Friday, February 19, 2010

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

As a small child, Cassie is enchanted by her grandmother's story of the polar bear king. Growing up on an Arctic Research station, Cassie appreciates the beauty of the polar bears. At eighteen, Cassie makes a startling discovery. Her grandmother's story was true. The polar bear king is real and he has come to claim his bride--Cassie.

What I thought: I can't resist fairy tale books and this one was well worth reading. As a young child I saw the movie The Polar Bear King. The story enthralled me. Later on, I discovered the Appalachian version (Snow Bear/White Bear Whittington) of the original Norwegian tale (East of the Sun, West of the Moon). Durst's retelling (or re-imagining) of the tale is wonderful. Cassie is a thoroughly modern girl caught up in a fairy tale world. Her acceptance is grudging and based primarily on the return of her mother. The chemistry (for lack of a better word) between Cassie and Bear is great. This is not some sappy love story. She doesn't want to be there. And in the beginning, he doesn't really love her. I like that love is not easy for them. The back story Durst creates (munaqsri) is intriguing. For some reason, I think this book would pair well with Chris D'Lacey's dragon books.

(New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2009)

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