She never had a name, this small girl, the last born in her family The daughter of a poor woodcutter, the child s mother is so disappointed to have yet another female mouth to feed that everyone refers to the girl as simply the pika Not having a name can be dangerous when you live in a land of trolls who d like nothing better than to snatch you away Fortunately, one day the pika frees a white reindeer trapped in the wood and it gives her two gifts as thanks a name and the ability to understand the words of animals The second gift seems great but turns against the lass when a huge white polar bear enters her home one night and demands that she come with him to his palace in the north If she does so for just one year then her family will be rich and she will be free to go back But what is it about this palace that seems so odd What do the strange inscriptions say Why do the servants disappear when she asks questions And why, oh why, is there a strange man sleeping next to her in bed every night I think that than almost any other fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon has always been one of my favorites It s this bizarre amalgamation of a bunch of different stories There s the man under a beastly spell like in Beauty and the Beast There s the girl looking at his forbidden face at night like in the tale of Cupid and Psyche And then there s the long journey as the girl encounters magical beings in a quest to regain the man she loves, as in The Snow Queen Stories where girls go out and get a job done appeal to me, and George s heroine is likable while still making the requisite mistakes needed to keep the plot going.
What George does well is to take the original tale, stick with it practically to the letter, and then explain some of the moments that don t make as much sense out of context For example, why would the troll princess love something as simple as a golden spindle or a golden carding comb Well, trolls have an obsession with human objects and try to act as human as possible sometimes That, in turn, reminded me of the polar bears in the book The Golden Compass, and so it goes The pacing is also pretty good, though I was surprised that it took us to page 181 for the lass to betray the isbjorn the other word for polar bear.
Of course, there aren t many moments of deep introspection in this novel For example, when the heroine makes a deal with the isbjorn on the condition that her family become wealthy, he promptly forces another bear to kill itself so that her no good brother can find the corpse and become rich You d think the lass would think long and hard about the consequences of her choices, but I suppose she has other stuff on her mind And for an all powerful Troll Queen who inspires fear in her minions, the final showdown between her and the lass is accurate to the original tale but may strike some as vaguely anti climactic when compared to contemporary fantasy face offs.
I also would have liked it if a little time had been spent examining the fact that no woman has ever stayed a whole year in the polar bear s frozen palace without somehow seeing his face at night Clearly this original tale was one of those curiosity killed the cat stories ala Pandora I don t know that it s a fair criticism for a story to make these days, though It would have been nice if George has spoken a little bit about how unfair it is to withhold the rules in a game and then blame a player for not following them to the letter Ah well.
In terms of age appropriateness, there s no reason in the world that a fairy tale loving ten year old wouldn t enjoy Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow Yes, part of the story involves a girl who keeps finding a man coming in and sleeping in her bed, but he s always full clothed and never so much as speaks to her Really, this is just an adventure novel couched in a great old tale The kind of thing everyone can enjoy, and many will.
For ages 10 17 If I read one young adult novel that features the hero physically overriding the heroine s will, I will set something on fire view spoiler When her bedfellow came in that night the lass was still awake Annoyed, she hopped out of bed as soon as he got in She tripped over her slippers, struck her arm on the divan, and shouted in anger I am not in the mood for you, she said between gritted teeth One of us is going to sleep on the divan She waited, but there as no answer Of course Fine then, I will, she snapped She yanked the white bearskin off the bed, dragged it over her shoulders, and lay down.
Her visitor didn t even wait until she had gotten comfortable before he got out of bed, picked her up, and tucked her in on her side of the bed She tried to jump back out, but he pinned her down When she finally relaxed, he let go and went to his side of the bed If this is part of the enchantment, it s a very stupid part, she griped But, tired and wanting to think over all that she had seen that day, she stayed in the bed Her bedfellow heaved a sigh that reminded her of Rollo and went to sleep.
hide spoiler This is a retelling of a Nordic fairy tale set in an atmospheric Viking world that follows a girl who can speak to animals and a bear who is a prince If you liked Uprooted, this is a wonderful lyrical tale in a similar vein.
