The Bear and the Nightingale

  • by Katherine Arden
  • Narrated by Kathleen Gati
  • 11 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Jan

Loved it!

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

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-10-2017
  • Publisher: Random House Audio