Welcome to my review of The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden!
Vasilisa lives at the edge of the Russian wilderness during the 14th century. She may appear to be an average tomboy, known for disappearing into the forest for hours at a time, but she has the unique ability to see the chyerti. The gods of the home, the stables, even the lake nearby.
She even meets Morozko, or Frost, the Winter King, who warns her that she and her family are in danger of his brother, the Bear, whom he has kept at bay for years. But only recently, the Bear has become stronger and threatens to break free to wreak havoc upon Russia.
If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, yes, I would definitely recommend this book!
One word to describe this book: magical. One of the best books out there to transport you to a completely different time and place with just a hint of mysticism. There’s something about this book. The way it’s written makes me feel like a kid again, reading a children’s fairytale. But it turned out a lot scarier than I thought it would be.
It didn’t put me off the story, it was actually a pleasant surprise. But I know that some people may not enjoy scary books. And this one was a lot more chilling than I initially thought it would be. I thought the horror parts added to the story, making it more exciting and vivid. I think it also added to the pacing.
Just like any great scary movie, you need a few scares at the beginning to keep you at the edge of your seat. This book was the same way. It had a few small scares at the beginning with a larger scare in the middle and one final somewhat scary scene that closed the story. I wouldn’t categorize this book under horror, but I will warn readers that it could be too scary for some people. At one point, I read a creepy part before bed and I needed to watch a funny show before going to sleep to ward off nightmares.
I think the best part about this book was the pacing. I found it difficult to put it down. It was especially difficult to not think about it when I wasn’t reading it. The characters were a bit shallow, but so are the characters in fairytales. I don’t think the focus of the story was the characters, but the story itself.
Overall, I would recommend this to a busy mom. At least, someone who can handle a good scare or two or even three. It’s sure to transport you to a different time and place when things were very different.
Five out of five stars
If you enjoyed my review of The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, you might also like The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. Check out my review!
If you’re interested in purchasing The Bear and the Nightingale, here are some quick links to buy the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And, if you’re interested to see what others think, here’s the link to the book on Goodreads.