Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst - Versus - Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George


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,  determined to become a scientist, she 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. - Goodreads


Blessed—or cursed—with an ability to understand animals, the Lass (as she’s known to her family) has always been an oddball. And when an isbjorn (polar bear) seeks her out, and promises that her family will become rich if only the Lass will accompany him to his castle, she doesn’t hesitate. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle, which is made of ice and inhabited by a silent staff of servants. Only a grueling journey on the backs of the four winds will reveal the truth: the bear is really a prince who’s been enchanted by a troll queen, and the Lass must come up with a way to free him before he’s forced to marry a troll princess. - Goodreads.

My Thoughts:  I enjoyed both versions.  Both books are re-tellings of the fairytale - East of the Sun and West of the Moon. If you would like to read a version of the original fairytale go here.

Ice is a contemporary retelling set in the frozen Arctic and the Canadian boreal forest. The descriptions of the ice floes and the scenery are vivid and beautiful. I like that Cassie is a modern girl and a strong female lead.  She's intelligent and determined to accomplish all of her goals and dreams.  It is this determination - bordering on obstinacy(in my opinion) that drives her to seek out the Polar Bear King who she is forced to marry.   After she has fallen in love with him and is carrying his child the Bear is taken from her when she breaks a promise.  As she searches for her husband East of the Sun and West of the Moon, she encounters many obstacles, but she never gives up on finding him.  Durst's version of trolls is fascinating.  I love the whole concept of rescuing the one you love at all costs, but I wonder if this book took it too far.  In her quest for the bear, Cassie gave very little thought to the growing fetus inside of her and put herself and the baby at great risk almost killing herself and the baby. I didn't really care for this aspect of the book.  Other than that it is a fun, fanciful retelling and I recommend it to anyone 12 and older.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow is a more traditional re-telling set in the Nordic with the sweet and brave Lass as the lead. I really liked the mystery aspect of this book as Lass searches for the truth behind the trolls and their hold on the Polar Bear King. This version has a fun, lighter tone than Ice, but it is still full of adventure and love.  I really enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of the Nordic culture and scenery.  George artfully weaves Nordic myths and language which helped me to fully immerse myself in the world.  I can't think of anything I didn't like about this book and I recommend it to anyone 12 and older.

For Jessica Day George's thoughts on her own book and Ice - along with a fun interview with Ice's author Sarah Beth Durst - click here.


Juju at Tales of said...

Both sound wonderful. Thanks for the reviews.

PS Love your background.

Kath said...

I LOVED Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow its one of my favorites! I haven't read Ice yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Another fun retelling of this story is East by Edith Pattou, you'll probably enjoy it as well.

Mary said...

Hey Juju - I think you'll like both books. Thanks for the compliment on my background. I like this one too - I decided the other one was too dark.

Kath - I forgot about East - I'll have to check it out.

Tawnni Jensen said...

I loved Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow!

Elena Jube said...

I love fairy tales, fairy tale retellings, and especially this tale. Thanks for the review. Can't wait to read them both.