Title: Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow
Author: Jessica Day George
Number of Pages: 336
Genres: Romance, Fairytale Retellings
Books like it: The Rose Daughter, Beauty, Kissed
My favorite quote: “Love’? What do you know about love?”
"It’s at the heart of every story,” Rollo said with authority. “If humans could avoid falling in love, you would never get yourselves into any trouble.”
Brief Synopsis from Goodreads:
Blessed—or cursed—with an ability to understand animals, the Lass (as she’s known to her family) has always been an oddball. And when an isbjorn (polar bear) seeks her out, and promises that her family will become rich if only the Lass will accompany him to his castle, she doesn’t hesitate. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle, which is made of ice and inhabited by a silent staff of servants. Only a grueling journey on the backs of the four winds will reveal the truth: the bear is really a prince who’s been enchanted by a troll queen, and the Lass must come up with a way to free him before he’s forced to marry a troll princess.
(cont) When a great white bear promises untold riches to her family, the Lass (as she's known) agrees to go away with him. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle. To unravel the mystery, the Lass sets out on a windswept journey beyond the edge of the world. Based on the Nordic legend East of the Sun, West of the Moon, with romantic echoes of Beauty and the Beast, this re-imagined story will leave fans of fantasy and fairytale enchanted.
One of my favorite genres of the bookish world is fairytale retellings. The first books that I ever read as a kid were the brothers Grimm. I fell in love with their stories and grew up loving fairytales of any kind. My absolute favorite fairytale has always been Beauty and the Beast. So, naturally, since this book was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, I liked it for the most part. It apparently was also based on a Nordic legend, which I have never read and will have to hunt down on my kindle. Although this was an odd version of Beauty and the Beast, I could see the similarities.
In a land far away, a cold and harsh winter has stretched on for more than a hundred years. There lives a girl called the Lass, for she was the unwanted ninth child of a poor family, and her mother will not give her a name. Her oldest brother, Hans Peter returned from the sea so many years ago, but he is different. Changed, and sad. The Lass knows that he has a secret, too dark and cursed to speak aloud.
The Lass's life changes forever when a white bear, called an isbjorn, shows up at her doorstep and claims he will not harm her or her family if she will come live with him for one year and one day in a castle of ice. In return, he will give her family wealth beyond imagination. The Lass accepts and goes to live with the strange creature in the palace of ice. She finds that it has many deadly secrets, and as she falls deeper in love with the isbjorn, she discovers he is a prince who was cursed by an evil queen (of course). Can she save him before it is too late and she looses him forever?
Okay, so another big part of this book is the Lass's "gift." When she is young, she frees an enchanted deer and he grants her one wish. He gives her a name and kisses her forehead, which, as it turns out, gives her the gift to speak and understand the animals. There is a wolf named Rollo who is her pet and a big part of the story line.
In the very back of the book, there is a glossary on how to pronounce the names in the book. I suggest that if you read this book, go to the glossary when you reach a complicated looking name so you are not pronouncing it wrong the entire time. For example, Erasmus is pronounced er-az-mus.
Pros: This book had a sort of poetic flow and I liked the sense of storytelling in it. If you want more pros, I basically just listed them in the paragraphs above. Another pro is that you can read this story to little kids, like a chapter at a time just before bed or something.
Cons: I have read all of Jessica Day George's work, and it is cruel but the truth to say that this book is my least favorite that she has written. The reason that I could not give a very lengthy review for this one is because the start of the book drags on, and to tell the interesting parts would literally give away the ending. I was not totally interested until page 199, and until you get to that point everything is a slow drag. Page 200 and on for the rest of the book is pretty good, so just push through the start and you will be fine. So, true that this does have a lot of similarities to Beauty and the Beast and the tale West of Moon East of Sun, (which by the way, I did read while researching for this review) it is not the best fairytale retelling that I have ever read.
Review: 3 stars