This book is another retelling of the classic tale “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”. I got this through the Amazon Vine program which was ironic since last month I read “Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow” by Jessica Day George, another beautiful retelling of this classic tale. Overall I really liked this book; Durst did an excellent job at updating this tale to the modern day world. I have never read the original tale so I don’t know how true this version of the story stays to the original.
Cassie is an 18 year old researcher at an arctic polar bear research facility. Since she was little her grandmother has told Cassie the story about her mother, the daughter of the North Wind and how she made a deal with the Polar Bear King. As she gets older, Cassie realizes that this is just a nice way of saying that her mother died. That is until one day she tracks one unusual polar bear across the ice pack. She finds that her grandmother’s story was not a story but truth. Her mother may still be alive, but will she be brave enough to face the promise that will get her mother back?
This was a great re-telling. Cassie is a tough character and I liked her a lot. The Polar Bear King is also a wonderful character. The plot moved quickly and made this book an easy read that was tough to put down.
I also loved the mythos created around the Polar Bear King and the other beast-like keepers of souls. I am not sure if this was in the original story. But it was very creative and very different from how Jessica Day George dealt with the story in “Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow”. Durst did an excellent job modernizing this tale. She worked in the researchers efforts seamlessly with the Polar Bear King’s soul taking/giving duties. I love that she included modern cold weather technology and even little things like birth control. It was very well done and very creative.
Overall I liked this book a lot. Parts of this story remind me of “The Beauty and the Beast” too.
I didn’t give this book 5 stars because even though I liked it it was not something I would read again. There were also some inconsistencies. Especially with Cassies’s stages of pregnancy; I failed to understand how Cassie had morning sickness in her second trimester of pregnancy and not in her first, that was a little off. Also the second part of the book where Cassie goes seeking the Polar Bear King had a very different tone from the first part. All of the wonderful modernization that made the first half of the book so great fell off in the second half as the book transformed to a more traditional fairy tale.
A great story; I would recommend to those who like fairy tale retellings or fairy tales in general. I will be keeping an eye out from more of Durst’s works in the future.