Ice by Sarah Beth Durst (review copy) - When Cassie was little her grandmother would tell her stories about the Arctic... about snow and ice, about a beautiful castle made of ice, and about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth to become a prisoner of the trolls. Cassie is older now and has no time for fairytales and talking animals, or lies about her dead mother.
Living with her father at the Arctic research centre, she is determined to become a leading scientist and researcher. But when Cassie comes face to face with a mysterious polar bear, one that defies all scientific fact or knowledge, she begins realise that the fairytales could actually be true. Armed with the knowledge that her mother might be alive, Cassie makes a deal with the Polar Bear King, and embarks on a dangerous journey against time to save her. But her agreement with the Polar Bear King comes with consequences she never bargained for, and before her journey's end Cassie will discover the true meaning of love and family, and loss.
A compelling romantic fantasy set in the beautiful frozen Arctic. From Amazon UK.
I really liked Ice! An updated version of the fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon, it was different from what I expected, but I’m not entirely sure what I expected. A girl who falls for a polar bear? Yeah, right, there’s going to be a twist there somewhere. And yes, there is a twist, but it does happen; a girl falls for a polar bear.
There is a whole lot more to this polar bear than meets the eye though. His magic abilities, for instance; how he can make food appear on a whim, how he can travel super fast, and his actual reason for being – to transfer souls from the dead to the newly born. He really is a great guy, is ol’ Bear, as he is called.
Then there’s Cassie, who just wants her Mum, who was taken away from her when she was very small. Bargains are made to save her life, but after a while, life happens, and things don’t go according to plan. Cassie’s life is turned upside down, and she finds herself on an unimaginable journey.
I cannot believe the strength of this girl. Seriously, first she has to accet fairy tales are real, and get used to that idea, and then when things go pear shaped, she has to go through so much, emotionally and physically. Her strength and determination are awe-inspiring. This is one tough chick!
As I said, I really liked Ice! At first, it reminded me a lot of Beauty and the Beast, where Beast is actually really nice. The novel is separated into three parts, but for me, it seems more like two; the first where deals are made regarding Cassie’s mother and then her time with Bear, and then the second part when things end up not so great. What happens? You’ll just have to read!
The book feels a lot like a fairy tale, even though it’s written to seem like this could actually happen. This is no bad thing, but it’s just not as urban fantasy as I thought it may have been. I equated a fairy tale that has been updated and modernised with urban fantasy. I suppose Ice could be in a way, the fairy tale elements are still there which make the story more like a cozy read that will leave you smiling than a story that will have you buzzing. It’s a nice cup of tea to urban fantasy’s glass of pop.
It really was a beautiful story, and at times, so much goes on, and it really does leave you wondering how on earth the story is ever going to get round to an end – you’ll understand when you read it. I highly recommend this book, it’s lovely, and such an great page turner. I’ll definitely be picking up more of Sarah Beth Durst’s novels.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster UK for sending me a review copy
Published: 29th Oct 2009 in the UK, 6th Oct 1009 in the US
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Buy on Amazon UK
Buy on Amazon US
Sarah Beth Durst’s Website
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My Fluttering Heart