The Bear and the Nightingale | Book Review


By: Katherine Arden

The Winternight Trilogy #1 | 323 Pages | Pub. 2017

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The Bear and the Nightingale at a Glance

  • Overall Rating: ★★★★
  • Heroine: She will not be tamed
  • Dude: He does not heat things up
  • Emotional: That ending made me cry
  • Brutality: Souls sucked out

Pairs Well With

  • Hot Chocolate
  • Peppermint Schnapps


“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.”

This has been on my TBR for a long time. I tried to do the audio at one point, but this story is not fast paced and can be difficult to pay attention to on audio. Or I just have a terribly short attention span. That could totally be the problem.

Either way, I knew I wanted to read this story so I went ahead and got it from the library. I’m so glad that I did because this is a gorgeous story. It’s slow. Know that while the detail is rich and beautiful, it’s not an action-packed book.

Vasya and her family live out in the country, a good distance from Moscow. There, she was raised by her mom with the old ways. Magic and nature and the old gods. In cinderella fashion, her mother passes and here new step-mother is a crazy religious fanatic who disagrees with everything Vasya believes. She sees demons and Vasya sees helpful creatures.

Then our dear friend Konstantin comes along. A priest out to make a name for himself, Konstantin shoves the fear of god down the villagers throats. Vasya, hilariously puts him in his place, but it’s not enough to keep the old ways going.

I really hate the step-mom and Konstantin. They are ridiculous.

I loved Vasya. When she was a child, the Frost Demon pegged her as special and gave her a necklace. This and her powers were kept from her until the last moment possible, causing Vasya to learn on a very steep curve with help from the Frost Demon. Her strength and independence were remarkable in the face of the obstacles she encountered. She is spunky and I can’t wait to read the next book.

There are some fantastic supporting characters as well. I loved Vasya’s family and would happily be adopted by them.

I will probably wait a little while to read the next book because while I love the story telling, I need something a little more fast-paced before I head back into this trilogy.

Have you read The Bear and the Nightingale? Let us know what you thought in the comments!


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17 thoughts on “The Bear and the Nightingale | Book Review

  1. I’ve been on the fence about reading this one after seeing it pop up in my library recommendations. Now I think I will take the plunge (not audio)!

    Liked by 1 person

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