Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, young adult

Book Review: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Title: Ice
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Length: 308, Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytale retelling
Rating: 3 Folded Pages

When Cassie was little she thought her mother had been taken prisoner by trolls because of a deal she’d made with the Polar Bear King. Just a fairy tale to soothe a child whose mother had died. But on her eighteenth birthday, the “fairy tale” comes true when the Polar Bear King comes to take Cassie for his bride. Realizing she has the power to save her mother, Cassie makes her own deal with the bear and finds herself on a journey against time, traveling across the brutal Arctic to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. It is a journey that will teach Cassie the true meaning of love and family—and what it means to become an adult.

Ice is a retelling of the Norwegian fairytale “East of the Sun West of the Moon.” It is a similar story to Beauty and the Beast and I do love a good fairytale retelling. This book just felt “eh” overall. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either.

Cassie is a headstrong girl who doesn’t give up but also doesn’t feel real. I’m not quite sure she has a personality other than an immature 18 year old (who definitely reads like she is 12) who has a lot of perseverance. Cassie is also the only character I really had a chance to get to know. I felt like Bear and her family were just after thoughts.

That being said, the last 50 or so pages flew by and I really enjoyed that. The world building in the novel is pretty great. I was never left with questions about how the world within the novel worked. I definitely enjoyed that aspect.

I can also appreciate that this book is relatively short. Most fairytale retellings can end up being monstrous because the author tries to incorporate too many details from the original. Durst gives us just enough to remember the old while still giving us something fresh.

In the end, I give this 3 folded pages. I liked some aspects of it but it could have definitely been better in my opinion. I think Durst may have focused a little too much on the plot and not enough on the characters.

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