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Historical Fantasy Audiobook Review: The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden (Winternight Trilogy #1)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.


Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | Audible US/UK | Book Depository

 9/10

* * *
 There are two books which left me completely satisfied with their portrayal of Russian fairytales by non-native writers in recent years. One is Deathless by Catherynne M.Valente, another one is The Bear and The Nightingale.

Miss Arden expertly blends post-Ivan the Terrible historical period with the fairytales I grew up with. It's a charmed listen steeped in the same darkness and urgency I felt reading Naomi Novik books, and what's most important for a Russian reader, it rings true. All the little details, all the non-butchered little names, the correct pronunciation and the rightfully respectful address, it was a pleasure to listen to. I was transported with the expert narration right from the beginning.

High Fantasy Early Review: The Queen's Bargain by Anne Bishop

The Queen's Bargain by Anne Bishop (The Black Jewels #10)


ARC courtesy of Ace

Synopsis from Goodreads
POWER HAS A PRICE. SO DOES LOVE.

Return to the dark, sensual, and powerful world of the Black Jewels in this long-awaited new story in the New York Times bestselling fantasy saga

After a youthful mistake, Lord Dillon’s reputation is in tatters,
leaving him vulnerable to aristo girls looking for a bit of fun. To
restore his reputation and honor, he needs a handfast—a one-year contract of marriage. He sets his sights on Jillian, a young Eyrien witch from Ebon Rih, who he believes has only a flimsy connection to the noble society that spurned him. Unfortunately for Dillon, he is unaware of Jillian’s true connections until he finds himself facing Lucivar Yaslana, the volatile Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih.

Meanwhile, Surreal SaDiablo’s marriage is crumbling. Daemon Sadi, the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, recognizes there is something wrong between him and Surreal, but he doesn’t realize that his attempt to suppress his own nature in order to spare his wife is causing his mind to splinter. To save Daemon, and the Realm of Kaeleer if he breaks, help must be sought from someone who no longer exists in any of the Realms—the only
Queen powerful enough to control Daemon Sadi. The Queen known as Witch.

As Jillian rides the winds of first love with Dillon, Daemon and Surreal struggle to survive the wounds of a marriage turned stormy—and Lucivar has to find a way to keep everyone in his family safe…even from each other.


Release date: March 10, 2020.

Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | Audible US/UK | Book Depository


9/10

* * *
This was like a long-awaited reunion among old friends. I missed them all and I loved to have them back.

Urban Fantasy Early Review: Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs

Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #12)


advanced reader copy courtesy of Ace

Synopsis from Goodreads
Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, faces a threat unlike any other in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

I am Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman.
My only “superpowers” are that I turn into a thirty-five pound coyote and fix Volkswagens. But I have friends in odd places and a pack of werewolves at my back. It looks like I’m going to need them.

Centuries ago, the fae dwelt in Underhill–until she locked her doors against them. They left behind their great castles and troves of magical artifacts. They abandoned their prisoners and their pets. Without the fae to mind them, those creatures who remained behind roamed freely through Underhill wreaking havoc. Only the deadliest survived.

Now one of those prisoners has escaped. It can look like anyone, any creature it chooses. But if it bites you, it controls you. It lives for chaos and destruction. It can make you do anything–even kill the person you love the most. Now it is here, in the Tri-Cities. In my territory.

It won’t, can’t, remain.

Not if I have anything to say about it.


Release Date: March 17th, 2020.

Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | Audible US/UK | The Book Depository

9/10

* * *
 As much as I couldn't get into the previous Mercy's book on audio, I feared I lost my interest in this series. Never fear! Now I'm thinking it was just the audio format itself that I didn't like because Smoke Bitten was superb!

I devoured this book, everything in it was perfect. Two reasons. 

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