The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Bear Nightingale

Amazon | Goodreads

5/5 Snowdrops


What is it about?

Before Russia was Russia it was a series of territories ruled by grand princes. In one of these northern territories, Christianity was slowly pushing out the old religion. What happens when the old gods get too weak to hold back their enemies and the new god turns a blind eye? It is up to one brave girl with a special talent for seeing the worlds hidden creatures to help save her family and village.

Was it good?

Opening my kindle to read this book felt like stepping through a portal to a beautiful but harsh land. I didn’t even want to read this book in little 5 minute spurts because submerging myself in the story felt so magical. My only complaint is that there wasn’t enough of this book. I wanted the story to share more of the old gods stories and histories, and I wanted to spend more time soaking it all in.

Overall it is a beautiful story in a beautiful land, and I can’t wait to read about the new creatures and adventures in book 2, The Girl in the Tower.

Culture and History

The reason this story was able to transport me to a far away time and place was due to the author’s ability to cast her characters and setting in a historically believable way. All the character’s choices and actions were influenced by their surroundings.

I especially appreciated the author’s use of names. It’s fascinating to me how many variations on a name there can be, and all of them express a different degree of familiarity. It can make keeping track of the characters a little more challenging, but overall I found it really charming.

In America, we all call our sons “buddy”, something I didn’t realize until I had already started doing it myself. My children’s names aren’t really good for nicknames, so I’m a little jealous of the russian names in this book.

It’s little things like this that can really bring a story to life!

14 thoughts on “The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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