2016 · 4 Stars · Adult · Book Reviews · Fantasy · Retelling · Reviewed for NetGalley

The Bear and the Nightingale │ Katherine Arden



A young woman’s family is threatened by forces both real and fantastical in this debut novel inspired by Russian fairy tales.

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift – a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, Pytor hides the gift away and Vasya grows up a wild, willful girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay.

4 stars


*I recieved an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

A Russian folktale retelling is not normally part of my normal reading genres. But on the whole I was pleased with the read. The characters were written amazingly well, and the world that they lived in was so detailed and full of life.

The book is focused around Vasilisa, who can see and speak to demons and spirits. You follow her as she struggles with life, and dealing her uniqueness.

I would say that they only downside to this book was the slow pace. There were a few times I just wanted to skip ahead and get on with the story.

I was caught unaware by the ending but thankfully I quickly learned that this is just the first book out of three that the author plans to write for this series.


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