The Bear and the Nightingale
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.

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Book TitleThe Bear and the Nightingale
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The Bear and the Nightingale Reviews

  • karen
    Jan 26, 2017


    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 a...

  • Sam
    Jan 25, 2017


    This is a book that perfectly fits its publication date for a New York based reader: The Bear and the Nightingale is a richly imagined novel, incredibly atmospheric, a work of historical fiction with hints of the fantastical set against the midwinter snows of rural, medieval Rus, and i...

  • Joshua Gabriel (Forever Bookish Josh)
    Jan 25, 2017

    Joshua Gabriel (Forever Bookish Josh)

    Thank you, Ebury Publishing, for sending me an ARC of this book (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.All the ancient classic fairy tales have always been scary and dark. —Helena Bonham Carter The Bear and the Nightingale was delightful to read. I've always been a fan o...

  • Hannah
    Jan 20, 2017


    Do you know that fuzzy feeling when you find a book with a world so immersive that you don't want it to ever end? This was a book like that for me. I absolutely adored it - and I am not quite sure if this review will at all be coherent, but I'll try my best.This was a book that I was s...

  • Bam
    Jan 19, 2017


    *4.5 stars! Set in medieval times in the frozen world of Rus, Katherine Arden's debut novel delivers an atmospheric, fairy-tale-style story ripe with opposing forces and tensions. The people have embraced Christianity while keeping one foot in paganistic traditions with their belief in...

  • Sarah
    Jan 16, 2017


    The best way I can describe this book is to say it's like an epic Russian fairytale. It's hard for me to give this book a rating and be happy with it though. On the one hand, it was awesome and it had lots of adventure and magic in it but on the other hand, I found it quite hard to rea...

  • Carole (Carole's Random Life)
    Jan 16, 2017

    Carole (Carole's Random Life)

    This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.I enjoyed this fairy tale of a story. I did have a difficult time really getting into the story and I am not entirely sure why. Once I became hooked on the story, I couldn't find out what would happen next fast enough. It was at tim...

  • Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads
    Jan 13, 2017

    Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads

    Reviewed by: Rabid Reads3.5 starsI added another new bookshelf to Goodreads: religious nuttersI 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 sac...

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    Jan 11, 2017

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    4.5 stars! Now on sale, as of 1/10/17. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature: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 ...

  • Sarah
    Jan 11, 2017


    Every so often a book comes along that is so good it just blows your mind. In 2014 it was Red Rising, 2015 was Uprooted, in 2016 it was Nevernight and I know it's early to say this but for 2017 it's The Bear and the Nightingale. These are the kinds of books that I actually get anxious ...