Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Series: Winternight Trilogy #1
Publisher: Del Ray
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
I am going to be honest here. This is yet another one of those books I picked up to read not knowing a dang thing about it. I had the ARC and then I received the ARC for the 2nd book, and decided to move it way up my reading list. I also kept hearing about it. I was intrigued and wanted to find out why everyone was recommending the book.
The cover is really pretty too.
So it turned out this book is kind of a historical fantasy novel. You have a girl who lives during the time period where a more Christian based religion is becoming popular in Russia and the old ways are being pushed out. And it is the pushing out of the old ways that is the basis of the story and what causes a lot of things to happen.
Our main character, Vasilisa, is not a super pretty girl and she is a strange girl She gets up to mischief a lot and has abilities that not many other have. Her mother died giving birth to her and eventually her father remarried a women who did not want to be married in the first place. This causes a lot of problems for Vasilisa...it is actually a huge factor in what happens in the story.
I am being very vague on purpose. I don't really know how to describe what goes on in this book without giving away too much and accidentally giving you a spoiler.
But what I can tell you is this, this book reads like a fairy tale. And it has a lot of fairy tale (especially Russian) fairy tale elements within the story. It is actually quite a fun and magical read. I enjoyed it a lot.
I did find that this book read a little slower for me, but it wasn't a bad thing per say. It was like my brain was taking extra time to process and picture the story as I was reading it so that it got the elements down correctly.
Character wise, I found the priest to absolutely vile. Katherine Arden wrote him pretty wonderfully. Actually I think she wrote them all pretty well, but he sticks out the most. Probably because every time he was mentioned I could feel my skin crawl with repulsion.
And I felt like I kind of learned a bit about Russian fairy tale and lore too, which is always an excellent thing to happen when you read. Especially when you don't really realize it is happening.
I definitely enjoyed it and I am super happy I made it a priority read. And I will be reading the rest of the series for sure!
This review is based on an eARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts are mine and mine alone.