This lovely book came as an extra book in December’s Book Box Club, the first in the Winternight Trilogy and we decided to buddy read it so I have enjoyed it doubly.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
‘Frost-demons have no interest in mortal girls wed to mortal men. In the stories, they only come for the wild maiden.’
In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.
But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods…
This is a fairytale full of fairytales in it’s own way and I absolutely loved it. The Russian folklore seeps into you and grasps you with it’s beauty as Vasya and her family grow and find that magic and religion seem to be playing havoc in their little estate.
The forest is full of secrets and “demons” and house spirits inhabit every corner until the priest finds he is faithful and it can’t be this way anymore.
I loved th scenes of the fir-grove and was fond of Sascha, Vasya, Irina and Alyosha. I could understand Anna’s insecurities and issues (not that it makes it right that she did what she did) and Konstantin is one of those despised but well made characters that you love to hate.
I am already reading The Girl in the Tower and can’t wait to see what happens next and how Vasya copes with magic in her life .