In the old Norse lands long after the Viking raiders but long before the Industrial Age there lived a poor farm family with nine children Our heroine is the youngest of the nine, so little valued that her mother didn t bother to name her or have her christened.
The lass with no name indeed, she is referred to as simply the lass for the vast majority of the book is largely ignored, except by her well meaning, rather ineffective father who never stands up to his cruel, childish wife and her eldest brother, Hans Peter Hans Peter took a job as a sailor when the lass was five and did not come home until she was nine He returned prematurely aged and weighed by some secret trauma.
When she was twelve, the lass freed a magical white reindeer from a bramble thicket, and was rewarded with a name which she has never told anyone and the ability to converse with animals Soon she was adopted by a wolf pup named Rollo, whom she just about managed to pass off as an ordinary dog.
Now the lass is seventeen A giant polar bear has just appeared near her village Her spoiled brother Askeladden insists on hunting the beast, despite Hans Peter almost begging him to leave it alone or risk terrible supernatural wrath and then the bear himself bursts into the cottage, clearly a bewitched creature not in his true form He invites the lass to come away with him and live in a faraway palace for a year HP tries to prevent our heroine from sacrificing herself to the isbj rn, but she agrees in exchange for the rest of the family becoming prosperous.
For her, it s off to the distant enchanted ice palace, where she ll find friends, a suitor, a secret, and a hidden terror that no one dares to name Content Advisory Violence Three non graphic deaths are shown The most disturbing of these is when the isbj rn uses his magic to convince bully, really a regular polar bear into taking a crossbow bolt for him A troll dies when her magic death ray boomerangs on her Another troll decapitates one of his countrymen during a brawl A few lovable characters are killed out of sight Sex The crux of this fairytale is that the lass has to share her bed at the palace with an unseen man every night He never lays a hand on her or even speaks to her, he just climbs in on the other side of the huge bed and falls asleep, always gone in the morning One night the girl dares to reach for the visitor and feel about like a blind person, and is able to ascertain that it s a young human male When they reunite in the troll palace, they kiss a few times She spends the night in his chamber, but sex isn t implied even then Language Nothing at all Substance Abuse Nothing to worry about Nightmare Fuel Those trolls those huge, grey green, ghastly, brutal humanoids Especially Princess Ind ll with her fetish for human men She s captured countless unwilling husbands through the centuries, and most die under her watch It s unclear how view spoiler Hans Peter escaped, and whether his hair went grey from an evil enchantment or just stress This certainly explains why he s traumatizedthe book does not address if he got away before the marriage was consummated hide spoiler Long ago and far away in the land of ice and snow, there came a time when it seemed that winter would never end The months when summer should have given the land respite were cold and damp, and the winter months were snow filled and colder still The people said the cold had lasted a hundred years, and feared that it would last a hundred It was not a natural winter, and no one knew what witch or troll had caused the winds to howl so fiercely Sun and Moon, Ice and Snowis a classic fairytale retelling, steeped in myth and magic The tale follows a nameless girl the Lass, as she is known to her family who has the ability to talk to animals and is often overlooked and neglected by those closest to her When a great polar bear an isbj rn asks her to come and live with him for a year in his castle, in exchange for her family becoming wealthy, she gladly accepts Yet the bear s castle is made out of ice and serviced by a silent staff of servants, and nothing is as it seems Only a grueling journey on the backs of the four winds will reveal the truth the bear is really a prince trapped in an enchantment, and the Lass has only days to travel to the castle that is east of the sun, west of the moon and free him before he is married against his will to a troll princess So I actually went in thinking this was supposed to be a retelling of the traditional fairy tale Beauty and the Beast I didn t know it was supposed to emulate East of the Sun, West of the Moon, although I guess there are similar elements in bothBeautyandEastNevertheless, I think it might ve influenced my rating a little I saw some reviews saying this was really unoriginal and boring It was the complete opposite for me.
