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The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine…
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The Bear and the Nightingale

by Katherine Arden

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Winternight (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2681249,058 (4.11)143
  1. 40
    The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (Iudita)
    Iudita: Beautifully written and based on folklore.
  2. 20
    Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente (flying_monkeys)
    flying_monkeys: Both read like novel-length fairy tales based on Russian folklore. Both embrace their cold, wintry setting to superb effect.
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» See also 143 mentions

English (123)  Dutch (1)  All languages (124)
Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
Vasya is the younger daughter, and youngest child, of Pyotr, a Russian boyar, and his wife Marina, daughter of the Grand Prince. Her mother dies at her birth, and Vasya is growing up wild and willful--and the beloved image of her mother. She'd rather roam the forest than learn to cook, and learn to understand the magical creatures of forest and hearth than learn needlework.

Pyotr worries about his youngest child, and even more so when a visit to Moscow to find a new wife to be her stepmother. His new wife is Marina's cousin, but very different, frightened of the things she sees in the corners of the house. In addition to a new wife, Pyotr has a frightening encounter with a frightening man of magic, who gives him a pendant for Vasya. He gives it to her nurse to give to her later, and she puts it aside to give it to Vasya when she is grown.

What neither of them knows is that the Frost King will be watching, and so will his brother, the Bear.

Their old priest dies, and a new priest comes from the capital, a young man burning with fire to stamp out the "sinful" old ways of tending to the creatures of the hearth and the woods that are older than Christianity. As he preaches against them, Vasya is learning to know and understand them better than anyone has, perhaps ever. The magic creatures start to wither and fade, and Vasya supports them as well as one girl can, keeping them alive and working for her family and the village.

But strange things are happening in the village, and Vasya is getting a reputation for being a witch. And Vasya's frightened stepmother is easy prey for preaching of the new priest.

The new priest isn't getting his guidance and inspiration where he thinks he's getting it.

This has the rich and layered feel of a an old folk tale told by a good storyteller. Vasya is smart and tough and likable and kind. It's a very rewarding read.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
While this novel was immensely readable, the story was slow to get going; I felt like the first two-thirds of the novel was building up to the main story, and that the central characters didn't really come into their own until then. That's forgiveable because this is the first of a trilogy. I also didn't really know which direction the story was headed, which was (mostly) refreshing. It had the unexpectedness of a real fairy tale. This was a good book to read on a cold winter's day, and I'm looking forward to the next one.
  aratiel | Sep 5, 2018 |
i had some issues with the pacing but otherwise A ( )
  ireneattolia | Sep 3, 2018 |
I really enjoyed this book. Russian fairy tales are quite interesting and remind me a bit of Indian folklore stories. For anyone intrigued to dabble with fairy tale fantasy. ( )
  Chelz286 | Aug 26, 2018 |
I loved this book. Hell, I don’t even know what to say about it except I want to gush. I read this in 24 hours and I can tell you that it was completely worth it.

My poor heart is aching.

It is such a beautiful, heartbreaking story that grabs you and never lets you go. There is not a single character I hated (well, Konstantin aka Frollo cause it’s practically impossible to like him). Every character was fleshed out and you felt for them, you knew them, you grew attached and worried about them.

The prose is lovely and atmospheric. Even if right now the heat is sweltering, through Arden’s words I traveled to a wintry Russia full of mystery and snow. It’s so easy to dive into the world and the story and want to stay there forever, to the point that you will resent anyone that tries to distract you.

I loved the lore, the commentary on women’s lives during this era, the familial bonds that tied the story together... I loved it all. ( )
  lapiccolina | Aug 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arden, KatherineAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hunt, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
By the shore of the sea stands a green oak tree;
Upon the tree is a golden chain:
And day and night a learned cat
Walks 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
Dedication
To my mother
with love
First words
It was late winter in northern Rus', the air sullen with wet that was neither rain nor snow.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift - a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, Pytor hides the gift away and Vasya grows up a wild, willful girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay-- Provided by publisher.
Haiku summary
Don't get lost in the
woods: they're cold and all sorts of
foul creatures hunt there.
(passion4reading)

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"In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift - a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, Pytor hides the gift away and Vasya grows up a wild, willful girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay"--… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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