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, Pytor hides the gift away and 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. – Goodreads.com
The beautiful cover is what initially drew me to this book – then the wonderful reviews, because it’s not something I’d typically pick up. The hint of the supernatural is what clenched it for me.
The lyrical writing and atmospheric setting immediately reached out and lured me into this story and the Russian tales have delicious dark elements to them. Generally, I prefer a more fast-paced plot, but a gradual unfolding seems more appropriate for this type of book. The characters are fully-fleshed, especially the spirited and unconventional Vasya, and the dark forces are chilling – both figuratively and literally, as the characters in this book are freezing a good bit of the time.
Something I struggled with was most of the characters going by a couple of different names and I was confused at times – but that may not be a problem for other readers.
I’d recommend this to fans of fairy tales, folk lore, and Russian history – a bewitching and enchanting read. Thanks to Penguin First To Read for the digital copy for review. The Bear and the Nightingale is scheduled for publication January 10th, 2017.