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Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow

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"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.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published January 8, 2008

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About the author

Jessica Day George

28 books5,678 followers
Jessica Day George likes chocolate, knitting, books, travel, movies, dragons, horses, dogs, and her family. These are all things to keep in mind if you ever meet her. For instance, you could bring her chocolate to make the meeting go more smoothly. You could also talk about how adorable her children are, even if you have never seen them. You could discuss dog breeds (she had a Maltese named Pippin, and grew up with a poodle mix and a Brittany Spaniel. Right now she has a Coton de Tulear named Sunny). You could talk about Norway, and how it's the Greatest Place On Earth, and Germany, The Second Greatest Place On Earth. You could ask her about yarn, and indicate a willingness to learn to knit your own socks, if you can't already do so.

And, well, you could talk about books. Jessica's books, other people's books. It's really all about the books. To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld: Friends, family, school, they were just obstacles in the way of getting more books.

She would like it if books came with chocolate to eat while reading them.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,121 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,949 followers
January 29, 2019
*Buddy Read with my wonderful friends, Tammie and Laura 😊💕

This book was magical!!! It was even better than the book "East" me and my friends read!

I had this freaking paperback at one time but got rid of it when I was having a clean out, little did I know!! The paperback is now on my Amazon wishlist 🙄

So, she who shall not be named until the end of the book is a wonderful character. To make this short and to the point I’m going to sum up a couple of favorite things.

She goes out to find the white reindeer to get granted something wonderful. Well, she gets granted a bit more.

SHE can talk to animals!! Oh the joy!!! 😃💕. SHE’s also given a Wolf pup who grows up to be a best friend.

Then she goes with the bear as the story goes. She needs to help her family, most definitely her brother who has a secret and the bear and other creatures.

I loved everything about the book except a few parts I wanted to smack people but that’s nothing new!

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾


Profile Image for Betsy.
Author 8 books2,830 followers
February 22, 2008
As I see it, there are two different ways to adapt a fairy tale into a full-length novel. You can either reinterpret the entire shebang with a whole new spin on the formerly familiar (ala A Curse Dark as Gold or The Magic Circle) or you can take the essential parts of the original tale and just fill them out with some depth and padding (ala Beauty). Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow falls squarely into the latter category. Now if I was a fairy tale snob I might get all huffy that Jessica Day George's book stays so close to the original fairy tale East of the Sun West of the Moon. And maybe I'd even have a reason to object, if it weren't for the fact that George's text is just so enjoyable to read. Basically it all comes down to a likable heroine, a great story, wonderful Norwegian touches, and a tale that will age beautifully as the years go by. When it comes to adapting a fairy tale into a full-length novel, George writes with a steady hand.

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 more 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 more 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
Profile Image for Gail Carriger.
Author 55 books15k followers
June 6, 2018
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.
April 4, 2023
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 more. 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 Snow is 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 isbjørn - 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 both Beauty and East. Nevertheless, 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 Indæll, the troll princess. 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. 💗
Profile Image for Sarah.
237 reviews1,114 followers
November 7, 2018
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 isbjørn, 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 isbjørn 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 Indæll 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

Politics and Religion: The lass worries that her lack of Christian name leaves her vulnerable to dark magic.

This is a perfectly nice book. But it seems to have missed a big part of fairytale retellings: they’re supposed to offer at least a semi-logical explanation for the strange events of the story, not just stretch the story out and make it even more convoluted.

George’s take on the story raises several interesting questions, which unfortunately it does not answer. How did the trolls become so powerful and enslave all the other fantastical creatures? How do they capture so many young men for their delusional princess? Why such a particular, ornate curse? What happens to all the husbands?

The twist that is unique and deserves a lot more of the book. The profusion of fantasy races, a la Narnia and Harry Potter, is also unusual in fairytale retellings. And having a wolf for a pet is always cool. Unfortunately, the novel isn’t really interested in delving into any of these ideas.

The most interesting character is probably Hans Peter. The isbjørn is delightfully dry at first, but he loses his personality as soon as they reach the palace. His relationship with the lass is largely bereft of deep connection or even chemistry; they like each other simply because the plot says they must.

