Sarah Beth Durst
Pub. Date: October 2009
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.I thought this was a fantastic adaptation of the Norwegian fairytale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon". She successfully brought the story into a modern setting while creating a world full of beauty and magic. Durst was able to add more to the story by creating a subplot about the Polar Bear King's duties to polar bears. The Polar Bear King is given a personality and responsibilities that make him a sympathetic character to readers, making him more than just a beast who captures a beautiful girl. Cassie is a strong female character who fights for what she believes in no matter how dangerous. Even though there were points where I wanted to slap her, by the end of the book she had developed from a girl to a young woman. I know this all sounds very vague, but I don't want to give away the plot. Her actions at the beginning of the book are those of a girl, but through her experiences she becomes a women who is able to achieve the unthinkable. This book was fast paced and I had trouble putting it down. Cassie's journey took me through incredible places that Durst was able to bring to life through her writing.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, romance, and adaptations of fairy tales. Durst is author of "Into the Wild" and "Out of the Wild" which are supposed to be fantastic books. They are for a younger audience, but I know many teens enjoy these books as well. If you want to hear more about the author or see excerpts from her books then go to her website here. I was lucky enough to meet Sarah at a signing she did at my store when "Out of the Wild" came out. She is really sweet and I enjoyed learning about her books. I can't wait to see what she writes next! I also recommend checking out the fairy tale that the book is based off of. I hear there are also beautiful picture books of this fairy tale.