A WNK Book Club Review by Usha Sitaaraa

4.5 stars Overall (Highly Recommend) 
ChildFree Rating 5/5

“The Winter half of the house boasted huge ovens and small,high windows. A perpetual smoke trickled from its chimneys, and at the first hard freeze, Pyotr fitted its window-frames with slabs of ice, to block the cold but let in the light. Now firelight from his wife’s room threw a flickering bar of gold on to the snow” –The Bear and the nightingale
When I read these words, I am transported immediately to a snow covered landscape and I stand looking at the flickering bar of gold on snow.  I am not just reading the book, I am in the book. 

This is an an example of the stunning language and captivating story you will find in the Winternight trilogy. It  is a fantasy set in Russia, weaving in the storytelling some of the Russian folklores.  The trilogy captures the clash of ideology between folklores and religion in mediaeval Russia. 
The story is about Vasya Petronova, a girl with magical abilities ,with  vision to see  creatures not visible to other human beings and the ability to communicate with them . She is often described as a frog by her siblings  as she is not beautiful in the classical sense but striking. She is one of the most formidable heroines I have read in a long time. She is unassuming, wise, not ashamed to be  herself even at the cost of being alone, and she has enormous love for her family. A protagonist who is spirited, brave - not a damsel in distress.  Perfect themes for the Childfree Community.
It is a captivating journey into a snow-covered landscape filled with magical creatures and enchantment. The author's descriptive prose creates a vivid setting that transports readers to Old Rus. From the flickering bar of gold on the snow to the bond between the characters, this book offers a magical and melodic storytelling experience.
The narration of the book is mellifluous and rich, immersing readers into the world of Vasya and Morzoko, the blue-eyed frost Demon, who exhibits both cruelty and kindness. The strong bond between Vasya and her older brother Sasha is particularly notable and adds depth to the story.
Vasya's character shines through her quiet courage, making her a captivating and empowering figure. Her portrayal as a strongwilled and spirited girl who bucks the traditional gender expectations from her as a girl  and unlike her sisters she does not  have desires of finding a suitor and raising children, is very striking  and presents a refreshing perspective.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale. The author's ability to transport readers to a different time and place, combined with the compelling characters and their relationships, makes this book a must-read.

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