All that said, I loved the attention George paid to Nordic culture and language—you can tell she did her homework! It was also neat how the reader doesn’t find out the lass’s name until the prince does. And if you pay close attention to the mother’s dialogue, you’ll notice some Mrs. Bennet quotes embedded in there.

There’s nothing wrong with this book. It’s pleasantly written, squeaky-clean, fast-paced, and full of cute animals. Girls of a certain age will surely love it.

For a livelier take on the same story, see East by Edith Pattou.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for C. L..
340 reviews15 followers
February 6, 2014
If I read one more young adult novel that features the hero physically overriding the heroine's will, I will set something on fire.

Profile Image for mina.
687 reviews243 followers
September 15, 2019

I really don’t know how I get this bad luck. Beauty and the Beast is my least favorite story and this is my third and a half (read two short stories) read of a retelling... this year. Besides Beauty and the Beast vibes (which would be weird if it wouldn’t have those vibes) there was also a Cupid & Psyche vibe .

The writing is simple and easy to follow, although the main character is a young adult it felt more like it was written for a younger audience. The story had a fairy tale feeling, but even besides that it felt like it was missing something and I can’t say that it found that something by the end. If nothing else this retelling was interesting because it was set in the north and it had trolls.

After passing half of the book and feeling pretty indifferent about everything I started being annoyed by some of the lasses choices.
Profile Image for Ash.
382 reviews39 followers
May 28, 2022
first read: May 2013
first reread: September 18 - 23 , 2016

2016: I still really liked this book, though, being 27, I would say its a bit young for my liking.....buuuuuuuuuuut because of my love for the movie "The Polar Bear King", I can't help but want to read it over and over.
Profile Image for TL .
1,879 reviews53 followers
February 23, 2016
"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

The final battle/challenges near the end were fun to read but it felt a bit rushed to me and I would have liked an explanation more of some things.

The epilogue had me smiling, my inner cynic didn't even complain ;-)

Would recommend, a nice light read to lift your mood.
Profile Image for Angie.
645 reviews1,013 followers
February 21, 2008
In the fairy tale mood, I was looking for something to follow up Master of Shadows. Jessica Day George's Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow looked like just the ticket. A retelling of the East of the Sun, West of the Moon fairy tale, I was both excited and nervous. For various reasons I have a hard time getting into retellings of this fairy tale and, though I did enjoy Edith Pattou's East, I've been hoping ever since to find a version I liked better. And I found one. I first loved the cover. I like the profile shot. This girl looks like she's ready to take on the frozen tundra. The story follows a girl called "the lass." The last of nine children, she had the gall to be born a girl and, out of spite, her mother refuses to give her a name. The family refers to her as pika, or little girl. Her oldest brother Hans Peter is the one who calls her "the lass," and the two of them are the closest of all the siblings. The story follows the fairy tale pretty closely, but George manages to fit in some twists and new angles that I found very refreshing.

Many elements of this tale are a hard sell in a novel. The family who is willing to give their daughter up to a random snow bear. The girl who lets a stranger climb into bed with her every night and then falls in love with said snow bear enough to take on a troll queen to save his life. George's version of the tale addresses these issues to some extent. The girl is the unwanted ninth child (and a daughter) and therefore expendable. Particularly when the random snow bear offers wealth and opportunity in exchange for their daughter. The girl is lonely in the palace of ice where the walls smell of rotting meat and no one will answer her questions. After it becomes clear the stranger is not going to hurt her, his presence next to her at night is a comfort and a ward against loneliness. And when the lass decides to take on the troll queen, she is doing it not only for the enchanted bear, but the various servants who befriended her in the palace and then disappeared or died as a result of their kindness. I still struggle with the central relationship. It seems there's never enough of a connection for me. That said, the story desperately needed fleshing out and George rises to the challenge. Her deft touch with Norse traditions, language, and everyday life adds a welcome layer of warm reality to this icy tale.
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,997 reviews1,640 followers
September 4, 2012
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 more 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 more 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 more 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…
Profile Image for Tammie.
1,353 reviews158 followers
January 31, 2019
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.

This is the third version I've read of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon. I liked it just as much as the others. They have all been different and each one had its strengths. Unlike the last one I read, East which I thought was for older teens, this one was solidly in the younger age range for YA. It's a good retelling for anyone to read though. I liked the way the author incorporated the pet wolf into the story and that the main character had the ability to talk to animals. I enjoyed that this version had a compelling secret about the older brother, whose own story also is revealed in the book.

