book and immediately knew I had to get it ASAP. With descriptions of the Russian wilderness, Russian folklore, fairy tales, a bit of magic...I was sold. I could not wait for it and when it arrived at my library for me, I dropped everything to go and pick it up. With book in hand, I felt like a giddy school girl. The book tells the t...
  • Nastassja
    I received a copy of this book from the publisher via First to Read program. By the shore of the sea stands a green oak tree;Upon the tree is a golden chain:And day and night a learned catWalks around and around on the chain;When he goes to the right he sings a song,When he goes to the left he tells a tale.—a. s. Pushkin A learned cat's fact number 1: A book that starts with words of one of the greatest and loved Russian authors and poets. ...
  • Laura
    I cannot think of anything more fitting than reading this during winter when it’s very cold, preferably wrapped in a cozy blanket. I could hear the wind while reading making me feel like I could be in these pages where the bitter chill is constant. The setting is so clear - Medieval Russia in the north where forests are aplenty. Snow is increasingly present. The imagery is remarkable.Vasya (Vasilisa) is a spirited young girl who lives in a vill...
  • Bam
    *4.5 stars! Set in medieval times in the frozen world of Rus, Katherine Arden's debut novel delivers an atmospheric, fairy-tale-style story ripe with opposing forces and tensions. The people have embraced Christianity while keeping one foot in paganistic traditions with their belief in the spirits who aid in helping the households and farms of Rus run smoothly, the tricksters who confuse travelers and lure the unwary to their deaths and the more ...
  • Sam
    This is a book that perfectly fits its publication date for a New York based reader: The Bear and the Nightingale is a richly imagined novel, incredibly atmospheric, a work of historical fiction with hints of the fantastical set against the midwinter snows of rural, medieval Rus, and is a wonderful book to curl up with on a cold or blustery day on the couch and be utterly transported elsewhere. I was able to read this as an ARC many months ago, a...
  • Maureen
    Magical is the word that best describes this unusual tale, in every sense. I have to say that I've not read anything quite like this one, but believe me, that IS meant as a compliment.It transports the reader back to medieval Russia, to a place thick with forests and deep crisp glistening snow. It is here that we find Vasya, and her family. Vasya is a child of nature, a wild and wilful girl. She has powers that leave the villagers questioning the...
  • Angela M
    3.5 stars Fairytales, an escape to another world bearing a dose of reality, a little suspension of disbelief, may be good for the soul once in a while and Russian fairy tales are very much a part of this story . But so is a view of medieval Russia, know as Rus in the 14th century. A time when arranged marriages of the royalty cannot be refused. I really enjoyed the setting, the time and place, the beautiful descriptions of the snow and how I coul...
  • Kaora
    I had high expectations for this book after hearing it compared to Uprooted by Naomi Novik, and I am happy to say that I was not at all disappointed.The Bear and the Nightingale pulled me in immediately, with the stunning writing. I do not know a lot about Russian culture or fairy tales, but the author did a great job in making the Russian creatures and names accessible to his English readers. It presented an alternate view of creatures I knew al...
  • Dannii Elle
    I received this in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Katherine Arden, and the publisher, Ebury, for this opportunity.Based on Russian folk lore and fairy tale, this follows Vasya as she traverses her tricky world of court politics and religion. Born of a prophecy and markedly different from other young girls, speculation over how she will affect the future of her village has plagued her young life.Wild and mor...
  • Emma
    Wow. Review using proper words to follow. 26/10/16Reading this was a truly wonderful experience. The plot was a mix of the historical and fantastic, based on traditional Russian myth and folklore, and the accompanying language was suitably magical, with surprising metaphor and beautiful imagery. This debut was both accomplished and daring, offering a fairy tale experience for an adult audience without losing any of its wonder. It was something sp...
  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum about starting the New Year on the right foot. Yes, I know it’s still super-early January, but I’m going to call it now: The Bear and the Nightingale will end up being one of the biggest standouts of 2017. Katherine Arden’s glorious debut is beautiful and everything I expected—vivid, magical, and haunting. The writing is rich and evocative, and if the atmosph...
  • Candace Robinson
    This one was hard to rate. It is not a fast paced book at all, but a slow and powerful build. I really liked the beginning and the different characters, I had to get used to the characters names and how there were like all these different names for one person. When the priest comes into town, it really slowed the book down for me up until I got to about 65% on my Kindle. The book finally picks up, and I couldn't put the book down. I really wish t...
  • Emma
    3.75 stars. This was a richly imagined and evocative story set in a Russian once-upon-a-time.. I enjoyed the writing: it had that slight stiltedness that can come from a translation sometimes, although I believe it to have been written in English - maybe it's something about the inexactness of concepts from a different culture...not sure.This is the story of a village people who forget the Old Ways, forget to honour the household gremlins and chy...
  • Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
    'The Bear and the Nightingale' isn't an easy book to define in terms of genre. It's a beautiful story that weaves fairy tale with old legend and myth while holding a true, authentic feel. For part of it I thought it may be a strange romance in the end but that's not quite right. There's genuine suffering amid the legend (the author made winter frost harsh and cruel but simply awesome in its twisted way), but also a bonding and building of relatio...
  • Sarah
    The best way I can describe this book is to say it's like an epic Russian fairytale. It's hard for me to give this book a rating and be happy with it though. On the one hand, it was awesome and it had lots of adventure and magic in it but on the other hand, I found it quite hard to read at times. This wasn't a book I could sit down and devour and that's not necessarily a bad thing but I did find that reading it was a bit of work. But at the end o...