Cover Image: The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale

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Member Reviews

It took several attempts to get into this book. It was slow at times. The second half was much better than the first. I will probably not read the other two in the series.
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Loved this title. It's so unique among other things that I've read in that in focuses on Russian folklore, and I absolutely loved reading about pre-Bolshevik Revolution Russian. It was especially fascinating to read about a time when people were transitioning from strong traditions based on folklore into Christianity, specifically Catholicism. I've since read the second book in the series, but not the third yet. Definitely recommend this for fans of fantasy or magical realism - especially in a locale not often explored in my experience.
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A well written book that I definitely recommend to library patrons, though I personally struggled to get into it.  It's well received by many.
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Overall I enjoyed reading this book. It did take me a while and I struggled staying motivated to get back to it several times, which made for a long period from start to finish. It is an interesting novel that weaves in fairytales with the story of a young girl as she grows up. There were a few times where I just wasn't completely taken with certain chapters and then I didn't pick it up again for a while. I finally did finish it and enjoyed the story overall. It is not a book that I would read again, but once was good and interesting. The author was very good and painting a beautiful picture of the setting and I believe that was the most enjoyable part of the book for me. I just never really got into any of the characters, but the style of writing was nice and wonderfully descriptive.
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Unfortunately, the latter parts of The Bear and the Nightingale shear away much of what I loved about its beginning and middle. Some of this looks like the required structural work of setting up sequels — sequestering important characters elsewhere and never revisiting them — but some of it is unnecessary hewing to the most common shape of fantasy stories. Ultimately, it felt like a collection of beautiful plot coupons the book refused to cash in.
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A must for lovers of romance and myth. I was quite taken by all the magical creatures and felt for them because their way of life was fading; things were changing and the fey could not change as well as the humans could. Vasya ws on the brink of womanhood, with one foot in childhood and fairy stories and one in adulthood, where she would be locked away by womanly duties.
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THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE is a beautifully moving, epic story that tackles religion, faith, and who exactly is good and evil. The sharp cold of medieval Russia comes to life with glittering prose, and Vasilisa is a compelling, layered lead character.
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So I heard great things about this book hence me downloading it.  I felt kind of let down though because I truly struggled through this book.  I was very confused through out the book because each character had three or more names, there were time jumps without notice and new characters were inserted at random.  These things made for a very rough read for me.  I did love the idea behind the book because I love all things folklore and mythological but the rest of the stories issues kept me from loving the book completely.

I would love to try again with another book by this author but this one was not for me.
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I loved the feel of this book, very fairy tale with lyrical writing. The main character was strong and worked hard to fight for herself and her family. I cannot wait to read the next book!
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I somehow neglected to give feedback on this at the time and I apologize, but this book was just lovely! I think the best way to describe it would be lucious, it just has that way of weaving description and plot together that pulls you in. The characters are brilliantly sculpted and build your investment in the story. Fairy tales have a universal appeal but can be difficult to put your own spin on, but Arden succeeds here with an entrancing book that I quite enjoyed.
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This book is amazing. The descriptions of winter in Russia are so lush that I was chilly reading it. I loved being able to learn more about various "minor myths" in Russian mythology as well as the extended focus on Morozko, Father Frost. Vasya is a fantastic protagonist and her view of Orthodox Christianity as it swept through Russia is one that I think is often overlooked. 
Highly recommend for folks looking for an engrossing fantasy read, those who are interested in the spread of Christianity and its effect on local customs and beliefs, those interested in Russian folk and fairy tales, and folks looking for strong feminist leads in historical fiction.
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This was just about the best Russian folklore inspired book I've read. And I have read a LOT. Highly reccomend.
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Absolutely loved this series. The imagery is rich, the world building is phenomenal and the characters...complex, interesting and I fell in love with a horse. Cannot wait for her next series.
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I can't say enough about this wonderful book. It is a dark fairy tale set in medieval Russia, full of Russian folklore. It's an absolutely perfect winter read. Vasya is a wonderful heroine who has the ability to see and communicate with house spirits and demons. The villagers do not trust her. There is great evil in the forest that threatens her family and the village. This novel is so magical and imaginative and the writing is lyrical. I absolutely loved it and ordered the second in this series immediately upon finishing.
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This book will be the start of a beautiful, engaging, fast-paced and fascinating trilogy. A really great, historical, somewhat epic fantasy, inspired by the history and folk and fairy tales of Eastern Europe.
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I liked this Russian fairy tale -- it is magical book with a strong female protagonist and other-worldly demons and more.  Older students who are strong readers may enjoy it, too.  They will need to give it time for the atmosphere to build.
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After years of sitting on my to-read list, I finally got around to reading this wonderful story of Russian folklore. It’s filled with magical creatures and a young girl who has special skills. Vasilisa is a rare child who can see and talk to the spirits. She loves to climb trees and run through the forest. Her mother dies young and Vasilisa’s father re-marries a woman who dislikes the enthusiastic child. When the town turns it’s back on the long tradition of paying tribute to the spirits, the evil spirits gain strength. Vasilisa tries to save her family and the town from harm, but as the demon grows more powerful and the good spirits weaken, she may not be able to stop the inevitable. 

