Saturday, August 14, 2010

Review of Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Ice 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.

Reading about the Arctic in the midst of a Minnesota heatwave proved to be a decent idea. The description of ice and snow helped distract me from the humidity and the blistering heat. In spite of this relief, Ice proved to be only an okay read for me.

The strongest element of Ice is easily the premise. While it’s based off of the East of the Sun West of the Moon fairy tale, I find that this particularly story is not often adapted or retold. Even when it does pan out perfectly, I love when authors add something fresh and new to their genre. My main problem with the plot of Ice was actually the ending. I liked the idea of it, but it felt a little bit too convenient and rushed to be genuine to me. I would happily pick up a sequel to Ice if one was published.

In some ways, Cassie is an admirable main character. She’s assertive and loyal to her family and loved ones, although I was occasionally frustrated by how stubborn she was. However, I think her character arc moved a bit too quickly to feel realistic at times. I have to wonder if I would have enjoyed it more had the story been told from Cassie’s point of view.

Overall, Ice is an enjoyable and swift read, but it lacked the depth I was hoping to see. I was glad to see something different, and think the novel was really well written, so I’ll definitely read ore by Durst in the future. I know others will disagree with my opinions, so if Ice intrigues or if you live someplace really warm, you should definitely check it out.

Disclosure: I checked out a copy of this book from my awesome local library.


  1. I've had this on my TBR for awhile.. it definitely sounds interesting. Nice review!

  2. Great review Liz. I'm sitting on a copy of this one now, but need to wait until after Sun and Moon has been out of my system for a while! I'll be interested to reread your review after I've read the book, & see where we agree or differ.



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