Unlike most fantasy book loving children, thirteen year old Elliot Schafer actually gets picked to protect a land which seems to fulfill all his childhood dreams. The Borderlands are full of creatures right out of his favorite stories – elves, trolls, unicorns, harpies, and to Elliot’s lasting delight, mermaids. The offer to stay and attend school there is everything Elliot could ever wish for. However, he quickly comes to realize that the books all lied – enemies can look like friends, darkness can exist anywhere, and he might have just signed on to attending school in the magic equivalent of Sparta.
Blending Russian fairy tales and modern concepts, The Bear and The Nightingale transports the reader to the dark forests and hearths of medieval Rus' where spirits both great and small still linger. Though slow to start, this atmospheric book lays bare the weaknesses of people everywhere - that fear can consume us and our worst demons rule us.