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3.70  ·  Rating details ·  7,036 ratings  ·  838 reviews
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 ti ...more
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (first published September 14th 2009)
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Mrsbooks Yes. My understanding was he could take any shape. He did grow up as a human child though before he took his place being a polar bear.
Raven it's extremely similar I agree, however, Psyche and Eros is greek and East of the sun West of the moon is Norwegian.…moreit's extremely similar I agree, however, Psyche and Eros is greek and East of the sun West of the moon is Norwegian.(less)

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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,036 ratings  ·  838 reviews

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Jun 16, 2011 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fairytales
This is a retelling of East o' the Sun, West o' the Moon, which some of you know I have also retold. (My version is called Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow.) I have been curious and excited to see Sarah Beth's take on my favorite fairy tale, having loved Edith Pattou's East as well.

So how is it?


Ice is set not in Ye Olde Tymes, but in our century, and begins at an Arctic research station. Cassie has been raised there by her father, the head of the research team, and dreams only of continuing on
Jul 19, 2011 rated it liked it
There was a point, about 70 pages in, where I almost gave up on this book. I said (not out loud), "Wait, they're not going to storm the troll castle and rescue her mother? They're just going to hang around the Ice Palace making small talk? What is this, a rip-off of McKinley's Beauty with less interesting characters and prose?" But no, Stuff does happen, and I guess that slow part may be necessary for the reader to understand why Cassie is bored and lonely. Although personally I need no elaborat ...more
Beautiful story, but I disliked the romantic aspects. The relationship between Bear and Cassie felt rushed, and in some ways was quite creepy. The Bear used his magic powers to forcibly impregnate her. Cassie had been taking BC because she had no interest in children, yet without telling her or asking for her consent, the Bear "fixed" her "chemical imbalance" caused by the pill using his magic and she was three months preggers before he told her what he had done. I guess this is the paranormal r ...more
Tamora Pierce
Mar 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-ya-yr
A retelling of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon," from the point of view of a young woman who has been raised as an Arctic researcher, specializing in--surprise! Polar bears! All her life Cassie has been told by her father that her mother died. The only differing opinion came from her grandmother, who used to tell her of the bargains made for and by the Polar Bear King, about Cassie's grandfather the North Wind, her mother who was stolen and hidden in the trolls' castle, of Cassie's own birth ...more
Aug 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
ICE is a beautiful and shivery tale of sacrifice and love with a strong-willed heroine who reminded me in the best possible way of Anne Shirley. The action had me turning pages automatically, but of course I slowed to savor the romance! Highly recommended, and just in time for the winter season. ICE will appeal to fans of Shannon Hale and Juliet Marillier.
Irene Sim
UPDATE 04/26/2017:
For Readathon-2017 1/26
In the category "A myth or fairy tale retelling"
Woman author: 1/14

I have mixed feelings about this story. I found it too far-fetched even for a fairy tale. It was a decent attempt from the author, the writing was pretty good but the heroine was too immature, too arrogant for my liking. The decisions she made were all in the impulse of the moment taking unnecessary, stupid risks that endangered others as well as herself. I know that everything turned out
Oct 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: retellings, fantasy
I've already read the other two retellings of east of the sun, west of the moon (or was it the other way around?). I thought for sure I was going to love it like I did the other two but it didn't capture me as much as I had hoped. It is still full of romance (more so than the first two) and adventure. I can say that Durst is a good writer. She captures great scenes like the castle and I could vividly imagine characters like Bear. Durst shows real creativity in whole concept of "MOON-awk-sree". I ...more
Jul 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cara by: Ash
I was way beyond excited when I heard this book was going to come out. Frankly I was downright giddy with excitement. Like many other reviewers have mentioned I had already read East and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow so I'm already familar with the old Nordic tale. I'm not going to say I didn't like it, I did, but it's hard for me to give it a hearty recommendation.

Cassie is a modern girl, but in her own way is quite different from your "normal" teenage girl. She has been raised by her father and h
Jul 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
Just OK.

The good: This retelling of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" is fresh because Cassie is a modern girl who grows up on an Arctic research station. The underlying mythology (Munaqsri, trolls, etc.) is well developed and interesting. Also, the German cover is GORGEOUS.

