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The Bear and the Nightingale Audiobook

The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

A magical debut novel for listeners of Naomi Novik's Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman's myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.

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. All the while Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed - this in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.

©2017 Katherine Arden (P)2017 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"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)

"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)

"Arden's supple, sumptuous first novel transports the reader to a version of medieval Russia where history and myth coexist." (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (1030 )
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4.5 (979 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jan 01-28-17
    Jan 01-28-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1344
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    "Culture-Rich, Unusual, Captivating"


    This novel of Russian Folklore is beautifully written with smooth narration. Arden paints a great mental landscape with rich descriptions Russia and it's culture. If this is a fairy tale, it is an adult fairy tale.

    The atmosphere is similar to Marillier's "Blackthorn and Grim," Joyce's "Some Kind of Fairy Tale," and "The Snow Child."

    I love books that grab my attention from page one and maintain it until I hear "Audible hopes you have enjoyed this program." The Bear and the Nightingale did that for me.

    21 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Crystal Midkiff 02-04-17
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    "I was swept away"

    This was such a wonderful story that I honestly got lost in it and it was unlike any book I have read. It was also familiar, in a way, and reminded me of stories my own grandmother used to tell me when I was little. This is a story with a strong protagonist, rich characters and an enchanting story that proves you are never too old for fairy tales. I would recommend it to anyone, but especially someone who loves folktales and especially on a cold night with warm tea handy!

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremy HOUSTON, TX, United States 04-07-17
    Jeremy HOUSTON, TX, United States 04-07-17 Member Since 2016

    jsspell

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Impoverished Fantasy"

    What makes good scifi / fantasy is its resonance. You can have dragons, aliens, mermaids, wizards, magic, but all of those fantastical elements should call to our world in some way. Monsters are real. This is why Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Song of Ice & Fire all work is because we recognize the truth underneath the magical. The Bear and the Nightingale lacks resonance because there doesn't seem to be anything real within the story. The monster is ill defined, the hero lacks cohesion, all characters seem to lack motivation.

    What is so frustrating is that there is a really great book in here somewhere. I want to read about Russian folklore. I want to read about what life was like for a village in Northern Russia during winter.

    I really wanted to like this book, I'm only about one hour from finishing, and I'm not sure I'll actually take the time.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele 03-12-17
    Michele 03-12-17 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too slow. Too depressing."

    The narration was the best part of the book. The story was too drawn out. It could have been half as long with an epilogue detailing the benefits of the redeemed nature entities.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Driskellmom 02-08-17
    Driskellmom 02-08-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Similar in feel to "Uprooted", I loved it"

    Reading other reviews, I was pleased to see several mentions of Naomi Novik's "Uprooted" in comparison to this fantasy. The language is lovely, not stilted, and the descriptions sit in a satisfactory way in the mouth. The narrator of the audiobook version did a wonderful Russian accent, not too heavy in the vowels, not hard to follow. I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Georgia Salida, Co USA 01-20-17
    Georgia Salida, Co USA 01-20-17 Member Since 2009

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Russian Fairytale "

    I have never heard a Russian Fairytale before and this was a well written wonderfully colorful tale. Enjoy it a lot, very entertaining, thank you

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karinne 01-21-17
    Karinne 01-21-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it!"

    It is very similar to Novik's Uprooted in terms of style. Like a fairy tale.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-18-17
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    "Upset with other reviews. Not as good as they said"
    Would you try another book from Katherine Arden and/or Kathleen Gati?

    Maybe. I really didn't enjoy this book at all. I kept thinking, okay, what's next. But nothing ever really stood out to me as good. Narrator did a good job. I kept listening. I did have to keep rewinding and starting parts over and over because my mind would wonder, but I blame that on the story not narrator.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment. I had high hopes because of the great reviews, but this story really didn't have the magical, mystical parts I enjoyed. Maybe it's the witch concept I didn't like. I can't pinpoint the reason, it just didn't work for me.


    Any additional comments?

    Writing was good, I thought she did a good job describing things. I just didn't like the story at all. It had a few moments of promise that didn't work out. I listen to anywhere from 3 to 5 books a week. And I usually like them. There are a few that really don't work at all and this was one of them. Sorry. I just completely disagree with the reviews stating this was great.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ShirleyC 03-04-17
    ShirleyC 03-04-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I have missed reading enough book reviews."

    How ELSE can I explain having missed this author & this title until now? I am certain that reviewers have been as favorable (or moreso!) about her perfect accent - American OR Russian - as well as her ability to add more than a soupçon of interest to narration .

    Absolutely fresh and refreshing, learning about Russian fables....made all the more delightful by the narrator, Kathleen Gati. She injects a certain Eastern focus by explaining, for example, the lore surrounding "Frost", which is most interestingly and definitely different the "Jack Frost" tales we have here in the USA.

    Last, but far and away from "least" for the author, Katherine Arden, a huge "BRAVA" for her ability to bring Russian tales to light and sprinkling them them throughout to honestly picture the difference between East and West -- even to the "tales" we honor by passing them on the next generation. AND to presenting us with memorable insight to what makes our fairy tales so very entertaining, in this case, the "Eastern" focus and it's impact on both the story, the characters and the reader. Again, "BRAVA!" -- and "Thank You!"

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lady of the Lake 03-03-17 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I would give this six stars if I could"

    She is a fantastic story teller I loved every bit of this book

    I cannot put it down.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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