The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1)

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1)

by Katherine Arden


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The Bear and the Nightingale 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. It reminded me if the Seven waters books and I liked the emersion into the Russian folktale
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Masterfully woven with fire side tales in a larger story. Fantastic imagery brings Fifteenth centuy Rus' to life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lots of initial promise but so unbearably slow! I'm at the halfway point and I can't stand to read anymore. Painful mistakes by pretty much all the characters drag things on then suddenly there are vampires! I'm not saying this kind of tale with brownies and such can't have vampires, but it basically jumped the shark for me. Not sure I will finish this, certainly not going to read the next, and totally regret spending the money on it (even though it was on sale).
LadyGraymalkin More than 1 year ago
This was an enchanting first novel. Russian folklore/fairytale retellings are under explored territory in my experience as a reader. (Although strangely I am reading two this week.) This book did something amazing in my opinion. The setting perfectly evoked a bleak and frigid Russian winter, while allowing the characters to be vibrant and warm and full of life. I don't want to get into spoiler territory, but I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes fairy tales, Russia, or well written books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a great book. If you like fairytales and fantasy I highly recommend it. There are many words in russian which I found a bit off putting because I didn't know what they meant but there was actually a glossary at the end of the book, so once I discovered it it was quite helpful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of those books you don't want to put down and keep thinking about when you're not reading it. Excellent.
seayomama More than 1 year ago
“Blood is one thing. The sight is another. But courage—that is rarest of all, Vasilisa Petrovna.” The Bear and the Nightingale is the most brilliant fantasy novel I’ve seen since Tolkien wrote, and I want you to understand how different, how special it is. I received my copy free in exchange for an honest review—and those of you that read my last two reviews know that this privilege has never made me obsequious. Thank you Net Galley and Random House Ballantine for the advance copy. It’s worth its weight in spun golden magic, and it will be available to the public this Tuesday, January 10, 2017. “The brave live…The cowards die in the snow.” Our protagonist is Vasilisa, affectionately known as Vasya; she’s an adolescent with many talents, some of which are supernatural. She generally keeps these abilities to herself, lest she be called a witch. Her father, Pyotr, is a minor prince in the frozen Northern hinterlands of Russia during the 14th century. The setting here is mesmerizing, and from the first page I understood that this particular story is one I would save for late nights when my family is asleep. Let my other reading be interrupted by the minutiae of running a household, but not this one. This is a juicy tale, perfect for a cold winter night burrowed beneath the quilts. I open this magical tale and am lost inside it. Our setting is ancient Northern Russia, then known as ‘Rus’, since no central government had formed yet. This is a time when women carry about as much social worth as a poker chip or livestock, and yet as the story progresses, I realize that this is a stand-up-tall feminist folk tale of the highest order; in fact, it’s a lot of things. This is the sort of debut that most likely causes writers like Harper Lee to go back in the house and never publish anything else, lest the second novel be considered a let-down after the first. I hope, however, that we’ll see a lot more of Arden. Our story commences in the house of Pyotr, a minor prince whose wife has died in childbirth. He loved Marina dearly, but as his daughters grow closer to marriageable age, he knows he must go to Moscow to seek a new bride to run his home, and marry his elder daughter Olga to a man of wealth and power. And though Olga’s match is a good one, it’s in Pyotr’s remarriage that things go badly wrong. A brief note about the setting and other details involved with time and place. First know that this story does require a relatively high literacy level; for those that struggle with a high vocabulary level, it may prove to be more work than fun. However—for those reading digitally especially—please note that there’s a glossary at the back of the book. And those that are able to read this digitally on a device with a touch screen will be happiest of all, because it’s so easy to touch a word and get a definition immediately. I also ran a few searches due to curiosity, since I was not at all eager for this book to end. I took my time with it, and while I was buried in this magical world, I was nevertheless learning details of history and geography that I hadn’t known before. Because I taught teenagers how to write for a number of years, it’s my natural inclination, even in an absorbing story such as Arden’s, to go back and look again to see what specifically produced this alchemy. Undoubtedly, the development of multiple characters in a deft, expert manner is essential. There’s not one character in this story that I don’t believe. Every last one o
Jamie B More than 1 year ago
I went into this novel knowing that it was a fairy tale retelling, but what I got was an incredible dark pastoral fantasy woven together with dozens of Russian myths. The Bear and the Nightingale was a pleasant surprise and a pleasure to read. The world building in this book is absolutely phenomenal. The setting is historic Russia bursting at the seams with supernatural elements. The world is full of demons and other spirits, each with their own beliefs and ways of life. I liked that even though many of the spirits were kindly to Vasya, they all weren’t necessarily good in the way you would expect. Some were even a little bit frightening and not all that friendly toward humans. It truly felt like the world had a certain order that was much bigger and centuries older than humanity. The atmosphere was fantastic and I got a real sense of the unknown while reading. Vasya, eventually dubbed the Wild Maiden, really was spirited and free and I loved her character. The characters in this book are extremely complicated and well developed. I got a real sense of family reading about the Petrovna children. The priest Konstantin was also a fascinating character, he becomes Vasya’s foil and he gave me some serious Claude Frollo vibes. Even though he was frustrating and obviously a negative force for Vasya, I almost liked his character in a way and wanted him to be corrupted, which was what made the book and its characters so brilliant. The two represented the central conflict of the story: religion. The gradual shift from the mythical Slavic tradition of old to the new religion blazing a trail across Eurasia: Christianity. The clash between religions was the driving force of the story and it was phenomenal from start to finish. I know that it’s still early to call it, but this might just end up being one of my favorite books of the year. I was shocked to find while writing this that The Bear and the Nightingale is the first in a planned trilogy. I’m not entirely sure where the story can go from here, but I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on the series in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't remember the last time I've so thoroughly enjoyed a book! Highly recommended to those who enjoy a little fantasy in a tale... even better if you're a horse-lover.
