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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Series: According to her Goodreads page, it's part of a series but it isn't marked as one.
Genre: Retelling/Russian Culture/Adult
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: January 10th, 2017
Edition: Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Source: NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon US | Kobo | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | iBooks | BAM



Synopsis:
     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.


Review:

This. Book. Is. Amazing.

It took me nearly a month to read it, I haven't had a whole lot of time to read this past month. Between the Holidays and other family stuff, I just didn't have the time to read I've wanted.

The setting of this book is far different than any other book I have read. I don't know why I hadn't read any books based on Russian folklore before, but I am so glad that this was my first one. The setting felt like it could be real. It was beautifully written and the characters were great as well.

I had a little bit of a hard time with this book as I didn't know how to pronounce any of the characters names, and I've heard the AudioBook is great, I listened to a sample of it, and I think that I might get a 30-day free trial of Audible and get the audio of this book. Because that sample was great, and it pronounces everything the way it's supposed to be.

I am also having difficulty really describing this book. I don't want to spoil anything, and I want to gush about this book. But it's hard without giving things away or repeating myself saying how great this book is. As I mentioned, I didn't really have the time I wanted to, to read this book. But whenever I did have the time I completely fell into the story.

Most of the "meat" of the story takes place during winter, so maybe reading it during that time will help get into the story. I was kind of trapped at my apartment all last week because it snowed, and the city I live in isn't prepared to handle it. So everything was kind of closed down and all the sidewalks and the entire parking lot was a massive sheet of ice. I used that time to finish reading this. Went from about 20% in, to finishing it last night.

This is a must read book. This book has inspired me to seek out other Russian folktales, and their retellings.

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