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  • The Bear and the Nightingale

  • Winternight, Book 1
  • By: Katherine Arden
  • Narrated by: Kathleen Gati
  • Length: 11 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (942 ratings)

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The Bear and the Nightingale cover art

The Bear and the Nightingale

By: Katherine Arden
Narrated by: Kathleen Gati
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Summary

Random House presents the unabridged downloadable audiobook edition of The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, read by Kathleen Gati.

A young woman's family is threatened by forces both real and fantastical in this debut novel inspired by Russian fairy tales.

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, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift - a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, the father hides the gift away, and his daughter, Vasya, grows up a wild, willful girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay.

Atmospheric and enchanting, with an engrossing adventure at its core, The Bear and the Nightingale is perfect for fans of Naomi Novik's Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus and Neil Gaiman.

©2017 Katherine Arden (P)2017 Random House AudioBooks

What listeners say about The Bear and the Nightingale

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • S
  • 19-03-17

Shades of good and bored

This book has some hints of Neil Gaiman's dark fantastical plots and characters, which is what initially drew me to listening to it. I loved the Russian lore and landscape which when coupled with a strong female protagonist are the dynamic force of this story. I also found it interesting how on a backdrop of seemingly childish (but actually quite dark) stories about demons and wood sprites many questions of the human condition rose to the surface. Religion, female emancipation, misidentification and most importantly fear. This is powerful and clever. I loved being introduced to the creatures of Russian mythology and their presence and influence is what reminds me of Gaimen's style. Sadly there is something missing and it took me a while to get into this book. The first part, although setting the story, I found really boring and stopped to listen to another audiobook. I came back and was pleased I did for the middle part of the book. The narrator although good might have contributed to the boredom with her tone. She captured the characters really well and her Russian names were faultless but there was something in her narration which when coupled with a story that feels like it's going nowhere in the beginning made me loose interest. Get past part one of this book and it gets a lot better and much for engaging and fun. If the book started from part two I would give it 4 stars.

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31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Why oh why the funny accents?

I really enjoyed the story, but I did not enjoy the narrator. I could get used to her regular narration though it’s distracting, but why - when everyone are Russian and the story takes place in Russia, give them all funny accents unless it was to signify they speak Russian poorly? Sorry. I’d rather read this book on paper.

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21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fairytale feminism

Perhaps better suited to a younger audience, I enjoyed sinking into a world of Russian fairytale with a feminist twist and wished it for my teenage self, who might have learned from views on marriage as well as what makes things sacred verses false worship.

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15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not my cup of tea

The narrator was good, I just couldn't get over the weird way she pronounced some words. "Shone" said like "lone" or "cone" instead of like "gone". And that word was used a lot in this book. It's the kind of book that uses romantic language and similes, people were forever pouncing like a cat or proudly lifting their chin or being challenging like a stallion etc. And I just don't like that kind of thing unless there's a good undercurrent of normalcy and humour to offset it.

I really liked uprooted, by naomi novik, which everyone thinks is similar to this. And it kind of is but I enjoyed and found it much easier to submerge myself in uprooted. I think because the main character felt much more real and the friendship between her and her best friend was awesome. There isn't a relationship like that in this book. The next best fleshed out character is probably the creepy monk or priest obsessed with the main char.

Anyway, it's a lot more like the bird and the sword. If you liked that you'll probably like this one.

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13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Perfect Winter’s Tale

This is a truly wonderful magical story set in the Russian Forrest. I was absorbed and enthralled. Beautiful writing with really strong characters. Arden is a true master of storytelling. In Vasilisa Petrovka she creates a real heroine fighting on all fronts, not only does she have to fight against supernatural forces she has to fight convention and the strictures enforced on women of her era, she has the powers of the old world, yes she’s a witch with witch’s powers but she’s also a witch fighting for her place in the world. A young woman, gathering wisdom and courage Vasilisa is a memorable heroine I have completely falleyin love with. I’m about to start the second book in the trilogy and I cannot wait to see how Vasilisa naviagates the world.

The only detractor for me is Kate Gati’s narration. It took quite a while to get used to as she has a light voice and as a European it’s a big odd to listen to an American reading an East European narrative and her faux Russian accent, but I did get used to it and I really enjoyed the book, but yes as someone of Polish origin, I found it a bit weird, I grew up on these sorts of stories, so yes I do feel a bit of sadness about cultural appropriation and there’s an absence of the real Russian humour, (yes Russians do have a good and unique sense of humour), but having read the authors opening words, I know that she’s aware that she’s a non-Russian writing about old Russia, and she pays respect to that, and she’s obviously a Russian scholar, her writing is wonderful all the same and she did transport me to the old world so much so I was on Wikipedia searching flights to my family’s part of the world and yearning for the deep winter.

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9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Returned to Audible

Sadly I couldn’t proceed with this book as the narrator just irked me with such force within a couple of minutes. I’m sure many others won’t have this problem and I do not wish to be personally rude towards the narrator. Sadly I cannot rate the actual book in light of this fact.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Capitivating

I loved everything about this book, just the thing for winter listening. The bleakness of life in the Russian wilds woven marvellously with folk magic.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • MR
  • 30-07-20

Fake russian accent really bugged me

The story is okay, I appreciate using eastern Europe culture and folklore, but I really don't get why it was necessary to have a fake russian accent for the narrator. As eastern european listener it was really hard to understand it sometimes and it was very weird, sounded like all characters are talking like children rather than in the accent.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator is unintelligible at times.

I cannot understand what the narrator is saying at times, it's as though she's trying to give voices a speech impediment. Will have to read the book instead. Shame as I prefer audible for my commutes. Update 6 months later... tried again, persevering with narrator. The story is enjoyable and helps to offset the poor narrator. I loved the idea of all the little spirits protecting the house, stables, etc.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great story - glad it's a trilogy

really enjoyed this, have powered through it over the last few days! glad the second part of the trilogy is out in a few weeks!

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1 person found this helpful