Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden


The Bear and the Nightingale

My Rating:
Written by: Katherine Arden
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Del Rey 
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
ISBN-10: 1101885939
ISBN-13: 978-1101885932
Genre: fantasy | myth | fairytale


A magical debut novel for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman’s myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.

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.

The Bear and the NightingaleThe Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale is a fable with creatures that jump right out of the classic Russian Fairytales.

It all circles around Vasilisa. Vasilisa has the ability to communicate with the mythical, fabled creatures that her family, neighbors and town have always left tribute too but never seen.

When Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow to ask the royalty for matches for his older children when he is given a wife for himself. Her new stepmother can see the same creatures Vasilisa has befriended but instead of treasuring her gifted ability she forbades Vasilisa to honor these spirits. Then the stepmother rallies with a priest to convince the village to turn from the spirit ways.

Making the spirits angry is never a good idea.

Very slow building. It finally picked up over half way through the tale which by then I was not invested.

I'm going with 3.5 stars. The heart of storytelling was there and the premise was completely my kind of read but the characters fell flat as a pancake with zero character connection. Part of me wanted to love it but it became bogged down by daily activities with an occasional snippet that would grab me.

I received this ARC copy of The Bear and the Nightingale from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine - Del Rey in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication January 10, 2017.

My Rating: 3.5 stars
Written by: Katherine Arden
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
ISBN-10: 1101885939
ISBN-13: 978-1101885932
Genre: fantasy | myth | fairytale

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bear-Nightinga...
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