I loved the haunting lore of the medieval, icy North that was so rampant in this tale Something about the North has always fascinated me inexplicably, and there was something about this book that I couldn t put down Enthralling with many unexpected twists and turns, this book hooked me from the very first page to the very end Although the ending felt a little rushed, the story was still so beautifully written and the ancient tales of the Nordic lands only enriched it further Side note I really loved the names in this book Especially Princess Ind ll, the troll princess And there were so many words Jessica Day George used that had me all heart eyes This author and I definitely have one thing in common and that s our love for anything Northern, the cold region of the world where the wind never stops blowing and finding a white bear on your doorstep is almost normal Breathlessly magical and poignantly nostalgic,Sun and Moon, Ice and Snowexceeded my expectations by far, and truly embodies the timeless enchantment of the fairy tale it was hoping to emulate.
buuuuuuuuuuut because of my love for the movie The Polar Bear King , I can t help but want to read it over and over.
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 It is a fine thing, to set your sights on crystal towers and golden thrones, Hans Peter said quietly But first you had better see what lurks within those towers, and what sits on those thrones Every palace needs a foundation, Askeladden Make sure that yours isn t of human bones The lass didn t ask about his dire statement She felt strange too It wouldn t be just like old times Her father was injured, perhaps dying She knew some of Hans Peter s secrets, and the family s fortunes had drastically changed.
All because of a bear We must always have hope, child, the ancient princess said Even when it seems that there is none in sight 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 Haha, well Rollo don t know about that one 3.
5 stars A lovely fairy tale of sorts,It charms you fairly easily full of adventure, courage, and magic there are hints of Beauty and the Beast but it stands on its own just fine It is predictable in some ways but the way the story unfolds I didn t mind at all It didn t take long for me to fall in love with all of the characters and get swept up in everything that was happening.
I loved how our lass with no name didn t give up, and I didn t blame her for her curiosity even though I wanted to shake her a couple times and tell her to keep quiet And Rollo loved that Wolf Loyal, sometimes funny, brave I wanted to whisk him off and keep him Bit like Hagrid wanting a dragon though, not gonna happen There was a slow patch in the middle as the Lass went on her journey in one part of the story but I was still intrigued to meet view spoiler The Brother Winds, as I will call them Each different but fascinating in their own ways hide spoiler This review has been hard for me to write because the author, Jessica Day George, is a friend and not in some squishy, internet way, either, but in a book group, get together every month kind of way You wouldn t think that d make this hard considering that I enjoyed the book immensely and despite several strikes against it from a personal taste perspective, too The novel has a fairy tale feel, though in a solidly Norsk setting I don t know how better to name it it s northern with all the ice and cold and Viking like details, but not actually Viking or from an identifiable, known to me country As such, it has many unexplained fantastical elements and pacing designed to invite exploration and reader self insertion That kind of thing normally drops me out of a story.
But it didn t drag and my interest was fully engaged throughout I liked Lass she has no given name because her mother couldn t be bothered a great deal She was kind and care full and not in any cloying way, either She did her best with what she was given and didn t go in for a lot of poor me or moping It didn t hurt that her primary motivation throughout was love for her brother and a desire to ease the soul pain she could see was plaguing him so desperately.
And I looked forward to how she would solve the puzzles she ran into, as well The story maintained its fairy tale logic throughout so you knew or less why things worked or didn t and I never felt that the story cheated to be clever or sly or manipulative this even as Lass finds help from three kindly to her, anyway crones or manages to dragoon the four winds into doing her favors.
The one thing that fell flat for me, in the end, was the love story Lass builds close emotional ties to a number of creatures in the castle she visits One of those is closer than the others and you can kind of tell that her relationship with him is deeper and has meaning for her Unfortunately, most of the interactions where their bond is solidified are summarized or lumped together as a group in retrospect I didn t get the feeling that I knew enough of their relationship to participate in the romance of it So the payoff in the end, where Lass gets to leave her dreadful mother and live her happy ever after, was robbed somewhat of its impact Since I am an incurable romantic, I regret that missing dynamic.
Anyway, the book is a solid four personal stars and would easily merit five for someone in its target audience which is probably why this review was so hard for me to write for a friend I want to give it the five stars its target demographic would, but I can t really justify changing my rating policy just to benefit a friend