Sunday, December 8, 2013

Review - Ice


by Sarah Beth Durst

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

I didn't review Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst because I borrowed it from the library and finished it right before I had to return it to the library. I was in love with it though. I thought the characters were awesome and the world building was fantastic. Not only that, but the ending was superb and different than typical YA books. I really really liked it and gave it a five star rating. Naturally, I thought I should pick up another book by Sarah Beth Durst. On the next trip to the library I picked up Ice.

I had a totally different experience with this book than with Vessel. I feel terrible, but I was close to hating this book by the time I finished it. Ice is a retelling of the fairytale; East of the Sun, West of the and instead of being fantastical and really well written, it fell flat for me. The characters and world building were lacking the sparkle that was so attractive in Vessel. Granted Ice was published three years before Vessel, but this retelling really didn't work for me at all.

It was also super weird and uncomfortable for me for most of the book. Cassie leaves to save her mother, but Cassie has no real relationship with her mother who I remember being essential in the original story (if I remember correctly?) Personally I found Cassie inconsistent and annoying in her loyalties and actions. I never connected with any of the main characters and the romantic element was really rushed. I find sudden realization moments that lead to sudden infatuation to be unrealistic and annoying. There were so many elements of this book that were weird and pushed me away from characters rather than being interested in them.

Overall I just really didn't like this book and found the interpretation of the fairytale to be too strange for me personally. I would recommend  Vessel over this book, but I hope to read another book by Sarah Beth Durst in the future, maybe just not a fairytale interpretation.

Rating: 1/5

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