Thursday, December 29, 2016

Friday 56 and Book Beginnings: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

This is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice
These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.

Please join us over at RoseCityReader every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

     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.

Book Beginning:
It was late winter in Northern Rus', the air sullen with wet that was neither rain nor snow.
What an opening.

My 56:
Vasya did not know what to say. She stammered something. Her father and Alyosha dismounted in Kolya's wake. Pyotr's urgent glance darted from her, to Seryozha, to Ogon and Mysh. "Are you alright, Vasya?" he said.
What? I am so confused. 


  1. I love "the air sullen." That definitely sets a mood! The cover is gorgeous, too. I hope you enjoy the story.
    My Friday post features Náápiikoan Winter.

  2. I have a feeling a friend of mine would absolutely love this one - I'll have to remember to mention it to them! :)

  3. I read Vassa in the Night just a few weeks ago and it is also a retelling of Vassilina the Beautiful. Small World! My Friday Quotes

    1. I had no idea this was a retelling. I'll have to check out the original story soon.

  4. This is lined up to be my weekend read! I'm looking forward to it.

  5. Oh that beginning is wonderful! I know just what she means by sullen air!

  6. I am fascinated by Russian stories....and now I am very curious about this one. Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “THE MISSING”

  7. You have me piqued. Wishing you the best in 2017!

  8. Such a beginning! I'd love for you and your readers to checkout my BB & 56 . . .

  9. The writing just sucks me right in. I must check this one out. Sounds fabulous!

    My Friday 56 from Guarded

  10. Starting out with the weather sets the tone. The 56 part does sound confusing. I hope you get it sorted and enjoy it.

    1. So many names that I have no idea how to pronounce, and I don't know who any of those characters are either. It'll most likely be explained throughout the book.

  11. I love the imagery of that opening line - "sullen with wet that was neither rain nor snow." It opens with a heaviness that I can almost feel. Happy reading!

    eli @ the (book) supplier
    My 56