What better way to show love for a book than to have Noble share as well? The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden is like a family story, written in what is considered to be medieval Russia. The story glows with folklore and imagery that could sweep you from your feet. It's original and was written with care. Check out my thoughts!
I wanted to grab the audiobook, but was just too full of other stories to focus on, so I managed to check out the one sent to me- sadly, I don't remember which publisher (shame on me!). Here's the blurb:
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, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village.
This isn't even the entire blurb! The story is romanticized and written beautifully. I couldn't get over the strangeness, but I don't know a great deal of Russian culture to say anything negative. It was mysterious and written almost like a fairytale- but suffocated me with an awfully slow, depressing story that made reading feel more like a chore than something to truly appreciate.
This is Arden's first novel and she's one heck of a beginner, just not my choice of writer. One dreams for author skills as she's displayed, but with more life and enthusiasm. As sweet as the story was, it was definitely not for me. Check out The Bear and the Nightingale, which is also available as an audiobook. I haven't listened, but if the narrator's good, it should make the experience more comfortable.
The Bear and the Nightingale
Random House Audio
January 10, 2017
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