Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: Fairytale, Young Adult
When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.
Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back — if Cassie will agree to be his bride.
That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal
Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her — until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.
After "Twelve Dancing Princesses" there is another fairytale that has been very popular for young adult adaptations, and that is of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" I have read two other adaptations of this fairytale, and of them all I have to say this one is my favourite.
Ice is a modern day retelling of the fairytale, not taking place in some fantasy world on some other planet, but on Earth, invoking mythology actually existing in northern cultures and mythology from Durst's own mind. This combined with the otherworldly feeling of the setting of the Artic cause it to almost feel like a completely different world.
Cassie is a very realistic kickbutt heroine. She has a realistic way of approaching things and is very much her own woman. The fact that she originally leaves Bear because she is stuck around the "house" doing nothing while he's out working and she feels useless is a very good example of what happens to many young women who find themselves in marriages, or living with a boyfriend with very traditional expectations. Cassie is far from a traditional girl however, she is independent and modern.
Her reactions to things that happen in the fairytale feel very realistic (such as Bear going to their bed at night and her kicking his ass and then kicking him out for having the balls to do that).
I also really enjoyed the fact that she had a passion for something (tracking polar bears and other arctic science-y things)
The romance is realistic as well, happening slowly but surely, sneaking up on Cassie and then when she gets to that place the second part of the book is invoked. Which leads to spoilers so I'll continue to speak of it under my spoiler section.
This is one of the most original retellings of a fairytale I have every read, and I'm looking forward to rereading this book again and again.
Okay, back to my thoughts on this book. First, I love that it's the argument of having kids that causes her to shine the flashlight at him. This book is partially an interesting representation of the issues that young couples have when first getting married in modern society, especially when one of them is a modern woman and the other a traditional man.
The entire journey that Cassie then takes while pregnant is phenomenal. I found my heart beating quickly as she ran from sexist
, and all the risks that she took
because she needed the one she loved. I also loved how the North Wind is her
grandfather, giving him a reason to help her, and then also her mother giving a
reason for the bear to need to marry the troll queen. Father Forest
On top of that the reveal that the trolls are lost soul was an amazing wrap up. The "villain" of the story is not truly a villain and in the end Cassie helps them, as well as herself, Bear and her baby. I felt the happy ending was very justified by all the suffering that Cassie went through for it.
I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good fairytale retelling, especially when it's unique and original such as this one is, for people who love kickbutt independent heroines, and also for people who enjoy stories containing mythology mixed in with their young adult books. (For example, Sedna is a character who makes an appearance in this book). It has a bit of Faerie/Myth feel to it mixed in with Contemporary, Fairytale and Fantasy.