The bad:

The romance (or more to the point, what romance?). The relationship between Cassie and Bear was rushed and there were no substantive interactions between the two. We weren't shown enough for even a friendship, let a
Kaethe Douglas
Probably I should start out by saying that I didn't know the fairy tale this is retelling, although I know similar ones (lots of overlap if fairy tales). The first part gives us a pretty normal modern teen, thinking about college, what to do with the rest of her life, etc. She happens to live in an arctic research station, researching polar bears. And then all fairy tale breaks loose, and life as we know it turns out to be really weird.

We pass quickly through the Beauty-and-the-Beast alone toget
Dec 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of fairy tale retellings, especially East of the Sun, West of the Moon
As soon as I heard about Sarah Beth Durst's retelling of the East of the Sun, West of the Moon fairy tale, I felt that old familiar tug. I've read Edith Pattou's East and Jessica Day George's Sun and Moon Ice and Snow and enjoyed parts of both of them very much, though neither captured my imagination the way I really wanted them to. You see, as it is basically a Norse version of Beauty and the Beast, I've always felt I ought to love this fairy tale more than I do. But I've been vaguely but persi ...more
Nemo (The Moonlight Library)
See this review and more on The Moonlight Library!

This novel is based on a lesser-known Norwegian fairy tale, and though I’d never heard of the tale before, this retelling was wonderfully imagined. I can’t say how much is Durst’s imagination, because it’s based on something else already.

Ice is a novel not without its flaws: to me, it promotes bestiality, domestication of women, Stockholm syndrome, and the disturbing fallout from Twilight's bland Bella’s grand ambitions: to give up a promising fu
Steph Su
Jun 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Please excuse me if I break from my usual review style for ICE. That is because I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK. It had everything I wanted from a book of its kind: a feisty female protagonist, epic adventures, luscious writing, and the kind of romance that stops hearts and makes you remember why romance exists in the world. It was love at first sight for me and this book, and our love will continue to evolve and endure as long as my memory does not fail me.

From the first page, I was ensnared by Sa
Svetlana Dyachenko
Apr 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Actual rating: 2,6 stars

This is another retelling of the Norwegian fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and it is not the best retelling of this fairy tale. If you want to enjoy this story, then you should try to read East by Edith Pattou.

Well, the first part of the book was pretty good. It was sweet and funny. I liked the relationship between Cassie and Bear. (the main characters) It developed slowly and passed the phase of mistrust, then the phase of friendship, and ultimately the
I don't think I'll ever get enough of this story. East of the Sun, West of the Moon is my favourite fairytale of all, and this is a particularly interesting re-telling. I loved the inclusion of science, and the blending of myths from around the world, but somewhere near the end it all got a bit carried away. The characters felt a bit off at times too, or the language never quite matched up to the maturity of the story. Still, a lovely effort.

I did miss the golden carding combs, but I think the f
Sara Saif
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it

I didn’t know it until after I read the summary of the original fairytale but East was pretty much exactly the same as the original East of the Sun West of the Moon story. Ice deviated a lot, it was just as addictive but a bit odd, honestly.

The book is divided into neat halves. The first half is enchanting, full of ice castles and dangerous expeditions and while there’s a talking bear and all, it’s still grounded in reality. The second half is a riot of magic and strange things, it’s a complete
May 14, 2010 rated it did not like it
Once again Durst tries her hand at mixing 21st century American teenage attitudes and modern technology with retold fairytales. This time it doesn't work very well. The story is an interesting idea, but Durst struggles with the prose about two-thirds of the way through. She tries to put too many adventures and too many messages in too small a space and as a result her characters begin to flatten as the story progresses and her description falters and becomes choppy and rushed. The transformation ...more
Renee Thomas
It started out with an interesting concept, a fairly likeable heroine, a unique and detailed environment and some classic fairytale elements to admire. Even if I never want to venture into the Artic and make my living on the ice fields, I could admire Cassie's resiliance and her determination to focus on what she loves, and work for it. The opening chapters really seemed to set the stage for a quite different adventure and journey to take place.
Then, along came the central relationship developm
Celia McMahon
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a trip! I have read quite a few East of the Sun, West of the Moon reimaginings, but this one takes the cake by far.

