Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Review - The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

A friend of mine actually recommended this to me. She recommended it because she needs me to read the sequel so I can tell her if the horses are okay. She has issues reading about animal deaths in books.

However, she also knew that The Bear and the Nightingale would be right up my reading street, and indeed, it was.

Based on Russian history and fairytales, The Bear and the Nightingale focuses on Vasya - the child of a Russian peasant lord and his wife, who dies giving birth to Vasya.

The people in the village adhere to the old ways - giving offerings to the household spirits to keep them happy and to stave off hunger and cold.

However, when a new priest arrives, everything changes, and it's up to Vasya to realise her destiny and try and save everyone.

The Bear and the Nightingale has been compared to Stardust by Neil Gaiman, and Uprooted by Naomi Novik. For me, it has more in common with Uprooted, and the story itself is just as enjoyable.

Vasya is a spirited and feisty heroine, and the sense of family within the novel is also very strong.

There's a compelling villain, and also Morozko - the lord of winter, who is trying to help Vasya while maintaining his own secrets.

A really, really absorbing read.

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