Good Afternoon Bookish Folk!
Today I will be sharing with you my review of The Bear and the Nightingale. This book is fabulous it has everything from its people, to the place and finally the prose! All the P’s!
A few facts about this book:
- Title: The Bear and The Nightingale
- Author: Katherine Arden
- Narrated by: Kathleen Gati
- Series: Winternight Trilogy (Book One)
- Published by Cornerstone Digital
- Pages: 464
- Narration Length: 11 hrs and 48 mins
Here are a few things you can expect from this book:
- A wonderfully enchanting and magical story set in old world Russia;
- A real and authentic heroine;
- One of the most atmospheric reads you could possibly immerse yourself into; and
- An expert storyteller.
On to the full review…
I picked up The Bear and the Nightingale on a bit of a whim, on both counts of actually purchasing it and when I chose to listen to it. The audiobook was in a deal so I picked it up really cheap, then I knew I wanted to read it in and around Christmas but I never found the time to. Until I found myself between audiobooks and not really feeling anything too serious having just read Gardens of the Moon, and trust your brain needs an easier read after that. So, I thought I would try The Bear and the Nightingale and if I didn’t click with it I would drop it like a hot potato and move swiftly on. That didn’t happen. I was suckered into this book almost immediately. Every moment in this tale was pure magic, to the point that when I went to bed that night I found where I was in the book and carried on reading on my Kindle. Then the next day, after I FINALLY went to sleep it picked it straight back up and continued listened to it. It was so enchanting and easy to love that I couldn’t help but want to return to the book immediately. It was just such a pleasure to read and become immersed in.
This book is described as ‘atmospheric’ EVERYWHERE, and you can be sure if you talk to someone about it and/or how they felt about the book then the word will inevitably be used to describe The Bear and the Nightingale. Which I cant fault because it really is. Arden has managed to create such an atmospheric read in numerous ways. The setting of this book heavily informs the mood of this book, it is Old Russia and it has some of the coldest and harshest winters, you feel the crisp air on your face as you read. Most of The Bear and the Nightingale is set within the confines of a village led by Vasya’s father and yet it does not feel confined, Arden expertly uses their home and towns locations to keep you from getting bored.
Arden is an incredible storyteller, her writing flows beautifully and she sets the tone perfectly and creates so many different mood levels evoking so many feelings from you as a reader while the subverting your expectations too, I didn’t feel like this tale was as predictable as fairy tales often feel.
I can not praise Arden enough for her skill in character creation, Vasya was incredible, as where the other characters from her brothers, step mother, father, sisters, priest and more. They were a tough bunch brought up through harsh winters and a harsher world. You truly cared about what they wen through, hell I felt for the town as a whole, I wanted to fix what was broken and restore this town and its people to what it was.
The Bear and the Nightingale feels like a rare and precious gem, it is not defined by its genre and feels refreshing and magical. This book is perfect as a bit of a pallet cleanser, for lack of a better phrase, it is everything you need to pull you from a slump or just lift you spirits a little as a reader. It was perfect in my eyes, it has a wee bit of an uneven pace at times but I really didn’t care because I was swept away by the house spirits and the fight of an incredible character to find her place in a world not meant for her.
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If I could find this in HB it would be on my shelves! Alas it is only PB, but still this if a full rating, 5/5 stars on Goodreads and BUY THE HARDBACK on my rating system! Hell, I would love an illustrated edition of this!