The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden

Posted 26 maart 2018 by Silke (boekinwonderland) in Adult, Reviews, SFF / 0 Comments

The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden

Een sfeervol, betoverend en fascinerend avontuur in het besneeuwde landschap van het oude Rusland. De Beer en de Nachtegaal van Katherine Arden is perfect voor lezers van Erin Morgenstern en Neil Gaiman.

In een dorp op het randje van de wildernis in het noorden van Rusland, waar de ijskoude wind blaast en het altijd lijkt te sneeuwen, vertelt een oude min sprookjes over de Winterkoning. Verhalen over oude magie die worden verboden door de kerk.

Maar voor het jonge, wilde meisje Vasya zijn het meer dan alleen verhalen. Alleen zij ziet de geesten rondom het huis die haar beschermen. Alleen zij voelt de groeiende krachten van een duistere vorm van magie in het bos...

De Beer en de Nachtegaal (De Winternacht-Trilogie #1) by Katherine Arden
Series: Winternight Trilogie #1
on October 16, 2017
Published by Luitingh-Sijthoff Pages: 352
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Paperback



Review The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale is a book I have very conflicted feelings about. Before I even began to write a review I let some time pass because to be quite honest I wanted it to sink in and wrap my mind around it. The Bear and the Nightingale is an enchanting story that combines historical events with a fairytale setting. I was drawn to it because I kept hearing it was ideal for people who loved Uprooted by Naomi Novik. I can see why… There is the Russian feel to the story. The magical forest. But there the comparison ended for me.

“He is full of desire. Desire and fear. He does not know what he desires, and he does not admit his fear. But he feels both, strong enough to strangle.” 

I went into this booking thinking I was absolutly going to love it. And for the first half of the book I was quite enchanted with the whole setting and the fairytalesque writing style. The Bear and the Nightingale is a very atmospheric story. It draws its strenght from the lively descriptions of the weather, the town and the forest. I absolutly loved that. It is slow paced, but that makes it even more magical.

“Vasya felt cold despite the steam. “Why would I choose to die?” “It is easy to die,” replied the bannik. “Harder to live.” 

For me it was also completly new. I know very little about Russian folklore and fairytales. So I didn’t just feel like another retelling, allthough of course it is. For me it felt like something new, waiting to explored. I also love to learn little tidbits while reading and learning I did. (About baked milk, that even in present day is a special milk sold in Russian supermarkts. About winters spend in darkness and cold.) And of course I loved meeting all the magical creatures from Russian Folklore. So very much like our western creatures and so different. The little girl in me wanted to adopt a Domovoi right there on the spot!

And it is dark, so dark… While reading this story I actually felt afraid together with the characters. Followers might know I am not a very brave person give me creepy sounds in the night and I am going to be very frightend. So yes, I was scared at times. Cause allthough a fairytale, dark and evil things lurk in the shadows.

“Sleep is cousin to death, Vasya. And both are mine.” 

So why not give it 4 stars or even 5? Well, it is kind of hard to explain. But for me the story didn’t feel as a whole. In the second part of the book I kind of felt a little bit lost. I didn’t think everything was explained as well as it should. Maybe it was because of all the Russian words, but I kind of lost track of the actual storyline. I felt like Vasya, left in the middle of the dark wood and not knowing where home was anymore. Maybe that was the meaning of the story. To be as lost as Vasya was, but for me that just didn’t work.

I absolutly loved the feel to this book and the writing style. And I am intending to continue the series, because I want to see how this will play out. But for now the overall story didn’t seem to have a real purpose. It was a story, an enchanting one, but I just couldn’t see where it was taking us.



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