The first book in a captivating new series! Russian folklore and myths are intricately woven together to create a magical story of young Vasya coming into her own against the wishes of her family and their changing religious beliefs in the wilds of medieval Russia. How can you pass up the old favorites: dueling pagan gods, an evil priest, a wicked stepmother, and house sprites? Recommended By Mecca A., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.
Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.
But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed — to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.
“Haunting and lyrical, The Bear and the Nightingale tugs at the heart and quickens the pulse. I can’t wait for her next book.” Terry Brooks
“An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale...The Bear and the Nightingale is a wonderfully layered novel of family and the harsh wonders of deep winter magic.” Robin Hobb
“Utterly bewitching...a lush narrative...an immersive, earthy story of folk magic, faith, and hubris, peopled with vivid, dynamic characters, particularly clever, brave Vasya, who outsmarts men and demons alike to save her family.” Booklist (starred review)
“Stunning...will enchant readers from the first page....with an irresistible heroine who wants only to be free of the bonds placed on her gender and claim her own fate.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
About the Author
Born in Austin, Texas, Katherine Arden spent a year of high school in Rennes, France. Following her acceptance to Middlebury College in Vermont, she deferred enrollment for a year in order to live and study in Moscow. At Middlebury, she specialized in French and Russian literature. After receiving her BA, she moved to Maui, Hawaii, working every kind of odd job imaginable, from grant writing and making crêpes to guiding horse trips. Currently she lives in Vermont, but really, you never know.
Madeline Shier, Kim Tano on PowellsBooks.Blog
If you, too, have devoured Leigh Bardugo’s works and are looking to fill out your TBR pile with more dark fantasy; with more intricate magic systems and deft world-building; with more clever thieves, complex villains, and fated heroes who turn destiny on its head — well, Kim and I have the perfect titles to tide you over until the (presumed) second season of Shadow and Bone