I'm on a mission to read all the versions of this fairy tale that I own. There is one more left. The main reason I started reading these is because I've got so many books that I own that I've never gotten around to reading. But now that I've started reading these I'm really interested in reading and comparing each of the versions of the story. Plus it has been super fun buddy reading them with my friends Melissa and Laura.

Review also posted at Writings of a Reader
919 reviews255 followers
February 9, 2017
I couldn't help but love this. East of the Sun, West of the Moon has long been my favourite fairytale, and there are myriads of re-tellings that never quite do it justice. A Court of Thorns and Roses is probably the most recent, and unfortunately the series only became incredibly good once the fairytale aspects had already been dealt with.

This re-telling kept everything good - the brave heroine, the trolls, the candle, the carefully crafted ending - and simply made sense of it all. The love still feels a little rushed (I wish more time was spent with the bear) but the time spent with the heroine's family is wonderful, and the girl herself, nameless though she is, feels real and engaging.

I'm beginning to collect re-tellings like these as it seems more and more likely that comparative literature is going to be the main part of my post-grad study. As simple and gentle as this is, I think it deserves a place among the better fairytale stories - and I would happily read it again.
Profile Image for jesse.
1,025 reviews99 followers
July 22, 2013

this version of east of the sun & west of the moon was a pleasant read.

pika, lass or whatever you might call her, lacked substance, meaning she wasn't a fleshed out character. all of jessica day george's books seem to have this particular problem. the author draws a strict line between evil vs. good, so the reader makes no mistake as to categorize who's the hero and who's the villain. which is a shame.

there is more than just one side to a person than that! i'm disappointed once again by george's lack of layered characters ...

if you want to read a modern and more importantly better version of this fairy tale. you should try reading ice by sarah beth durst!
Profile Image for Hymerka.
609 reviews102 followers
January 6, 2019
Що я очікувала: сувора, може, навіть жорстока північна казка, сніг і кров.

Що я отримала: мила, дещо наївна, місцями навіть іронічна оповідка, у якій чарівний палац з льоду обладнаний сучасними унітазами, зло перемагають силою ручного прання, а юна героїня при нагоді вміє зробити щось на кшталт кастета з підручних матеріалів.
Profile Image for Julie.
Author 63 books575 followers
June 24, 2008
The ability to tell a story with characters who have warmth, humor, and humanity to them is my greatest reason for loving Jessica Day George's work. Sun and Moon is a fabulous retelling of the fairytale: East of the Sun West of the Moon. The Nameless ninth daughter of a poor woodcutter saves a white deer and is given the gift of speaking to animals which leads her on an adventure where she's stuck living with a polar bear for a year and a day so her family can have wealth. Loved the book, love the moments of humor, loved the characters, and HATED that it all ended when I closed the book.

I love how our heroine was spunky and imaginitive enough to try to solve her own problems (even if she made a few things worse for herself) I can easily see fans of fairy tales placing this book on their "favorites" shelf. The writing was beatuiful and lyrical, and yet straightforward and simple to read, which makes it accessable to a wider audience. Loved it and cannot wait for more!
Profile Image for Anne Osterlund.
Author 5 books5,501 followers
January 15, 2012
The lass has no name.
But she has a gift. The ability to speak to animals.
And the inability to give up.

When the white bear arrives on her doorstep, promising her family wealth if she will live with him for a year, the lass says, “Yes.”

A promise that will take her west of the moon and east of the sun.

A fairy tale with echoes of Beauty and the Beast and Rose Red and Snow White. I particularly liked the Norwegian setting. From the lefsa to the white reindeer.
Profile Image for WhatIReallyRead.
725 reviews506 followers
February 23, 2019
When I picked up Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, I was unaware it was a retelling of the same fairytale as East by Edith Pattou was. So for a while, I was simply dumbstruck at how similar, or more like, absolutely the same they were. Even though I read East years and years ago and didn't realize I even remembered it all that well.

It was an okay read, overall pretty good, if a little simplistic. It didn't grab my attention in a special way or inspire any particular feelings. I guess I would have enjoyed it more, had I picked it up at a younger age.

