Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

I have read several different retelling of the traditional “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” fairytale (also known as the Eros and Psyche myth), the most notable ones being East by Edith Pattou and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. This myth is one that really works for me. Now, having read Ice by Sarah Beth Durst, I’ve found another really great retelling of the story.

Ice is the most modern take on the traditional story that I’ve read so far. Cassie lives with her father who is a scientist at an Arctic research base. She’s spent her entire life on the ice, and she knows no other “normal home.” Ever since she was a little girl, her grandmother told her a story about how her mother made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away, never to be found again. As Cassie grows up, she understands that this was just a nice way for her grandmother and father to tell her that her mother had died in a tragic accident.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie spots the most impressive polar bear she’s ever seen out on the ice, and sets off in chase of it in order to tranquilize it and tag it for research. However, her world is completely shattered when the polar bear speaks to her and tells her that he is the Polar Bear King, and that her mother is still alive, trapped at the ends of the earth. He will rescue her mother on the condition that Cassie agrees to become his bride.

I very much enjoyed Ice. At first, I wasn’t too sure about Cassie as our protagonist. I didn’t like her all that much, but once the adventure really got under way I thought she was a great heroine.

The romance was nicely paced and through it, the reader really got to know the personalities of both Cassie and Bear. I thought it was romantic, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and altogether very well done.

Great new take on a traditional story.

How did I get this novel? From the library
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Fairytales, Romance
Author Website: http://www.sarahbethdurst.com/

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Impossible by Nancy Werlin

COVER impossible by nancy werlinRating: 6 out of 10
Summary: Lucy Scarborough is seventeen when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or to fall into madness upon their child’s birth. How can Lucy succeed when all of her ancestors have tried and failed? But Lucy is the first girl who won’t be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents beside her. And she has Zach, whose strength amazes her more each day. Do they have enough love and resolve to overcome an age-old evil?

Inspired by the ballad “Scarborough Fair,” this spellbinding novel combines suspense, fantasy, and romance for an intense and masterfully original tale.  

2nd Summary:  Lucy Scarborough, raped on prom night, is pregnant. Committed to keeping the baby, she nonetheless sees disturbing parallels to her mentally ill mother, Miranda, who had Lucy as a teen, then left her in the care of the Markowitzes-Soledad, a nurse-midwife, and her husband, Leo. Boy-next-door-type Zach, home from college and living with the Markowitzes, happens upon Miranda’s teenage diary, which outlines a curse placed on Lucy’s family generations earlier by the evil Elfin Knight: the women all give birth as teens before descending into madness. Lucy can break the curse only by performing three impossible tasks set forth in a variant of the ballad “Scarborough Fair.” 

My Thoughts: This was a fun, and had great suspense and ups and downs, although of course the ending is never in question.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Rating: 7 out of 10
Summary: Blessed—or cursed—with an ability to understand animals, the Lass (as she’s known to her family) has always been an oddball. And when an isbjorn (polar bear) seeks her out, and promises that her family will become rich if only the Lass will accompany him to his castle, she doesn’t hesitate. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle, which is made of ice and inhabited by a silent staff of servents. Only a grueling journey on the backs of the four winds will reveal the truth: the bear is really a prince who’s been enchanted by a troll queen, and the Lass must come up with a way to free him before he’s forced to marry a troll princess.

Commentary: A retelling of the traditional fairytale East of the Sun, West of the Moon (other versions are Cupid and Psyche, as well as Beauty and the Beast). I thought this was very enjoyable. The plot had a nice smooth flow and our heroine was strong and determined, as all heroines should be. Highly recommended.