Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale. Katherine Arden. 2017. 322 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It was late winter in Norther Rus', the air sullen with wet that was neither rain nor snow.

Premise/plot: The Bear and the Nightingale is historical fantasy set in medieval Russia. For some, that might be enough to get you curious! For others, it will take a bit more work. I'm not sure my review can do the book justice, however. Where to start? With the two chapters of prologue that do a great job of setting up the story? Or do I jump right in and tell you about the heroine, Vasya?! I really feel the less you know the better.

Essentially, The Bear and the Nightingale is historical fantasy that draws on Russian folklore and fairy tales. The struggle is between the old ways and the new, the pagan and the christian. Vasya was born with a gift--a blessing or curse, as you will--she can see the 'pagan' 'demons' (gods and goddesses that inhabit the world (in the household, in the barn, in the forest, etc.) She is not afraid of them, and actually is on speaking terms with many. But. Danger is coming, and coming fast. The BEAR has been awakened, and, he's desperate to break the bonds that Lord Winter (Lord Frost, Morozko) placed on him long, long ago. The BEAR is eager to kill Vasya before she comes into her own, into her powers, before she realizes who she is and what she's capable of. Lord Frost passes along a talisman--a jewel--to help the girl survive...but he can't provide her with courage, strength, determination, fierceness. But that she has aplenty!

My thoughts: I like fantasy novels. I like historical novels. This one was an enjoyable read to me. My only complaint--and it's a small one--is that the chapters were a little on the LONG side.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Kailana said...

I listened to this on audio and enjoyed it.