|January 2017; Del Rey; 978-1101885932;|
ebook, audio, print (336 pages); fantasy
a free ARC was provided for this review
Set in pre-Christian Russia, the history of the time period is woven into the story as seamlessly as the magic and folklore.
Relationships are explained in a very fluid way, and we get a chance to see some of the political machinations that lead to Anna and then Konstantin arriving in Vasilisa's homeland.
Arden draws us into the land with very vivid descriptions that show us the love that Vasilisa has for it, even as the villagers call her a witch because of her ability to see spirits.
These same spirits are given as much importance as the human characters, even if we don't always learn their histories. Even the antagonists are given the same thorough treatment; each one is the hero of their own story, after all, no matter how misguided, and they all have their place in the fairy tale.
Vasilisa is headstrong and willing to do whatever it takes to save the ones she loves, even if it isn't asked for, and is unable to forget the "real world" as she gets more entangled in that of the spirits at the end of the book.
Very engaging read and well done, it's hard to believe that this is Arden's first novel.
Buy The Bear and the Nightingale at Amazon
Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.
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