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The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy, #1)
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2017 Monthly challenge > October Group Read Discussion - The Bear and the Nightingale

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Sara | 1508 comments Discussion is open for The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Please use spoiler tags if you are sharing any plot related surprises.

Posts should be exclusively about this book.

When you've finished, be sure to post in the October challenge: I finished! thread.


Nadine in NY Jones | 6528 comments Mod
I read this earlier in the year. I read a lot of fantasy and I wasn't expecting it to be special, but it surprised me, I ended up LOVING this book! It's been a few months now so I don't remember the details!


message 3: by Sara (new) - added it

Sara | 1508 comments Nadine wrote: "I read this earlier in the year. I read a lot of fantasy and I wasn't expecting it to be special, but it surprised me, I ended up LOVING this book! It's been a few months now so I don't remember th..."

I love fairy tales, and it was fun to read a book based on one I was unfamiliar with. I loved this book as well and am also a bit fuzzy on some of the details. Hopefully discussion will remind me :)


Jamie (belalusia) | 46 comments I also read this earlier this year and loved it!

I remember hearing it was similar to Uprooted, but really the only similarity I found was the basis in Russian folk lore. I thought the two books nothing alike in their execution. Uprooted bored me to death, but like I said, I loved The Bear and The Nightingale.

I really loved the main character, but can't remember her name at the moment.


message 5: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle | 32 comments I was also surprised by how much I loved this book! I found the mythological characters and their interaction with the world quite compelling. Interesting commentary on evangelism and the squashing of native traditions.

Very sad when the dad, you know...


Daniplx (danipx) | 12 comments I really liked this book-it helped get me out of a reading slump. I look forward to the next one in the series.


Sarah (sezziy) | 883 comments I read it last month. I loved some parts but I found some parts dragging. I guess that was just me


Mary (mjbookaddict) | 3 comments I really enjoyed this book. I hadn't read a lot of Russian fairy tales and so loved getting something new and this was told in a unique way. Loved the characters.


Allison (allysunsun) | 9 comments I'm only about a quarter of a way through this book! I've gotten behind on my reading!


Theresa | 1798 comments I stumbled on this book earlier this year while checking out NYPL ebooks available in my newly downloaded Overdrive App, and immediately put a hold on it because it just sounded so intriguing. I was not even thinking at that point whether it fit a challenge prompt. I was charmed by it. Though I agree that there were some slow sections, and then a rush at the end, but once I realized that there is at least one sequel, the pacing of the book made sense to me.

The book felt very fresh to me - not a retread of something familiar, and impressive as a first novel by a young writer. Loved Vasilisa, and her feisty nature!


Larissa Langsather (langsather) I am 86 percent done and I have mixed feelings. I know I will probably finish it tomorrow, but I am not usually a fan of fairy tales and especially not horses- the especially hard part for me is dealing with the concept of "dual belief" because that is a very fantastical idea that I can not grasp.

It is interesting that I started reading this around the time I am about to finish my kid's read aloud story The Door by the Staircase which was also a retelling of Russian folktales so I I was already familiar with the domovoi and rusalka. I have learned so much about Russian folklore which I was honestly unfamiliar with to say the least.

Vasya is actually a really fun girl to read about. She cares about her family. She is adventurous. She is certainly brave and outdoorsy. She is a nonconformist in her community. I liked her, but I didn't really identify with her especially because she was able to (view spoiler) What did the rest of you think of her?

Anna was just a big mess. She was really hard to read about because I wanted to really be compassionate and have sympathy for her but so far...nothing unless the last 50 or so pages change my mind. I was hoping the story would be more about how (view spoiler)

Like I mentioned above, the conflict in this book is basically the old folklore/fairy tale spirits and Christianity clash. As a Christian, myself, I found this a little challenging and I read it more for entertainment and not a reason to question my own beliefs. Religion itself is so personal. I may not agree with a dual belief system but it certainly seemed to work for this village until the new priest came along.

This is, overall, appears to be a fairly predictable book (but as I am not entirely done maybe I should refrain from saying so)....it certainly is not unique because it is taking some already existing Russian tales and weaving them in to create a newish type story. It reminds me of another book I read this year called Keturah and Lord Death- a young headstrong girl, woods, strange sights, spirits, fairy tale elements, royalty, lessons learned etc...

I am excited to see if there is some kind of moral at the end. I will keep you posted on my ever expanding thoughts.


Allison | 116 comments This book is available from my library as an audiobook or e-book. Which would you recommend?


Larissa Langsather (langsather) Allison wrote: "This book is available from my library as an audiobook or e-book. Which would you recommend?"

I read it, but it would be fun to hear how to pronounce some Russian words and it might be hard to keep track of all the names because of all the diminutive forms if you are more of a visual learner.


Allison | 116 comments I ended up listening to the audiobook, and it was very well done. I loved the accents. I didn't have any trouble keeping up with the characters, surprisingly, since that's one of the things I frequently struggle with listening to fiction. The other being the dialogue being awkward when the narrator reads the opposite gender, which was also not a problem.

Glad it was picked for the monthly challenge, because I really enjoyed this book and might not have read it otherwise. It leaned more toward horror than I was expecting, but in a good way. I feel like this is kind of similar to Neil Gaiman, but with a more poetic style that I quite enjoyed (although that could be partly due to the narration style of the audiobook).


Addie Dehart | 36 comments I just finished the book and really enjoyed it. I loved how atmospheric it was. I could almost feel the Russian wind. I thought it was a great book and am looking forward to reading the sequel. The only disappointment I had was the conflict between Anna and Vasya. I thought we were building up to some big battle Anna being the other side of Vasya's coin and I thought it would parallel the battle between the Bear and Morokov. But instead of a big climax in that regard it just fizzled.


message 16: by Tara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tara Bates | 1008 comments I know I'm late, mine didn't come until last week but I'm enjoying despite the fact that the misogyny is making my blood boil.


message 17: by Mike (new) - rated it 1 star

Mike | 443 comments Was a DNF for me. Just couldn't get into it.


Megan Bowder | 51 comments I finally got my copy from the library. I finished it, but it was just ok to me. I never really got into it.


message 19: by Tara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tara Bates | 1008 comments Omg Anna and the Priest are the actual worst!! I want to feel badly for her but she's just awful! It sucks that they live in such a disgusting mysogynistic, patriarchal society (you know, unlike ours) where she didn't have a choice but to marry but she's still horrible.


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