The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden is my favorite debut of the year so far!
Put simply, it is magical. From its feisty main character Vasya to its coldly brilliant setting in the wilds of Russia to its unique take on the fairy creatures of old. But it is more than that. Arden manages to weave a tale of innocence and darkness, all told with a beautiful deftness of prose that is reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s work. I fell in love with the book’s opening pages and that love did not stop after I turned the final page.
The book has received high praise. Terry Brooks reviewed, “Haunting and lyrical, The Bear and the Nightingale tugs at the heart and quickens the pulse. I can’t wait for Katherine Arden’s next book.” Robin Hobb said, “A Russian setting adds unfamiliar spice to the story of a young woman who does not rebel against the limits of her role in her culture so much as transcend them. The Bear and the Nightingale is a wonderfully layered novel of family and the harsh wonders of deep winter magic.”
And Naomi Novik, whose Uprooted I most compare The Bear and the Nightingale to, shared, “A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up.”
Today, I am happy to reveal the stunning cover for The Girl in the Tower on Unbound Worlds:
As you can see, it follows the same format and beautiful artwork that made the first book irresistible to pick up. Vasya still has her fey steed. And she appears to be flying across the winterscape of Moscow. Needless to say, I cannot wait.
If you haven’t read The Bear and the Nightingale, do yourself the favorite.
Winter will take on a whole new type of magic.