The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
January 2017
11 hours 48 minutes
Katherine Arden’s bestselling debut novel spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.
“A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up.”—Naomi Novik, bestselling author of Uprooted

Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.

Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.

But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Praise for The Bear and the Nightingale

“Arden’s debut novel has the cadence of a beautiful fairy tale but is darker and more lyrical.”—The Washington Post

“Vasya [is] a clever, stalwart girl determined to forge her own path in a time when women had few choices.”—The Christian Science Monitor

“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 (starred review)

“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 (starred review)

“An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale . . . The Bear and the Nightingale is a wonderfully layered novel of family and the harsh wonders of deep winter magic.”—Robin Hobb
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Started very slow for me to the point I wanted to quit listening but it gets pretty good about a third of the way in. The writing is good and the story flows well. I love the details regarding the horses so much that I would assume the author is a lover of horses as I am. The narrator did a great job as well. My only Issue is I'm a little disappointed about how Christians and God are portrayed. There's more power given to demons in this book, it seems, but it is a story of the pagan fairy tales so the demons are much more real; God seems like the fairy tale here and fear of God is totally misrepresented and becomes a catalyst for the story. The true biblical meaning of what it is to fear God is never revealed and perhaps the author doesn't know either. The true meaning of the Greek and Hebrew is to have reverential awe and respect for God. Specifically, many, many times throughout the Bible, God said DO NOT FEAR when He revealed Himself, in fact, the Apostle Paul wrote 'you have not received a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. If you know the truth as a mature Christian, enjoy fantasy, and can overlook this and a few other details, you'll like this book, I did.

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Dorte Lassen

I just loved it! I was sucked into the story. The main character is so frustrating at times, but at the same time you cannot but like her. The story is a true fairytale. Please, listen to it.

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Caroline P.

I love my folk tales and this one filled the bill. Classic maiden with a quest to fulfill and trails to overcome. Great plot with new insight into the genre. Narrator did an excellent job.

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excellent story. I actually heard the opening story from my own father when I was little, and it's one I tell my son. The story is very close to the details I grew up hearing about russalki, polwiki, and leszi

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Carolina A.

a beautiful world and it was lovely to see nature and folklore awakened once more. can't wait to read more of the author's work

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Niki D.

Loved every minute, can’t wait to start the next one.

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very hard to follow at times

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Natalie B.

Really great story! Narrator was wonderful.

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Loved the story line

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Olda A.

I love the scary fantasy! This was so fascinating, it was hard to put down!!

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Brent B.

fantastic story. I grew up hearing the story of Mróz, and I routinely tell my son that story. very interesting mingling of folklore and original story.

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Pauline H.

I truly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next title in this trilogy.

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Kristen N

The book was a little slow for my taste. But very well written. Because most of the characters were unlikable and the setting so inhospitable, it was a bit difficult to feel that usual faerie tale charm. The narrator of the book was flawless.

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Amanda N

Very tame for a dark faerie tale, but excellently written. Enjoyable to listen to.

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Kathryn B

This is a slow-paced, gorgeously-written, long-wintered fairy tale. It brings out the notes of true winter and creates characters that move and breathe!

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