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
The Bear and the Nightingale (Hardcover) by Katherine Arden Looking into fairy tales and discussing their elements and merits with second graders changing your focus when reading this Russian tale. I like that she chose specific translations of the Russian names not only because of their beauty but because of the exotic image they give the text. Looking at the characters and their names is only the beginning of the story. I love the cultural elements within the story, the ideas of death, winter, and symbols like the bear and the nightingale. This book is a great introduction to Russian fairy tales, and is a great Young Adult intro into adult fairy tales and would compliment many series of Fairy Tale stories, like those written by Robin McKinley.
Sarai Samos More than 1 year ago
I appreciate the fantastic books hope you come up with more ideas soon !!!!!!
gaele More than 1 year ago
I wasn’t entirely sure what I’d find in the pages of this book, but I am so very glad that I went on and explored. The exhaustive research into folk and faerie tales from the Slavic world is impressive, and resonates on each page. This book is not a rush to the finish story, but often hesitates and stalls, allowing the descriptions their time to shine, and imbuing readers with that sense of being there, enmeshed in the cold, as the pages turn. A mix of historic fiction and faerie tale, Arden spends much of the book in explanation and family history for Vasilia, the heroine, and much of the information serves to highlight the source of her unusual powers and the conflicts that will come to be hers as benevolent and not so forces combine to test, task and strengthen her. Told in multiple perspectives, some working better than others, the head jumping does take effort for the reader, but as the story is moving slowly, these moments often serve to flush out a visualization and allow the moments to grow exponentially, fixing the images in mind and place. Like all faerie tales, there are decidedly good and bad characters, and Arden has managed to place shades of grey in there, allowing choice and intention determine the outcomes. Wholly engaging and immersive, you expect to look out the window and see nothing but snow and trees as far as the eye can see. The first of three planned novels that combine Slavic folk and faerie tales with fiction and a perspective that is wholly her own, Arden is an author to watch for those readers who enjoy a slower-paced story that arrives with a solid feel of new and different. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just started up reading again and this was a perfect choice read the whole thing in only a few days!!!
apeape More than 1 year ago
Lush, gorgeous prose with its feet planted firmly in Russian folklore. If you like fairy tale retellings and/or magical realism, you'll love this book. I can hardly wait to read the next in the series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it
Lisa_Loves_Literature More than 1 year ago
I am usually a pretty big fan of fairy tale retellings, especially when it is one like this was blurbed to be, a not so well known Russian tale. I was lucky enough to win an advanced copy through a Goodreads giveaway. However, when I first began this, I was afraid I wasn't going to finish it. It took me a bit to get into it. In the end though, I'm glad I stuck it out, as it turned out to get really good, and so hard to put down! The story is about the winter demon basically. At the beginning, the mother of the family goes off to the woods, and swears that she will have a baby like her own mother was. Her mother was part royalty, but also had some kind of unusual ancestry. And when she has this child, she dies in childbirth, and the new child is odd. This new little girl is named Vasilisa. Vasilisa doesn't behave like a normal girl would, she enjoys playing outside and stays outside. She also acts like she sees the little creatures that are part of the Russian folklore. Well, she really does see them, even some of the dangerous ones that she is able to help save some of the townfolk from. When her father travels into Moscow, he ends up with a wife, and soon after that, a new priest. A priest who wants to force the backwards village people to give up all of their old ways and "false idols" to worship only the one true god. But in doing so, the villagers lose their protection against the winter demon and soon bad things start to happen. The winter gets really bad. Very large wolves begin attacking. And the people begin to turn on Vasilisa, believing she must be a witch because she doesn't give up the old ways. All kinds of things are tried, her stepmother even tries to send her away when her father is not there, wanting to get rid of her, and the attention that the priest seems to be giving to Vasilisa instead of the stepmother. The stepmother has always seen the creatures, and thinks they are demons and that she is going crazy when she sees them. There is so much more to this story. Vasilisa will have to go back into what her mother did to bring her into this world, and she will discover her own connection to the winter demon, and why she can see all these creatures. She will also have to figure out if there is a way she can help her people, basically save them, when it seems the person they have now turned to for their salvation, is the one that has brought the devil into their midst. Like I said, it took me a while to get into, about a fourth of the way before I was to the point of having trouble putting it down. But halfway through I was at the point that I could barely put it down to go to work or bed or anything else. If you have the patience for the slow beginning build up, the payoff is totally worth it in the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful first novel. I love how Ms Arden developed the mental pictures of the "demons" that Vasya grew to see, and how she made me see them. The family dynamics were beautifully presented. Now I find this is one of a trilogy ... onto book two and I'll patiently wait for book three in Jan 2019.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms. Arden wrote an beautiful story.
18876111 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the story, the characters, the elements of fantasy, and how the setting was so atmospheric. This book was a refreshing read for me and I can't wait to read the second book.
eclecticbookwrm More than 1 year ago
Arden had me at Russian fairytales and Jack Frost. I loved every minute of it. The beginning lulled me into a sense of security. Yes, OK, fantasy. This is very familiar territory. And the setting and characters and world just became more and more real until I was breathless waiting to see what would happen next. This book is magic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The spirits and folklore seemed so real, and the family connections were moving.