Friday, December 22, 2017

The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1)
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year, and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind - she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows. 
And indeed, crops begin to fail, even creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows even harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent. 
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed - this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales. 


Truthfully, I had a total book hangover after finishing A Court of Wings and Ruin. It was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING, and I had no idea how any book was going to be able to follow it.

I was worried that I wouldn't be able to enjoy whatever book I tried to read after finishing ACOWAR, because I would try to compare the two and not many books can live up to any of SJM's books. I think this was one of the best book si could have read to "cleanse my palette" before moving on to any other YA fantasy books.

I have been wanting to read this book for a while now, and I think this was an excellent choice to help get rid of my book hangover! It was like nothing I have ever read before! The author draws from Russian folklore, something I' had absolutely no knowledge of before reading this book. I loved the dark fairy tales and the story that the author weaved around them.

Also, I have to thank the author for her note at the end of this book. She starts it with,
Students and speaker sof Russian will surely note, and possibly deplore, my wildly unsystematic approach to transliteration. 
While I know absolutely nothing about the Russian language, I know that I without a doubt would have been one of those frustrated readers if I did and would have greatly appreciated her note that explains her thinking behind her translations and transliteration.

I ♥ Vasya! I love her spirit!
her headstrong spirit and defiance. It didn't matter that everyone told her that she must either get married or go to a convent, simply because that was the "lot of women." She refused to be a captive in a convent or be anyone's chattel, and even though people in her town whispered about her being a witch and plotted against her, she still gave everything to save them.

I loved the ending, and I am curious to see what happens in the next book. I am happy that I have the next book on hand and do not have to wait until the sequel is released (Thank you, NetGalley!). However, the author doesn't leave this book with a huge cliffhanger. If I had to wait to read the sequel angry. I might be a little sad, but not angry.

I definitely recommend this book! It was a nice change from other YA-retellings that I've read.

Stay tuned for my review of the sequel to this book, The Girl in the Tower! I will post it on Wednesday. 


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