The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
(Winternight Trilogy #1)
Author: Katherine Arden
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Narrated By: Kathleen Gati
Length: 11 hours, 48 minutes
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Publish Date: January 10, 2017
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Recommend: HECK YES!
Snow White from Once Upon a Time


This book really just blew me away. I felt like I was immersed in a bunch of Russian fairytales that I didn’t know about before this, and I was honestly a little scared at a lot of it. I think the main thing to remember in this book is that not all demons are bad, despite what some people may think.

In this story, Vasilisa Petrovna is the daughter of a witch (her mother), and her mother sacrificed her life for Vasilisa to be born. I would say that her mother knew that her daughter needed to be around for the horrors to reach their village in the future, and despite not being able to help her hone into her craft growing up, could rely on her friend Duna to watch over her daughter. So I don’t think Vasilisa really knew that she had the sight, although when she came across such house spirits like the Domovoi, rather than look at them in fear, she learned how to communicate with them and befriend them.

Illustration of a Russian Domovoi

When her father comes home from Moscow with a new bride (Anna Ivanovna, a woman that is haunted by demons left and right), things start to change in the village. Who knew that the rituals of the village – respecting the Domovoi, and the others that surround the village and are in the house – was actually protecting them from the terror that lay just beyond? Since Anna feared the sight, and thought that by converting the entire village into God-fearing Christians the demons would go away, things started going terribly wrong for everyone. It was enough that the dead were walking the earth, something that had never happened in their far away village before.

I honestly loved that there was so much visuals in this novel. I know that some people may think that the story moved way too slow, and I know that there were parts where I thought it was moving slow and then something would happen and I’d be like “whoa, I wasn’t expecting that” so I liked it.

This was also very enjoyable because I got to do a buddy read on Goodreads for Coffee Break with the lovely Tahera and Mak. Thank you so much Mak for helping Tahera and I with the Russian folklore and making sure we were understanding it correctly! I think we are going to finish the trilogy together as well, so I’m excited for that.

6 thoughts on “The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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