Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: January 10th, 2017
This book captivated me from the first page.
I’ve always been a sucker for fairy tales, and the Bear and the Nightingale is a beautiful, magical mix of Russian fairy tales set in a fantasy version of medieval Russia. It tells the story of a young girl named Vasya, the daughter of a Northern lord, who is too feisty and wild to fit the standard of young women at the time. The entire book spans the first sixteen years of her life, while she comes of age and comes to terms with her special ability to see the mythical creatures that protect her father’s lands.
This book is lovely and atmospheric; a perfect winter read for curling up in a heated blanket while the temperature drops outside.
The characters themselves were fascinating, from the spirited Vasya to the cruel (and sometimes kind) frost-demon, Morozko. The tense is third-person omnipresent, which is a unique way of being exposed to multiple thoughts and perspectives. Each character had their own voice and was intriguing in their own way.
The prose is beautiful and whimsical without being too purple, and it sweeps you along from beginning to end. I found myself unable to put this book down, and I can’t wait to read more from this author.