Friday, January 6, 2017

The Bear and the Nightingale~Katherine Arden | Review

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Length: 336 Pages (Hardcover)
Release: January 2017

I received a copy of this novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The beginning of this novel was difficult for me to get into. I found the fairy tale nature fascinating, and the writing was quite enjoyable, but I had a hard time connecting with the characters and overall story. The second half, however, was rather addictive. 

At nearly the halfway point the novel seemed to take a rather drastic turn. The beginning was a buildup for what was going to happen, and the last half was everything playing out. The focus became more about Vasya and her struggle to save her people than about her family. The fairy tale elements really came alive, making me very curious about the original tales. 

Overall the writing was really captivating. It didn't read quickly, but I don't think that was really the style of story the author was trying to share. It had the whimsical feel of a fairy tale, with elements of danger. This definitely isn't the happy version of a fairy tale that I so often see. This had the grittier, darker side of things. 

The characters were somewhat lacking in the beginning. There wasn't much development of them until later in the story. I found Vasya's wildness fun at first, but still didn't really feel connected to her. Later on I really did enjoy her and understood her motivations more. I also really enjoyed her relationship with her siblings, particularly Aloysha. The brother-sister dynamic was fun to see and I loved how protective he was of her. The relationship with her father was also nice, though Vasya herself was often confused about his feelings toward her.

The ending, where all of the fantasy elements finally came to a head, was quite intense and fascinating. It left me both excited and sad because I was saying goodbye to a world that I had truly come to appreciate and characters that I had grown to love.  

This novel will definitely appeal to a wide range of audiences and I am interested in reading more from this author when she releases more work. 


  1. Great review! I’m on a waiting list for this book. I like dark, gritty, weird stories, so I’m looking forward to it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Thanks! I hope you enjoy it. The last half was a nice eerie read. :)