Monday 8 April 2019
Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight #1) by Katherine Arden (Fantasy)
Author: Katherine Arden
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: 2017
Source: Bought Copy
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. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.
Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village. As its defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed.
I came to this series via The Girl in the Tower, because I didn't realise it was the second book in a trilogy when I requested it from NetGalley last year. Regardless, I adored book two, so now I am finally catching up with the volumes either side of it, to see how it all started and how it will end. Arden's prose is magical and captivating, and I simply adore the blend of history, folklore and fairytale. Vasya is an engaging and delightful heroine, but I confess I reserve my greatest ardour for Morozko. I am madly in love with him! This series has captured my heart more than any other in a while, and I can't wait to reread book two and move on to book three. I'm also now keen to learn more about Russian folklore and fairytales. I highly recommend it to all fans of folklore-infused fantasy.