First off, it's set in modern day Alaska. Cassie lives with her father at a research center, tagging and tracking polar bears, of all things. (insert winky face) She'd grown up hearing stories of the Polar Bear King and how her mother had been swept away to the troll kingdom. It turns out; all that stuff was real. Coming to collect his bride, Bear takes Cassie to his home in a
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Another one where I just realized I never posted my review @ GR...

Cassie doesn't believe in fairy tales. Sure, Gram used to tell her that bedtime story about how Cassie's mother was stolen away by the North Wind and imprisoned by trolls. But Cassie, who lives with her scientist father at a research station in the Arctic, has every intention of following in Dad's logical, analytical footsteps. She has no time for fantasy. And besides, as she grew older, she realized that "stolen by the North Wind
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sarah Bean the Green Bean Teen Queen for

Cassie has grown up on an Arctic research station in Alaska with her father. She's been told stories of her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and is now imprisoned by trolls.

Cassie is eighteen and doesn't believe in Polar Bear Kings or trolls anymore - it's just a nice way of saying her mother died. But when she seeks out a polar bear that starts talking to her and promises he can return her mother if she would b
Stacia (the 2010 club)
Chalk this book up to a lesson learned. I thought that my reading had been pretty diverse lately, until I realized that I started to get disturbed at the beginning of this story, which is a cross between a fairy tale retelling and a traditional fantasy. Why was I disturbed? Because the heroine started to develop feelings for a talking polar bear.

I realized that I have been reading WAY too much PNR and UF when something that should be a sweet fairy tale starts creeping me out because the bear isn
Blodeuedd Finland
Oct 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I have always loved the tale East of the sun, west of the moon, and that is why I wanted to read this re-telling.

It's a modern version. Cassie learns that those fairy tales she heard from her grandmother are true. Her mother is being held by trolls, and Cassie is promised to the polar bear king.

Cassie was a clever girl. She lived at a arctic research station so she knew the wild (which is needed later on).

The story, well if you know the basics of the other story then you know this one. With a fe
Nov 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gokce ~Muslin Myst~
This book is based on an old Norwegian fairy tale called 'East of The Sun and West of The Moon'. My acquaintance with this story goes back to a collection of erotic short stories based on fairy tales, Enchanted: Erotic Bedtime Stories For Women. Before that, I've never heard of this tale and I was pleasantly surprised when I realized what story this book was based on.

The original tale tells the story of the daughter of a poor peasant who's given away by her father to the White Bear in exchange
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Make sure to break out your winter coat because you are in for one epic Arctic adventure! ICE is a beautiful, engrossing tale of impossible love and sacrifice that drew me in right from the very first page.

Cassie is the eighteen year old daughter of an arctic research scientist who has long forgotten the fairy tales her grandmother told as a young child. Her grandmother had told her that Cassie's mother was imprisoned by the trolls after making a deal with the polar bear king. Cassie had come to
That 3 stars is a semi-accurate average of what I felt overall - 5 stars for the descriptions of the Arctic and 1 for the - using Sherwood's words here - "deep down underpinnings" of the book. From LJ write-up:

I love "East of the Sun, West of the Moon", and the idea of an Arctic research station as the (initial) setting for the story is fantastic. As are the descriptions of the Arctic. I liked Bear a lot too, as he had a lovely dry sense of humour. But the whole Guardian thing made my skin crawl
Oct 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love unconventional love stories! I was amazed by this story. It was one of the most beautiful tales I've read in a long time--a wonderful fairy tale. The writing was not only beautiful but the plot was intriguing that I had to keep reading and didn't want to put the book down. The depictions of the world in the book were described in a way that I felt I was there in the cold arctic (I recommend reading this with a cup of hot chocolate or else you might be shivering).

The romance was wonderful.
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Word game!! 1 5 Jan 14, 2015 09:19PM  
Does anyone else love this book or is it just me? 12 47 Jan 09, 2015 08:48PM  
YA Reads for Teac...: Ice - Sarah Beth Durst 4 21 Jan 30, 2011 04:30PM  

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Sarah Beth Durst is the award-winning author of over twenty fantasy books for kids, teens, and adults, including Spark, Drink Slay Love, and The Queens of Renthia series. She won an ALA Alex Award and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for SFWA's Andre Norton Award three times. She is a graduate of Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dra ...more

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