The Bear and the Nightingale
January 12, 2020 7:38 PM - by Katherine Arden - Subscribe

Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales.

But for Vasya they are more than just stories because she can see the mythological creatures in the stories and talk to them. When a young priest from Russia is sent to her town, things become dangerous for Vasya, who is suspected of being a witch.

This novel is the first in the Winternight Trilogy.
posted by miss-lapin (4 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I loved this series. It’s set right at the point when orthodox Christianity as a national religion is settling in with the concept of Russia as a nation, and goes to some lengths to struggle with ideas of faith and paganism. It can’t quite make the same leaps and depths of say The Sparrow, but there are some rather beautiful passages in it. The wildness and strangeness yet familiarity of the past - I had a lot of Russian fairytale books for some reason as a child so the stories feel familiar - it’s just great. And the horses!

So highly recommended. It would be a great read for an older teenager too. Vasya and her sister - I love the way her sister’s other battles in the women’s world become important too - are such rich characters. The Priest is a fantastic antagonist because he is so awful and yet, almost he makes sense, almost he can be forgiven.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 12:26 AM on January 13 [5 favorites]


I too enjoyed this book greatly. She keeps a fairy tale tone but not at the expense of characterisation.
posted by smoke at 3:25 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Very good book, great series. I thought the third book in the series was especially impressive.
posted by kyrademon at 6:17 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Ok, this is embarassing, but I got this book as an audiobook from the library and, despite enjoying it, failed to realize its the first in a trilogy.

I now have the second in the series on hold, so thank you for enlightening me!
posted by the primroses were over at 3:01 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


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