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Review: Ice (Sarah Beth Durst)

The Deets:
Reading level: YA
Pages: 308
Publisher: October 6th 2009 by Margaret K. McElderry Books           
ISBN: 9781416986430
Genre: mythology, adventure, romance
Source: library book


IceWhen 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.


Amazing. Simply amazing. Another hit for Sarah Beth Durst. Ice was one of a kind and exceeded all expectations.

This has to be one of the best settings for a story that I have read in a long time. It was highly original. You would think that a story that takes place in the Artic tundra would be lacking in descriptive details and originality, but you would be wrong. The descriptions were amazing, and the setting was phenomenal. I have to admit that I was drawn to this book partly based on the location since I visited Alaska this summer. I was able to identify some of the elements mentioned in the story because I saw them with my own eyes. If the author has never traveled to this area, I am highly impressed with her ability to capture its essence. A+ in this department.

The characters were very uniques as well. Cassie is your typical strong-willed teenager, but she is different. She's the granddaughter of the North Wind and the future wife of the Polar Bear King. Yeah, you read that correctly. I will admit, as far as depth goes, there wasn't much. Cassie does grow and develop throughout the story, but that's the extent of things. I didn't really connect with her, but that's ok. The story line was so good that I didn't need to feel that personal connection. Ice read like a myth, which had me engrossed until the very end.

Sarah Beth Durst is known for her original stories. It never ceases to amaze me how she can write books that are so different from one another. Ice is not like any of her other books that I have read thus far. In fact, I would challenge someone to find a book similar to Ice.

If you are a fan of mythology, get ready! You will love all the subtle (and not so subtle) references to mythology hiding among these pages. On the surface, this is a highly original tale of Cupid and Psyche. Complete with the West Wind (in this case the North, South, and East winds) wisking Cassie (Psyche) off to a secluded location. The invisible servants in the original myth are very uniquely described trolls in Ice. There is also Inuit mythology scattered all over the place. You see mentionings of Sedna and Inuit soul keepers.

Simply put, read this. That's all I can say. It's amazing, and it will knock your socks off.

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