However, I do have one bone to pick with this book. The Mother's character. I mean, why do fantasy writers keep making moms these evil, cold, uncaring, cruel characters who hate their children? It's not impossible, but it's pretty rare. Generally, moms love their kids very much, put in a lot of work and make a lot of sacrifices for them. Some gratitude from the kids would be nice. Instead of scorn and antagonism we see here. This book made its description especially laughable: they berated a wife of a poor woodcutter and a mom of NINE CHILDREN for being TOO IDLE. Um, yeah. I can tooooootally see that happening.

Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
July 11, 2015
Middle-school level retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon. I think I would have liked this much better when I was 13. For older readers who like fairy tale novelizations, Edith Pattou's East is a more complex retelling of this particular story.
Profile Image for Maria Zbroy.
98 reviews19 followers
February 12, 2019
Норвезький фольклор, як і український, найбільше містить історій про різноманітні прояви природних сил та взаємодію людини із ними. Тут можна зустріти тварин, що роз��овляють, вітер, який обертається на людину, зачарованих принцес і принців. Але що відрізняє скандинавські історії від наших - це тролі! Саме вони є причиною випробувань, які спіткають героїв казок, саме з ними героям не можна уникнути битви, і добре, коли людська кмітливість (і, часом, любов) перемагають.

«Сонце і місяць, сніг і лід» - це авторська версія норвезької народної казки «На схід від сонця, на захід від місяця», і тут тролі наробили лиха. Джесіка Дей Джорж вирішила додати деталей до короткої історії, що передавалась з вуст в уста з прачасів, і вона змогла створити чудову казку!

В центрі сюжету - сім‘я дереворуба з дев‘ятьма дітьми і не зовсім притомною дружиною. Чи то виснажена кількістю дітей, чи то в силу характеру, вона обирає за улюбленця третього сина (за повір‘ями, саме треті сини приносять родинам щастя та багатство), а наймолодшій донці не хоче навіть дарувати ім‘я. Дівчинка росте доброю, турботливою і безкорисливою, тому коли їй випадає нагода зустріти чарівного білого оленя, що виконує бажання, вона не просить скарбів. Натомість, отримує від оленя таке жадане ім‘я і дар розуміння мови тварин. То ж коли одного дня до бідної хатини навідується величезний білий ведмідь, дівчина розуміє його прохання: бути з ним у палаці з льоду один рік і один день. А для чого і чому - це дівчині доведеться дізнаватись самотужки.

Якщо ви знаєте казки про «Царівну-жабу», «Фініста - Ясного Сокола» або міф про Амура та Психею - ви швидко зрозумієте, що чекатиме на вас у кінці. Проте, навіть через передбачуваність сюжету казка Джесіки Дей Джорж не втрачає своєї чарівності. Ти просто занурюєшся із головою у магічний світ, де є міс��е фавнам і шелкі, ти ніби бачиш перед собою велич палацу з льоду і кожен знак на його колонах, чуєш стукіт ведмежих кігтів і сміливого дівочого серця.

Звісно, що зимі ця книга пасує якнайбільше, але дайте їй шанс у будь-яку іншу пору року, чари і дива трапляються в усі сезони!
Profile Image for ShaddaShk.
30 reviews5 followers
March 18, 2012
I had picked up this title because I had read other books on the legend of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon", the one I remember the most titled "The Lady and the Lion" by Jacqueline K. Ogburn. I loved the story of how slowly the Lady fell in love with her monster and then spent SEVEN years getting him back. That was devotion.

This book was an OK read. It started out lovely enough, the description of the main female character and how her life started, the continual winter and the hardships, all this was drawing enough.

But after that it didn't seem to go anywhere. The bear came, the youngest daughter went with the bear and the daughter tried to find out what the enchantment was. In some ways, it almost felt like the author had much more description and action laid out but then had to reduce to to just the lines of "They spent several weeks having dinner together and talking about the various books she had read."

Because of this, I didn't really feel like I had time to learn about the enchanted bear's personality or get attached to him in any type of manner. He was just... there. So when he did get whisked away by the troll princess I felt no sadness in it. There seemed to be nothing of him to fallen in love with for the main character except that for the fact that he had been a constant presence in her life for the past year and she had cried on his shoulder (as a bear) a time or two). In fact it seemed like she was doing it more for her brother then she was doing it for her own enchanted bear.

