Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Book 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.

This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a very long time. The story glistened just as much as the lovely setting. The writing was so gorgeous. It made me laugh and made me cry. That’s how amazing it was. The descriptions were so spectacular. I’m amazed by how beautiful Sarah Beth Durst was able to make a bunch of Ice!

The journey and transformation that Cassie goes through is astounding. She starts out as a stubborn teenage girl and develops into a strong young woman. She endures unbelievable trials and manages to stay strong through it all. That’s something I’m completely astounded by.

***The rest of this review will contain content that could be considered as spoilers, but are a critical part of why I didn’t enjoy certain aspects of this book!***

(Oh, and I knew all this going into the book, and it all happens in the first 100 pages or so, so I don’t think of them as huge spoilers, but they kinda are at the same time)

So if you’re brave enough to read on, the biggest reason I didn’t like this book was Bear. He was controlling and brainwashing. Cassie wants desperately to leave the castle, but he convinces her to stay at the castle for a week. At the start of the following chapter, it’s been many weeks, and now they’re best friends. The reader missed out on any character/relationship development. And then she finally gets a chance to visit her family for a few days, but she can’t wait to get back to bear and ditches them, only bringing back some statistically stuff and birth control…

And then 3 magical months later, guess what? Bear manipulated her birth control not to work without even letting her know. So out of anger and curiosity, she wants to see what kind of weirdo would do that to her, and then poof, he abandons her (as these tales tend to go), and she goes east of the sun, west of the moon to save him, putting this lunatic, brainwashing polar bear above herself and unborn child. She doesn’t care about the fact that she’s thousands of miles from humanity and he didn’t even leave her an enchanted blanket or something.

And finally when they reunited at the end with their pretty little baby (who, I might add, is actually a troll princess), he doesn’t make it up to her in any way, and she even goes so far as to forgive him for looking at his face, while he doesn’t apologize for impregnating her and making her walk thousands of miles.

***End of spoilery portion***

Here’s a spoiler-free summary of what I just took up 3 giant paragraphs of complaining:

There’s no relationship development. Bear is a controlling jerk. Cassie is so brainwashed that she makes irrational and dangerous decisions. Things aren’t properly resolved by the end.

I’m kind of sad I didn’t like it more, because it seems like the rest of the world loved it!


Writing: 25 Characters: 15 Romance: 5 Plot: 20


  1. Okay, wait a minute. She has sex...with a polar bear?! *shudders* Please tell me he turns human or something or else I'll be disturbed for the rest of my life! Other than that disturbing thought, great review!

    All the best ♥
    Mackenzie @ Oh, For the Love of Books!

    1. Umm...yeah. Maybe I should've clarified for those not familiar with the original fairy tale. At night he transforms into a human and climbs into her bed. And she isn't allowed to look at his human form or else he'll be banished to the troll kingdom (which is obviously what happened).

      If you want a slightly less disturbing retelling of the same fairy tale, check out East by Edith Pattou and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. They're some of my favorite books ever, and interpret the tale a lot better (and there's actually some relationship development!)

    2. Hahaha omg! Thanks for clarifying! I was like "WHAT?!?". Yeah, I'm not familiar with this fairytale but I'll definitely check out those other books. It still sounds...interesting? ;)


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