The Bear and The Nightingale
Beware the evil in the woods. . .
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, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.
But for the young, wild Vasya these are far mo...more
This book shares the same DNA as Naomi Novik’s marvelously brillian ...more
“Tell the story of Frost, Dunyashka. Tell us of the frost-demon, the winter-king Karachun.”
This book is magical. This book is whimsical. This book is one of the best things I’ve read in my entire life. I loved this with every bone, every red blood cell, every molecule in my body. This book was nothing short of perfection, and I’m sorry to gush, but I never expected this story to captivate me the way it did.
“In Russian, Frost was called Morozko, the demon of winter. But long...more
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 captures that feeling of uncertainty and superstition ...more
Haunting. Riveting. Entrancing.
This is the sort of book that sweeps you on a journey .
"I want to save you, Vasilisa Petrovna," he said. "I will save you all. There are dark forces that you do not understand."Vasilisa "Vasya" Petrovna lives during the "old Russia" - back when fairy and folk tales were not legends.
To his surprise, and perhaps to her, she laughed.
Vasya always possessed the second sight, which made for some interesting conversations with the various creatures livin ...more
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 in the story evoked a glimpse into my past. There wasn’t anything I didn’t lo ...more
“All my life,” she said, “I have been told ‘go’ and ‘come.’ I am told how I will live, and I am told how I must die. I must be a man’s servant and a mare for his pleasure, or I must hide myself behind walls and surrender my flesh to a cold, silent god. I would walk into the jaws of hell itself, if it were a path of my own choosing. I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed me.”
So this was... unexpectedly amazing. Somehow, I went into t ...more
I would walk into the jaws of hell itself, if it were a path of my own choosing.
That was amazing.
Saving the world is always hard. It can be a challenge even when you have loyal friends and numerous supporters on your side. Then imagine how much harder it is when your own family is actively sabotaging your attempts to help. When your entire community casts you out and punishes you for doing the right thing. When they not only make your work harder, but give you scorn instead of gratitude.
Katherine Arden ...more
some might say this story was too slow, but i prefer to think of it as being patient. others might complain that there was no plot, but i saw it as being humble. and some could claim the writing was stiff, but i felt the language embodied the frigidity of long russian winters. everyt ...more
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 like a Russian fairy tale only the setting is very ...more
Vasya is an enchanting rough and tumble girl, more at home in the wild outdoors and who chafes at the limitations pressed upo ...more
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 ... ...more
When I listen to an audiobook, I'm usually doing something else that requires part of my attention (i.e. driving). For this reason, I try to keep my audiobook select ...more
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 ...more
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 nature of those powers, many believing that she's ...more
Every moment I spent reading The Bear and the Nightingale was an absolute pleasure. It was magical, atmospheric and very slow paced - so prepare yourself for that if you're going to be picking this up.
The writing was enchanting and I felt transported through words into this story.
Though this book is mainly about Vasya there are many chapters in POV of other characters and we get to know them as well. Arden gave us complex characters wh ...more
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, grows up to be a spirited and rather rebellious young girl who, like an untamed colt ...more
❝ There was a time, not long ago
When flowers grew all year
When days were long
And nights star-strewn
And men lived free from fear ❞
Once upon a time, on the fringes of Russian wilderness, in a land of harsh winters wavering between superstition and the observance of the old spirits and demons and Christianity, a peculiar girl was born. She was untamed, fey, a cacophony. She could see and converse with sprites, she talked to horses, spent her days in the fore ...more
Soberly magical; solidly whimsical; silently wild; grimly light...The Bear and the Nightingale is all of this and none of this and more. Forgive me while I go weep in my bed of snow and dream of little demons and bird-horses and winter-kings 🥺
Review to come when I'm done with the series—meanwhile, do check out the playlist (Spotify LINK) filled with magical, spooky music and Russian folk songs to get the mood.
• • • • • •
Oof. Good thing my friend lent me her copy because if I had spent my money on this – when I could have used those funds to purchase a book I actually enjoyed – I might’ve cried. YIKES!
I absolutely love Russian folklore and literature, so I was really looking forward to this!!! You can’t even imagine the disappointment I’m feeling right now. WHY?! WHY COULDN’T I HAVE LIKED THIS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE?!!! This was just so mediocre and … well, boring ...more
Full review along with a recipe for Zharkoye (traditional Russian beef stew) featured on my blog Recipe & a Read!
So, first things first in this review: I LOVED THIS BOOK. It was magical and whimsical and absolutely not what I was expecting at all. I’ve seen all the hype around this book / series, I’ve seen the fantastic reviews but for some reason I just kept glazing it over for other books. This, was a huge mistake and I wish I would’ve read it sooner because ...more
Russian fairy tales are unlike any others, in my opinion.They are not simple, ‘’happily-ever-after’’ myths, but wonderfully detailed glimpses in the daily lives of people born in times gone-by and tales that hide themes that are relevant to our era. They contain female heroines that surpass inexplicable odds and many have ambiguous closures. There is a sadness that permeates the Russian fairy tale tradition and a fierceness, a strangel ...more
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 3 sons and 1 daughter....but she was still hoping- ...more
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads
I added another new bookshelf to Goodreads: religious nutters
I 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 Catholi ...more
I kept hearing how this was so amazing and whatnot, but it was (looking back on it) slightly boring and could have been seriously condensed. By a lot of pages.
BUT. <--that's just me.
I don't dig lyrical shit all that much.
Anyway, this was set in Russia, which got my attention right away. Very cool.
So the (super-condensed) gist is that this girl, Vasya, is a bit magical and she does some helpful magical stuff to save all the ungrateful peasants.
Only it takes ...more
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. I only wanted to read the first chapter because I ...more
It started out well and somewhere down the line, in the last third part of the book particularly, I... simply lost interest.
Reread Thoughts: Yes, I am a fool. A hack. Witless. Brainless for the words I wrote two years ago. But I did enjoy this even more the second time around! On to the next!
Also, for the record, I’m surprised to see this series shelved as “Young Adult” because it doesn’t really read that way at all.
The Bear and the Nightingale is a wonderfully atmospheric story with a definite origin in the Slavic folktales. Fr ...more
|Witchy Reads Book...: Part II (21-28)||2||6||Jan 08, 2021 01:19AM|
|Witchy Reads Book...: Part II (12-20)||2||5||Jan 07, 2021 02:23AM|
|Witchy Reads Book...: Part I (1-11)||6||11||Jan 05, 2021 11:37AM|
|Goodreads România: II Iarnă || Ursul și privighetoarea (5⭐ din 3✔)||9||89||Jan 05, 2021 06:02AM|
|Winternight Trilo...: PART TWO - discussion||13||58||Nov 30, 2020 07:24AM|
|Winternight Trilo...: PART ONE - discussion||23||98||Nov 30, 2020 07:24AM|
|2021 Reading Chal...: The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight #1)||7||45||Nov 21, 2020 10:23PM|
Born in Texas, Katherine studied French and Russian at Middlebury Coll ...more