Michelle's Review: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

iceHardcover: 308 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Language: English
ISBN-13: 9781416986430
Source of my copy: I bought it
Cover Image from Amazon
Synopsis (from the author's website)

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.

Michelle's Review:

There is always an adjustment whenever I switch to a different genre after reading the same one for while (here from romance to YA). A little strange but true for me nonetheless and it took a bit for me to get into this book because of that. However, after I got going I thoroughly enjoyed Ice. This book is based on the Norwegian fairytale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" and I read other retelling of this tale before (one I particularly enjoyed was East by Edith Pattou) but I liked the author's take on this one.

This book is a modern retelling of the fairytale so we have Cassie, a girl who had lived all her life in the Arctic with her scientist father. I loved Cassie and she's everything you want in a female lead: strong, spirited, intelligent and determined. She is not without her faults, however, and I thought this book is more a search for self-identity than anything else. This girl was put through the wringer--she suffered in her journey to find her love but in the process learned more about herself, family, identity, magic and love. There is a strong romantic element in this book between Cassie and Bear, who was a great "nice guy" hero. The buildup of their love was gradual and was developed by the author beautifully. I fell in love with Bear along with Cassie and I wish there are more heroes like him in the YA genre instead of the mean "bad boy" jerks that is so prevalent in the genre today.

The writing in this book is superb. The story's setting went from the cold Arctic to a boreal forest to a windy, mountainous region--the author wrote the descriptions of all the places Cassie traveled through in a way that is beautiful, captivating and I can easily visualize it all in my head. All I can say about this book is that it gorgeous: the main characters are great, the settings described aesthetically and the book was written in a clean, precise, simple prose I like. However, this book is not without its flaws. I thought there could have been a lot more about Cassie's parents--their story was a secondary plot in the beginning but it was never developed and just kind of disappeared after a while. Also, I thought the ending was abrupt and it's one of those that could have used a epilogue to tie everything up including the parents' story.

I give this very lovely book 4.25 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to all looking to read an epic adventure type book with a great heroine.


  1. Thank you, this looks like a must read. Neat review!

    Bill ;-)

    Author of Back to the Homeplace

  2. Great review. I've held off reading this since I really love East and can't imagine how another book would compare, but your review makes me think that I should give it another try.

    WhatMissKelleyIsReading (http://bookitty.typepad.com)

  3. Sounds like an interesting book! Polar Bears are my favorite animals :)

    Thanks for the review!

  4. Wonderful review! And I love the cover! Thanks for sharing!

  5. when i look at the cover, i thaught; is this pullman the golden compas? but i thought wrong.and yes, this book really sound adventurous. i really want to read this.thanks for your review and suggestion!

  6. LOVE THIS REVIEW!! I cannot wait to pick this one UP!!
    I've placed my button on my blog :)
    Perhaps, if you have time, you could check mine out?


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