The Bear and the Nightingale by Kathrine Arden is a story of a brave young girl who must battle magical beings and physical obstacles in order to save her family and her village from the cold Russian winter. The story opens during the reign of Ivan I where a young family in a Northern Russian village is settling in for a story. The story, a fairytale, about a young maiden and the Frost-Demon. The children have no idea that the story will become very real.
Vasilia “Vasya” is the youngest child of Pyotr Vladimirovich and his wife, Marina. Marina dies shortly after her birth and a prophecy that Vasya will inherit the gifts of her grandmother. As a young girl, Vasya, loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. She is told to honor the spirits of the house, yard and forest that protect them from harm. She begins to see things that others do not see. She learns quickly to be quiet about the strange beings she sees around her home and her village. When her father remarries, her stepmother forbids the honoring of the spirits. When Vasya reaches the age of 14, a danger grows as the spirits are weakening. The strange occurrences seems to happening more and more. She tries to warn her father about what is happening but he dismisses her concerns. Vasya realizes that she is on her own to save her family and her village against the growing threat. Will she be able to fight back the growing power that seems to build in the wintry cold?
The Bear and the Nightingale is an intricate story where every detail is important. Every event is a clue to the growing danger. I cannot discuss too many details as it will give away too much as the story reveals its secrets. What I can say is that while in some places the story seems to lull; however, I recommend to keep reading as the story reaches its climax it all becomes clear. I loved the imagery in the story. Ms. Arden’s descriptions are breath-taking and some are designed to frighten you. I highly recommend The Bear and the Nightingale. If you enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s American Gods or Anansi Boys, you will love Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale!
The Bear and the Nightingale
will be available January 10, 2017
on Amazon in hardcover and on the Kindle
as well as
on Barnes and Noble in hardcover and on the Nook