The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review

Unfortunately, the latter parts of The Bear and the Nightingale shear away much of what I loved about its beginning and middle...These problems aside, The Bear and the Nightingale is a pleasure to spend time with. A rich and elegant debut...
-NPR

Synopsis

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A magical debut novel for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman’s myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.

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.

Praise for The Bear and the Nightingale

“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)

“Arden’s supple, sumptuous first novel transports the reader to a version of medieval Russia where history and myth coexist.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Radiant . . . a darkly magical fairy tale for adults, [but] not just for those who love magic.”—Library Journal

“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

“A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up.”—Naomi Novik

“Haunting and lyrical, The Bear and the Nightingale tugs at the heart and quickens the pulse. I can’t wait for her next book.”—Terry Brooks

The Bear and the Nightingale is a marvelous trip into an ancient Russia where magic is a part of everyday life.”—Todd McCaffrey

“Enthralling and enchanting—I literally couldn’t put it down.”—Tamora Pierce
 

About Katherine Arden

See more books from this Author
Born in Austin, TX, KATHERINE ARDEN has always been a wanderer. She spent her junior year of high school in Rennes, France. Following her acceptance to Middlebury College in Vermont, Katherine deferred enrollment for a year in order to live and study in Moscow, Russia. At Middlebury, she specialized in French and Russian literature, taking eight months’ study abroad in Paris and another eight months in Moscow. Having received her BA magna cum laude, Katherine moved to Maui, Hawaii, where she worked every kind of odd job imaginable, including guiding horse tours, working as a personal tour guide for international visitors, making crepes in a stand, and doing freelance grantwriting. After two years on the island, she is currently living in France again and writing full time.
Author Residence: Vermont
Author Hometown: Austin, TX
 
Published January 10, 2017 by Del Rey. 336 pages
Genres: History, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure. Fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Bear and the Nightingale
All: 1 | Positive: 0 | Negative: 1

NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Amal El-mohtar on Jan 22 2017

Unfortunately, the latter parts of The Bear and the Nightingale shear away much of what I loved about its beginning and middle...These problems aside, The Bear and the Nightingale is a pleasure to spend time with. A rich and elegant debut...

Read Full Review of The Bear and the Nightingale:... | See more reviews from NPR

Reader Rating for The Bear and the Nightingale
87%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 441 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×