Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Review: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Ice is all that Cassie has ever known, and all that she wants to know.  Cassie has grown up in a research center in the Arctic.  When on her eighteenth birthday, her scientific life clashes with a childhood fairy tale, she finds herself making a choice to marry the king of the polar bears in order to save a mother she's never known.  Will she be able to return to that normal, steady, scientific life after all she has seen?  Will she want to?


Things I Liked:
I love this fairy tale and have enjoyed a couple of other retellings.  This one is its own unique take on the tale, setting it in modern times and having Bear be the keeper of polar bear souls.  I enjoyed the setting in the Arctic, since that is a place I know next to nothing about.  I think Durst did an excellent job of making the story her own and still keeping to that basic tale that seems to fascinate us so much.  I really liked how Cassie was very independent and strong, but still manages to change in ways that we respect. And I didn't see that ending coming - very nicely done!

Things I Didn't Like:
I didn't think there was quite enough romance for me.  I think it is difficult to spend the time (in a book, anyway) growing a relationship between characters when nothing is really happening, but I thought Cassie became attached to Bear rather suddenly.  Also, Bear kinda annoyed me sometimes with his acting like he already loved her when he really didn't know her at all.  

East by Edith Pattou

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (Psyche and Eros myth)

s-factor: !
a few throughout

mrg-factor: X
very much off-the-page, but they do get married, etc.

v-factor: ->
some mild violence/action

Overall rating: ****

Have you read retellings of this story? What's your favorite?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I swear this is the hardest fairy tale to do well. For me anyway. There have been pieces I've loved of all three of the YA versions you've listed. But in the end none of them have really hit it home. And the stumbling block is usually the relationship. Something's...missing.

  2. I already have this one on my wish list. I won't expect to be blown away, though.

  3. Angiegirl, I agree that it is very difficult to develop the relationship. For some reason I noticed it the most during this one.

    carolsnotebook, it's worth picking up and lots of people loved it.

  4. I liked that it bridged the space between the original fairy tale and making it something other. Though I agree that the romance was a bit abrupt. Ah, well. Can't have anything.

  5. Melissa, maybe there will be one sometime that will have everything. I hope!

  6. I love Edith Pattou's "East." It's so magical and vivid in description.

    Another great one is Jessica Day George's "Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow"

  7. My favorite version is by Jessica Day George. Maybe because I read it first, or because I love her style, but that version was just perfect for me. Oh, I didn't konw CS Lewis had written one, I'll have to add that to my list! I still havent read Ice either, I really need to get a hold of a copy!

    Great fairytale!

  8. Anonymous, I loved them both too!

    Kath, I think I like that one best too - probably cause I read it first. CS Lewis' is the Psyche and Eros myth, which has a pretty similar story to East of the Sun, but it isn't exactly the same.


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