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.
I'm always a bit iffy about books about people falling in love with animals, I am personally not keen on human & animal love, just an opinion of mine! (Sorry if that offends any readers). HOWEVER as I have read some amazing reviews and REALLY wanted to read it, I grabbed a copy from my college library.
First of all, let me say that i dove right into it. I was not expecting it to be so modern, I was expecting something a little more historical, not that it bothered me.
The storyline follows the original fairytale. In it, Cassie, a young girl who lives with her scientist father in the Arctic is taken away by a polar bear to become his bride. they marry, fall in love but he gets taken away, cue massive rescue story. I'm actually in two minds about how much I enjoyed it. The first half of the book was very enjoyable, with Cassie meeting Bear and their relationship progressing, but the second half was just boring, I skipped through it.
The characters were great, Cassie was strong, determined, loyal and intelligent. Bear was kind, romantic and loveable. Father Forest was scary. The trolls were... funny? I loved them all, Durst gives us a fantastic cast to fall in love with!
I liked some of the alter developments in the plot, I won't give them away, but I liked the twist Durst gae on a YA book. I didn't really like the development of the relationship as much as I could have. In my opinion it all moed very fast, and Durst does a time skip, so we miss months of what could be a very romantic plot, though I respect her decision to just get us to the more serious plotline, it did seem a little lazy though.
The ending was great, there was a well developed climax but i think the way that Durst wrote it made Cassie seem a little... mary sue-ish? She's saved her husband, worked all these problems out and then she does that? A little TOO perfect, you know?
What I will say is that, for a fairytale retelling, it adds a little originality to the plot, which is something many retellings lack.
A mixed reaction from me,
Overall rating: C
Stand alone/series: Stand Alone
Released: October 29th 2009 (Paperback)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Childrens
Book obtained via: Bought!