The Bear and the Nightingale
A NovelBook - 2017 | First edition.
"A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up."--Naomi Novik, bestselling author of Uprooted
Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse's fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.
Then Vasya's widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya's stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.
But Vasya's stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village's defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed--to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse's most frightening tales.
Praise for The Bear and the Nightingale
"Arden's debut novel has the cadence of a beautiful fairy tale but is darker and more lyrical." -- The Washington Post
"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)
"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
"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
From Library Staff
Set during the deep Russian winter, this is a fairy tale full of forest spirits and real-world struggles. Compelling, original, and menacing. Publisher’s Weekly calls it “an earthy, beautifully written love letter to Russian folklore.”
VaughanPLKim Feb 09, 2017
This wonderfully written tale combines elements of magic, fantasy, and Russian folklore. Katherine Arden's description of the winter landscape is so vivid it is easy to imagine yourself in the snowy forests of medieval Russia. The pacing was slow at times but the ending is worth it. I look forwar... Read More »