So when they finally did meet back up in the troll princess's palace, all the sudden hugging, kissing and crying seemed... a bit out of place. What was there to suddenly kiss the man who we've hardly gotten to know about? In fact, I had no idea if he was brave, had a temper, disliked dancing... I knew nothing about him and so felt out of place when the main female character made such a deal about him. This more then anything else made the book a one-time read only for me.

And then, just as it seemed like it was starting again... the story ends.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ksenya.
107 reviews89 followers
January 12, 2019
Дуже атмосферне зимове читання! Казка на 400 сторінок, яка захоплює норвезькою міфологією та романтикою. Якраз те, що треба, коли навколо така зима!
Profile Image for Misty.
796 reviews1,230 followers
March 18, 2010
The lass leads a lonely life. She lives in a remote little Norwegian village that is blanketed by a strange, never-ending winter. Her mother refused to name her, and she is largely disregarded by all but her father and her beloved eldest brother, Hans Peter, who seems to the lass to be hiding a deep pain. But when the lass is blessed with the strange ability to be able to speak to animals, her life begins to change. People of all kinds seek her out for help -- and then, so does an isbjorn, a massive polar bear with a trouble and a loneliness of his own. When the isbjorn promises the lass that her family will be wealthy if she will agree to live with him in a remote castle for a year, the lass agrees and finds herself in a strange palace of green ice, waited on by even stranger servants. But the plush surroundings mask a dark secret, and soon the lass must decide to risk everything she has ever wanted for something she never knew she could have, and embark on a fantastic and daunting journey that has the potential to change the world in which she lives in this well-wrought retelling of the tale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon".

It's hard to write about something when it's either very bad or very good, so this will be a (fairly) short review:

There is very little I didn't love about this story.

Something to understand about me: I am a tabber. I have a crazy amount of those little post-it flags in just about every color, and as I'm reading I tab things I like or want to be able to find again. There are no tabs in this book -- I flew through it too fast, and was too absorbed to reach for the tabs.

Jessica Day George followed her passion and chose to study Norway, and that passion shows. She crafts a story that is layered and has depth beyond what is generally seen in a fairy tale or retelling. The traditional elements are there: the downtrodden heroine who, it turns out, has some pluck; the rags to riches; the fantastic element; the danger and tension; the family dynamics, good and bad, and the sort of "karmic" balance -- everything works together to create one of the strongest retellings I've ever read. George's love of Norway and fairy tales help her create a rich and believable base for a story that shines and flows beautifully. Things are well developed and rich. It is very visual and alive, and thoroughly enjoyable. The romance-aspect was enjoyable and not at all creepy, which I was initially worried about.

The only drawback for me was that, compared to the rest of the story, the end felt a little rushed and underdeveloped. It wasn't a complete bust by any means, but after so much layering and depth, I would have liked to see that followed through to the conclusion; an opportunity to pack in a bit more oomph was missed, but this should not at all keep you from picking up a copy. Now.

The "Beauty and the Beast"-esque story that is "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" has captured many writer's pens lately, but I have trouble believing that any of the other retellings will top George's.

I really didn't mean to write a rave, but sometimes, that's what happens.

Bonus materials here, and a brief Teaser Tuesday reading here
Profile Image for Bibliothecat.
608 reviews59 followers
October 21, 2017

“Never look back, never forget.”

When a great polar bear offers her family fortune in exchange for her living with him for a year, the lass, who had never been given a name, agrees. Not only is the polar bear and his palace of ice more than what they seem, they also hold secrets over the curse that has been laid on the lass’ oldest brother. In order to save her brother, friends and the great polar bear, the lass must now solve the riddles of the ice palace and travel east of the sun and west of the moon.

This was the first time I read a book that was recommended to me by someone on Goodreads. It was a fun book to read and kept me well entertained – there were several times where I did not want to stop reading. After finishing the book, I found that my thoughts on this tale can be put into likes and dislikes quite easily.

What I really liked was the winter atmosphere. The book was set in a Norway where winter never ends and one could tell that the author did research and added several nice details. It gives the whole book a cultural touch rather than being a fairy tale set somewhere in Europe where the actual setting would be interchangeable.

