Katherine Arden (Author)

The Bear and The Nightingale

(4 customer reviews)


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Beware the evil in the woods. . .

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, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.

But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods. . .

Atmospheric and enchanting, with an engrossing adventure at its core, The Bear and the Nightingale is perfect for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

Now with over 100 5* reviews, readers are spellbound by this magical story:

‘This book stayed with me, I didn’t want it to end’

‘A beautifully written story’

‘An entrancing story, which swept me up from the very first chapter’

‘Full of magic’

*Make sure you’ve read all the books in the Winternight Trilogy*
1. The Bear and the Nightingale
2. The Girl in the Tower
3. The Winter of the Witch

Additional information

Format Hardcover
ISBN-13 9781785031045
Release Date 12 January 2017

4 reviews for The Bear and The Nightingale

  1. farhamohd (verified owner)

    Oh, this was such a good read! Chapterone bookstores sent this book with really thorough packaging so I got the book intact. This edition also has been exclusively printed by Chapterone bookstores, I believe? You’ll notice that the spine and lettering on the jacket is red when on the original hardcovers they were orange but they’re gorgeous either way so no complaints there! The delivery took some time but thats no fault of theirs since DTDC have always been slowpokes in my area. Suffice to say, I am completely satisfied with this product!


    Okay, full transparency here. I went into this book nearly blind. I picked it up after seeing it doing its rounds on Instagram (how could I not, with that gorgeous cover? ). If you want an example of how clueless I was here it is: I thought it was another retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

    Can you honestly blame me ? The number of fairy tale retellings have been burgeoning lately and the title of this book just seems like another literary allusion. But I do prepare myself by skimming a few reviews before diving in. Funnily enough I still dont realize that it isn’t beauty and the beast. Now it’s just beauty and the beast with cute woodland creatures.

    La da da daaaa.

    Cue me actually reading the novel and having all my assumptions smashed with the hammer of knee jerking realization. This isn’t another of those fairytale recyclings. Hell calling this “another” is a gross understatement. Maybe it does use folktales as a base but it combines them to draw a completely new story, one with a relatable feisty heroine and yes, cute woodland creatures.

    There’s a gorgous atmosphere built in the book. The characters are in a world that feel uncertain, caught in between something both real and unreal. Katherine Arden weaves magic on yhe pages, a haunting wintery setting filled with fairy tale elements, of folkstales gone both right and wrong. At a cusp of change, when religion is the primary belief but old traditions and superstitions abound, where spirits both curse and protect and demons still prowl in the dark. This is when our story takes place.

    Vasya is a troublemaking naive girl who seems like a child birthed from the very forest. A wild little thing who finds adventures and spirits and magic all in the same breath. You watch her grow as a character and fall in love with her as the story goes on; like a forest sprite whose found her way into the world of men and cannot do with the place shes given there. For the only options a woman has is to devote her life to her husband and children in her marraige home or to devote herself to a god in a convent. And for Vasya who has been progressively been treated terribly by her stepmother and thus longs for nothing but to be free and to see the world? Nothing could terrify her more. Her character arc is compelling and a major driving force in the book.

    All my life,” she said, “I have been told ‘go’ and ‘come.’ I am told how I will live, and I am told how I must die. I must be a man’s servant and a mare for his pleasure, or I must hide myself behind walls and surrender my flesh to a cold, silent god. I would walk into the jaws of hell itself, if it were a path of my own choosing. I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed me.”

    Vasya is surrounded by excellent side characters, some you want to swaddle and cuddle with and others you want to throw out of your window. And then there are the ones in between the ones by all means you should spurn but cant help but feel sympathetic for. Vasya’s stepmother is brilliantly created, so well written that even after everything is said and done, you still feel sorry for her. Unfortunately I cant say the same for the priest who touches a nerve and makes me want to smash his head with a frying pan.

    I wonder why ?

    Ah yes, a man who uses religion for his own ends and glory and who cannot mind his own goddamn business.That makes sense. No wonder I hate him.

    The Bear and the nightingale is a fairytale; dark, magical and like any good fairytale; with lessons in it. I usually don’t understand themes and parallels and whatnot when I read. I’m one of those heathens who read just to enjoy the moment. But this one hit a lot close to home. What happens when someone uses the cornerstone of your beliefs as a weapon? What happens when religion is used to oppress ? What happens when ou choose one religion as the normal and anyone who has beliefs in any other is persecuted?

    Does any of this sound familiar?

    There is unparalleled tragedy in watching Vasya’s world crumble and her using her bleeding hands to fix it both literally and figuratively. Vasya is desperate to save her village and it tugs on your heart to see her give so much and suffer for it. It all wraps up and culminates in a breathtakimg climax and I cant tell ou this; The beginning of the Winternight trilogy is one book you dont want to miss, and definitely one you wont regret.

  2. TMG040402 (verified owner)

    The cover is so beautiful. I was searching for this book everywhere but could not find so a huge thanks to chapteronebookstores. And now about the book :- The start was a little slow but after around 50 pages it picks up and My God you can’t put it down.

  3. zoyachettriniftem (verified owner)

    The cover is so pretty and makes me understand why this book was so popular on Instagram. Thanks to chapteronebookstore I got it at an unbelievable price and I loved the bookmark that was given with it. The story is a really good one and you won’t be putting it down anytime soon.

  4. adtshukla (verified owner)

    I have never read anything like this before. Its inspired by other fantasy books but its very well written. Its not a must read but a good read. I specifically liked her descriptions of the weather and Russian folklore. Looking forward to finish the trilogy.

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