BOOK REVIEW: The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017. I was so happy when The Big Book Box chose this as their BOTM. Look at that beautiful cover. How can someone walk away from such a beautiful cover? The cover and the blurb, both, draws attention.


The story is set in a village in northern Rus’. Pyotr Vladimirovich, a great boyar(someone like a prince), and his family live there. Marina, his wife, and Pyotr have three sons and a daughter. Marina’s mother had magical powers and Marina longed for a daughter just like her mother. Vasilisa Petrovna (or Vasya in short) is born and Marina dies in childbirth. Pyotr decides to remarry for the sake of his children, especially Vasya, and goes to Moscow to seek a suitable bride. Anna is fighting her own battle. Without knowing what she is hiding Pyotr marries her and brings her to Lesnaya Zemlya. A stranger with piercing blue eyes presents Pyotr a precious jewel that is intented for Vasya. She grows up and everything slowly changes in the village. Faith broken, fear spreads and there is darkness everywhere. Armed with the necklace, she is the only one who can keep the darkness at bay. I do not want to disclose much about the plot. I assure you that the plot is dark, gripping and everything that a great fantasy book should be.


OMG! I fell in love with Vasya right from the beginning. She is one of my favourite characters of all time now. The character is not described as beautiful or princess-like, if anything, she is just the opposite. A normal looking strong, independent girl. That is why I adore her. She is gifted. She sees magical creatures and befriends them. (What?! Yeah. How cool is that?) Dunya, the nurse, is like a mother to Vasya. Till her last breath she tries to protect Vasya. The way the each family member care for each other is just amazing. I especially enjoyed the conversations between Vasya and her siblings. I really wanted to see more of Olga and Sasha. I felt like they disappeared so early in the book and left me wanting more. Since this is part of a trilogy I really hope they will come back in the second book. (Please!) Overall, all the characters are so wonderfully crafted and they will stay with you forever.


There are a lot of Slavic myths in this book. I really enjoyed reading them. This is the first book I have read that’s based on Russian fairy tales. The writing is so beautiful. I sure didn’t realise that this is her debut novel. The way she has described few scenes send chills down the spine. There were lot of instances where I felt that only Katherine Arden could write like this. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I love love love love this book, and highly recommend it. If you are a fantasy lover, please do pick this one. It is dark, adventurous and full of magic. I can’t wait for her next book.

To buy a copy, click here.
To add the book to your Goodreads, click here.

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (12 January 2017)
  • Language: English

2 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden

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