One of the strongest points of this book was the mystery. I think the author did a great job with building up to the mysteries – solving them slowly and adding new ones timely. It was really the mystery that made me want to keep on reading. It was great how the author kept coming back to little things and giving them importance later on.

I had mixed feelings about the characters. It seemed as though characters were either good or bad – I did not feel as though there were any complex character traits. That being said, I think the lass’ oldest brother, Hans Peter, was probably the most complex of them and I liked him the most. In fact, his story was more exciting than the lass’ own adventure. I am glad that the author worked with both of their stories at the same time as I might have enjoyed it less otherwise.

The relationship between the lass and Hans Peter was endearing. Right from the early chapters down to the last – I just loved these two siblings. And I am almost sorry to say that I felt that they had the greatest bond. The romance of this story was totally lost on me. I felt a closer family connection than the one between the lass and the one she loves. Her interest in her loved one seemed awfully sudden. I did not feel as though there was any interaction between the two that seemed romantic in any way. I think that was my biggest disappointment; I really was hoping for a nice romance for the lass.

It is a little hard going into what I did not like without spoiling anything but; I did actually like the lass’ prince. His character only seemed to come through towards the end and I did like what I saw. But that was it, there was too little of him and too late to make much use of. I generally felt that the later chapters of the book were less detailed and almost seemed rushed. I also felt as though there were plot holes. Okay, calling them plot holes might be saying a bit much but there were a few things where I would have loved a better answer for; what exactly is troll magic and why is it so bad? What really happened to all the servants? Where were they taken from? How did Hans Peter escape? How did the polar bear get involved? What became of the old women once everything was over? There are so many things I still would have liked an answer to. Sadly, all I can do is guess.

I also thought that the lass’ brother, Askel, and their mother were horrible characters. To the end, I hoped that they would learn a lesson or two – but for all we see, they don't. And that was disappointing. It is not that they were evil like the trolls, but their behaviour was infuriating – it was so frustrating that no one ever stood up to them.

But all of that aside, this was a very nice fairy tale and a great read for when it is cold outside. If there had been a tad more romance I probably would have loved it. But then, the mystery and family ties around it made it a very worthwhile read.
Profile Image for Katrusya.
128 reviews21 followers
February 3, 2021
"навіщо гнатись за кимось, кого не плануєш з'їсти?"
July 27, 2016
This was another light and quick read! Definitely something I needed after some books that I’ve read this month.

This book has enchantments! Trolls! Talking animals! Talking winds! More talking animals! And the writing style was great! Personally, I think if I were to ever reread this book again, I’d listen to it on audiobook because the author does such a great job of writing this is a fairytale tone. I really like her writing style.

Also, best acknowledgments that I’ve read in a while:
This book was made possible by the letter “ø.”
Hehe, that was funny (and mostly true).

I thought the pika was a great female lead. She did naturally what I think I would’ve done in her place. But she learned from her mistakes, and she was strong and determined to do what was right.
“That is because you are nothing more than a foolish human child,” the west wind retorted.

“And you are nothing more than a rude little breeze, blowing sand in my eyes and quivering,” the lass snapped back. She had not come this far just to be turned away by a
You go, pika!

Putting things together and seeing how everything connected was really interesting. I liked the isbjørn and Rollo a lot. And I want an older brother like Hans Peter!

A really enjoyable story with great characters and writing style throughout. Pick up this book if you want to read something light and fairytale-ish! I think this should be read as an audiobook though, just because the writing style felt really nice to listen to.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,520 reviews8,989 followers
June 27, 2009
I gave this book five stars after reading it a couple of years ago, but now I'm moving it down to four. I don't think it was as great as the other books I've given five stars, why is why I'm lowering its rating.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow is a retelling of the Norwegian fairytale East of the Sun, West of the Moon. I had never been exposed to the story before, so I can't really compare the two - however, I did thoroughly enjoy this book. Jessica Day George keeps the plot moving without sacrificing key elements of the tale, and it was easy to get lost in her vivid descriptions of the snowy setting.

Recommended to anyone who's looking for a solid fairytale retake or a decent young-adult fantasy novel.

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