Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Book Review: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Title: Ice

Author: Sarah Beth Durst

Where I Got It: Sent from the author

Pages: 308

Summary:

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.en 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.


Ice is such a winter read. Not because of the obvious snow factor. It just oozes cozy-wittle-snuggle-story. You know? The epitone of the phrase, "Curl up with a good book..." This is a good thing. Such a good thing.

To be honest, the summary makes Ice seem like some kind of bestiality love story. Cassie...she falls in love with a polar bear. There's no inching around that. Even if he is technically human. But Durst makes Cassie and "Bear" such beautiful characters, all at once both real and fantastical, that any yuck factor the story might have captured completly melted. For me, at least.

Cassie lives in a world of ice. She works with her father and his team--who seem to double as her family of sorts--studying polar bears and other artic life. Her mother supposedly died when she was too young to remember. But, one day, when she thinks she finds the largest recorded polar bear in existance, it reveals itself to be Bear, one of many protectors of all living things--in his case, the polar bears. He knows much about Cassie, including the fact that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the Troll Castle. He promises that he'll return her mother safely to the base, on the condition that Cassie be his wife. She agrees, convincing herself she could divorce him at any time. But then--you guessed it--they fall in lurv, ya'all.

My main quiff with Ice is that Cassie seems to aquire Bella Swan Syndrome, as in ready to leave her family, her home, her life at a moments notice for her "beloved". I get that. I do. But these types of things irritate me to know end. Not to mention confuses. I mean, okay, she goes off with Bear the first time to SAVE her family, and then, later, moments after realizing her mom ain't exactly the coolest cube in the icebox, not to mention awkward (hello, you try meeting your daughter for the first time in eighteen years), she decides to go BACK WITH BEAR, causing her family and friends momentous amounts of grief and anger. *grinds teeth*

My only consolation is that she does not, in fact, get a free ride, such as Bella Swan. She actually had to work for her happiness and, trust me, she payed for that decision.

*sighs*

So, other then that little misstep, I really did like Ice. The whole thing tied together very well, reminding me of actual fairy tales (it even sounds like a fairy tale: "There once was a girl who fell in love with a polar bear...")

Bear comes across at first like your typical Wise Elder Something-Or-Another who Knows All Sees All but is secretly Lonely. But, really, he is clearly not that very Wise (not a bad thing), does not Know All (not a bad thing), but it actually very Lonely (so not a bad thing). I loved him. He's romantic without being creepy, and keeps his boundries from his Love Interest without seeming gay (i.e. Edward Cullen). This was probably the first (and hopefully last) time I have ever swooned over a frikken polar bear. He was such a flawed, yet deliciously sweet character. I wanted to give him a huge bear hug (pun is so intended).

Though Cassie narrates (third person) I never really copped a feel for her character. I don't know, this could just be me, but I never really and completly connected with her. I know the entire point of the novel is Cassie and Bear, but I kpet having flashbacks to Twilight where it was all "zomg Edward where's Edward gotta find Edward EHHH!" It seems appropriate at certain points, but every couple of seconds it's "must....find....bear" I feel ridiculous for saying that, since the entire point is that she MUST FIND BEAR, but still. Purely objective.

Despite it's misgivings, I thought Ice was a completly enjoyable read. I was absorbed into the world of Ice and Bear. Everything came across as beautiful as it was described, even the not so beautiful things. I would absolutley suggest Ice too anyone. It's highly original and sets itself apart from every other YA title out there, and it leaves you with that nice feeling in the pit of your stomach all fairy tales should.

Rating: 7 out of 10 (leaning towards an 8)

Also: Is anyone else having a reeeaaalllly slow mail week?

2 comments:

ParaJunkee said...

This does sound like a good read...but WTF? a polar bear? So what is he a polar bear or a human?? or a human in a big polar bear suit? So confused, I guess I have to read it eh?

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

beautiful cover and I've been wanting to read this this book ..its on to read pile.

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