Arden has written a story filled with the lore of the Russian people. It is a cold world where people must struggle to keep warm, farm the land and simply survive. The good and bad spirits war with each other and put the town in danger. Vasilisa is a breath of fresh air, a quixotic girl who puts the welfare of others before her own. She is the heart of the story and may be the only one who can save the town. In addition to reading the book, I listened to the audio and Kathleen Gati adds flavor to the Russian story with her outstanding narration. It is no surprise that this book has garnered so much praise and I was glad to have finally delved into the magical realm of Russian tales of old.
4.5* 
After years of sitting on my to-read list, I finally got around to reading this wonderful story of Russian folklore. It’s filled with magical creatures and a young girl who has special skills. Vasilisa is a rare child who can see and talk to the spirits. She loves to climb trees and run through the forest. Her mother dies young and Vasilisa’s father re-marries a woman who dislikes the enthusiastic child. When the town turns it’s back on the long tradition of paying tribute to the spirits, the evil spirits gain strength. Vasilisa tries to save her family and the town from harm, but as the demon grows more powerful and the good spirits weaken, she may not be able to stop the inevitable. 

Arden has written a story filled with the lore of the Russian people. It is a cold world where people must struggle to keep warm, farm the land and simply survive. The good and bad spirits war with each other and put the town in danger. Vasilisa is a breath of fresh air, a quixotic girl who puts the welfare of others before her own. She is the heart of the story and may be the only one who can save the town. In addition to reading the book, I listened to the audio and Kathleen Gati adds flavor to the Russian story with her outstanding narration. It is no surprise that this book has garnered so much praise and I was glad to have finally delved into the magical realm of Russian tales of old.
4.5*
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DNF at 10%. I attempted this book twice, but I think the writing style isn't for me. I enjoy fairy tales and fables in general, but I had trouble connecting with the characters and following the plot at the start, so I couldn't get invested. However, even two years later, I still see stellar reviews for this book from trusted friends. I might attempt it again someday and look out for future publications by this author.
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This story about a Russian family was rich and atmospheric in its lores. Although the story started off slow, this steeps the reader into the worldbuilding. I felt disquieted despite how the story tried to lull me with mundane events. And I think that is where the magic happens. The mythical creatures are abnormal, and it is exactly how they impose upon the mundane lives of Vasya's family that leads to this sense of extreme trepidation. As Vasya grows and comes into her own as a resilient, adaptable woman, her troubles deepen but also strengthen her resolve. It is ultimately a coming-of-age story where a girl must battle external forces rooted in Russian traditions and culture which quintessentially reflects the battle within herself.
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Beautifully atmospheric novel with all the elements of magic, folk stories, and things that live deep in the forest. In this Cinderella-esque story, Vasilisa's mother dies and her father goes to Moscow, coming home with a new wife who is the polar opposite of Vasila's mother. When her new mother forbids anyone from honoring the spirits of the household, things start to go terribly wrong. It is up to Vasilisa to make things right and it means facing a terrible danger that could spell the end for her and many in her village.
A bit overly long for all but the most dedicated YA reader - it starts off somewhat slowly so some reading stamina will be necessary BUT the payoff is great for those that stick with it. An engaging and interesting story!
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