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Friday, October 2, 2009

Book Review: ICE by Sarah Beth Durst


Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 Pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (October 6, 2009)
Language: English
Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Indiebound
Read a sample excerpt HERE.

When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairytale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth to become a prisoner of the trolls. Now that Cassie is older, she knows that this was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, she is determined to become a scientist, and 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 in the troll castle. And that he can bring her back--if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairytale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian 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 knew 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.

Make sure to break out your winter coat because you are in for one epic Arctic adventure! Sarah Beth Durst has woven a magical narrative that will sweep you away across frozen lands, complete with ice castles, blistering winds, enchanting creatures and one courageous young woman! ICE was a beautiful, engrossing tale of impossible love and sacrifice that drew me in right from the very first page.

Cassie, the eighteen year old daughter of an arctic research scientist, had long since forgotten the fairy tales told to her as a child. According to the stories spun by her grandmother, Cassie's mother was imprisoned by the trolls after making a heartbreaking deal with the polar bear king. As she grew up, Cassie begun to realize that this was a nice way of saying her mother had passed away. But when Cassie seeks out a polar bear and he actually speaks to her, it seems as if some fairy tales are grounded in reality. She strikes a bargain with him and in that moment, her life irrevocably changes forever.

Sarah Beth Durst has taken the classic tale of East of the Sun, West of the Moon and given it her own modern twist. But you don't need to be familiar with the original fairy tale to truly appreciate this novel. Durst has truly made this story her own. I loved her descriptive way of storytelling – when I was reading ICE, I could hear the roar of the North Wind blowing in my ears and feel the snow on my face, blinding me from the glare and freezing my eyelashes. I was right there alongside Cassie - heart pounding with every step of the journey ahead of me.

In an interview on Simon & Schuster’s website, Sarah Beth Durst said

I love polar bears. I love fairy tales. And I love stories about girls who kick butt. But most of all, I wrote ICE as a love letter to my husband. It's about true love, real love, the kind where you face the world as a united team, the kind where you'd go east of the sun and west of the moon for your love.

I really feel like I can't sum up ICE any better than this quote does! If you are a fan of adventure and love stories with fairy tale elements, then you will not be disappointed with ICE. Cassie was a fierce heroine- I truly admired her. She sacrificed everything she had for Bear - it makes you wonder, just how far would you go for love?

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of Ice, as well as Into the Wild, an Andre Norton Award Finalist for Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy, and its sequel, Out of the Wild. She has been writing fantasy stories since she was ten years old and holds an English degree from Princeton University. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband and children, for whom she would happily journey east of the sun and west of the moon. For more information, visit Sarah at her Official Website & Blog.


April (BooksandWine) said...

Ice looks good! Have you read East by Edith Pattoau (idk how to spell her last name)? It's based on the same fairy tale. It might be cool to see how they compare.

I like when a book can make you feel the setting!

Book Butterfly (Kim) said...

Hi April- NO! I haven't read that book. I'm putting it in my goodreads To read pile now! Thanks!

Tales of Whimsy said...

Nice review. I like how you recommended we break out our coats :)

Stormi said...

It sounds like a really cool book. I am putting on my wishlist.

Lauren said...

Wonderful review. I can tell I'm going to really like this book. I didn't realise it was linked to a fairytale, so I might check that out first - thanks!

Bookworm said...

This is next in my TBR pile. I'm totally in the mood for a winter read, and I love Sarah Beth Durst's writing. I read her first two books and I'm a huge fan!

Trista said...

Great review! I think you described it perfectly. I loved ICE! I really felt like I needed to wrap up in a blanket while I was reading it.

Daisy Whitney said...

I am buying this book now! Thanks Book Butterfly