The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale

A Novel

eBook - 2017
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In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift, a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, Pytor hides the gift away and Vasya grows up a wild, willful girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay.
Publisher: 2017
ISBN: 9781101885949
Branch Call Number: EBOOK TEXT
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Alternative Title: OverDrive


From Library Staff

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 un... Read More »

A folk story of a witch in medieval northern Russia.

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Jan 02, 2021

This was a fun read. Many fantasy novels for adults are rote and predictable and lean too much on either darkness or sex. The mirrored Russian mythology was a nice touch. What an adventure!

Nov 27, 2020

An elegantly woven first instalment of the Winternight Trilogy set in the frigid wilderness of Russian. Follow the strong heroine Vasilisa as her village struggles with continuing to honour the cultural mythology of their past or following the church.

PimaLib_JanaB Oct 15, 2020

I want to review the whole series here because I stayed up way too late last night finishing it. This is mytho-historical fiction set in late 1300's Russia.

In a land of opposite extremes, Vasilisa Petrovna is always on the wrong side. She is pagan in the land of the Russian Orthodox Church. She is a woman in a male dominated society. She is a believer in the ancient ways who lives in a world longing to be modern. Vasya fears the land she loves is dying with the relentless march of time.

Vasya sees and nourishes the pagan nature spirits around her. Vasya's stepmother also sees these spirits, but she fears and hates them as demons. Vasya fights to keep the old gods from fading in the new world, but the evil around her in both the Christian church and her own spiteful deities forces her to shed her innocence and become a powerful woman in a time where such a person is not supposed to exist.

The prose is magical in the way it weaves this world around the reader. The author's note at the end states that some of the characters and events are factual, which only added to the enchantment for me. I finished this series 12 hours ago, and I already want to reread it.

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 07, 2020

A beautifully written fantasy set in medieval Russia, based on Russian folklore. It’s told in a whimsical, fairy-tale-like tone, with a very rich atmosphere. A great beginning to an amazing series. Recommended for fans of lyrical prose, magical realism, and atmospheric stories.

ArapahoePaige Jul 20, 2020

Vasilisa lives on the edge of a Russian forest in a place where mythic folk thrive until her father brings home a new wife, one who doesn’t believe in the fairy creatures. Vasilisa lives in a time of change, loves someone who shouldn’t exist and fights to save her family. Love this trilogy!

Jul 17, 2020

Excellent 1st book, love me some Russian tales, excellent fairy tale😉

Jul 14, 2020

Surprisingly wonderful! I was dubious at another fairytale setting but... the characters are strong and endearing, their plight moved me to tears, the adventure is exciting, the culture of Rus' takes me back to my earliest days of reading Baba Yaga stories. AND there are Zombies!! The series is nominated for a Hugo Award in 2020.

Jun 28, 2020

Beautiful written and incredibly story-telling. I felt fully immersed in the story of Vasya and the battles of new religion and the old faith.

Jun 08, 2020

Absolutely amazing book and trilogy! I did have some trouble reading it because of the different name variations in Russian culture but I found listening to the audiobooks helped.
After listening to this series I actually bought the books because I loved the story so much!
Highly Highly recommend to anyone and everyone!

Mar 31, 2020

This book flows really well even with all the different point of views and it just keeps you reading until you look up and realize that the sun has come back up and that the book is, unfortunately, finished. The Bear and the Nightingale takes place in a fantasy version of historical Russia and tells the story of Vasya and her family. It reads like a fairytale and is absolutely beautifully written. Vasya is a wild child with a touch of magic and a willingness to be brave. This is definitely a character driven story and if you love plot more, then this might not be the book for you.

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LCPL_Krystyna Oct 07, 2020

“Nothing changes, Vasya. Things are, or they are not. Magic is forgetting that something ever was other than as you willed it.”

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 07, 2020

“It is time to put aside dreaming. Fairy tales are sweet on winter nights, nothing more.”

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 07, 2020

“If this is the last decision I can ever make, at least it is my decision."

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 07, 2020

“Wild birds die in cages.”


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ArapahoeKatieK May 23, 2018

ArapahoeKatieK thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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ArapahoeKatieK May 23, 2018

A story about Russian folklore. A girl is born to a Russian landowner in the middle of winter and there is something special about her. A tomboy from an early age, she spends her first decade and a half figuring out who she really is and how to use her abilities, how to fight evil, and how to keep her family safe.


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