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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

#Audiobook #Review: 2 out of 5 stars for The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden @PRHAudio

SERIES: Winternight Trilogy, Book #1
AUTHOR: Katherine Arden 
NARRATOR: Kathleen Gati 
PUBLISHER: Random House Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: January 10, 2017
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 11 hrs and 48 mins
GENRE: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
ISBN: 9780399567179
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.


I was so excited to read this debut when it came out but, unfortunately, it was a disappointment.

Vasilisa never knew her mother. She died giving birth to her. She was raised by her nursemaid, Dunya, who told Vasilisa and her siblings about the Frost Demon who came for bad kids during the night and froze them to death. 

Vasilisa's father remarries and the wicked stepmother shuns the Russian folklore and traditions. Predictably as it often is with stepmothers, she does not like Vasilisa. Bad things start to happen in the village and then it's up to Vasilisa to save the day and make things right with the Frost Demon.

While I loved the appealing Russian setting and learning more about the Russian Frost Demon, it felt like the story took so long to go anywhere. The pace was terribly slow, and I found it very difficult to become engaged with the story. I do not plan to continue with the series.

I did enjoy the narration by Kathleen Gati, and she kept me listening. If I was reading this one as opposed to listening, I may have not finished it. Gati gave the narration an authentic feel with her Russian accent. Here is a sample of the narration:


2 stars!! Meh, it was just "okay."

This book qualifies as:


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