Marquise's Reviews > East

East by Edith Pattou
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This reimagining of East of the Sun and West of the Moon has a very good beginning, enhanced by the not so frequent technique (in retellings) of showing both sides of the story: the girl, her family, the enchanted bear and the Troll Queen. Quite intriguing, isn't it? Plus, it's historical fantasy rather than plain old-school fantasy, as the setting is 16th century Scandinavia, and the author uses a historical event from a century prior that's somewhat mysterious and apt for reinterpreting in fiction.

Unfortunately, once the story hits the middle of the narrative arc, decline settles in. The second half is terrible in comparison, and all ends in a rushed conclusion that leaves a sensation of emptiness rather than satisfaction despite the happy ending. By this point, the flaws in characterisation and storytelling begin to hit the story, and hit it hard they do. You begin to wonder why exactly it is that the brother and father of the protagonist have each their own POV, especially the father, who becomes just superfluous eventually, as the brother could've delivered all the father did just as well; and the brother gets too much onpage time, way more than the bear, who's the actual protagonist, and he also gets a bit of a side story all of his own that shouldn't take so much of the book as this isn't his story.

And then, there's the relationship between Rose and the white bear. It does start off credible enough, but soon becomes unbelievable. Why does Rose trust him so much immediately? And why does she end up falling in love with him? The little time they spend together, how little of his side is shown, and other characters getting too much of the cake influence this. It's very unconvicing for a love story, besides lacking couple chemistry, and pretty much you may believe they're together because conventions and the original fairy tale demand they be together.

Then there's the worldbuilding, that's just average if you look at it as a pure fantasy, but if you look at it as a historical fiction/historical fantasy novel, then the non-authenticity of the world is more obvious. If not for the insistence in describing the snowy landscape and throwing in words in the language of the locals, it wouldn't be that evident it's in the North. People travel unrealistically fast for the time period as well, showing that the author probably didn't do her research for this. There's a feel that the author isn't that familiar with Scandinavia and its languages, despite her including phrases and words in Norwegian, because she misses the correct spelling and umlauts, a frequent mistake by foreigners. People, when you're writing something in Germanic or Nordic languages, please do make sure to not miss those funny little marks over a vowel: they do have a function. And make sure the names you give people and places in your fictional world do follow the rules of your fictional world instead of names that don't feel authentic to the setting.
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Reading Progress

May 24, 2017 – Started Reading
May 24, 2017 – Shelved
May 26, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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message 1: by Manybooks (new) - added it

Manybooks It always drives me crazy when authors use say German words in a narrative and makes tonnes of spelling and grammar gaffes.

For example, both Adeline's Dream and Lotta's Progress are decent enough novels, but the vast and continuous amounts of German language mistakes really are massively annoying.


Marquise Manybooks wrote: "It always drives me crazy when authors use say German words in a narrative and makes tonnes of spelling and grammar gaffes."

Oh, yes! I find it annoying as well. The same happens with accent marks in Spanish, French and Italian, that authors don't seem to realise (or care to learn) that these aren't merely for guiding pronunciation but that when they omit the stress marks from a word in these languages, the meaning changes. A word can mean one thing with an accent mark and something completely different without it.


Calista Miller I completely agree with review. I loved the beginning of the book but a soon as the bear turned human I hated it and had hard time finishing it. As I said in my review it felt like the first half and second half of the book were written my two different people.


Marquise Calista wrote: "it felt like the first half and second half of the book were written my two different people."

Indeed, it does have that feel.


message 5: by Mir (new) - added it

Mir I bought this years ago because I like the fairy tale and the cover is pretty. Never read past the first couple chapters. I guess I can donate it to the library...


Marquise Mir wrote: "I guess I can donate it to the library..."

That'd be a good idea! I love the original fairy tale as well.

Speaking of which, do you have a favourite picture book of the fairy tale? Or any you'd recommend? I have some in my shelves, but am always looking for new ones.


message 7: by Mir (new) - added it

Mir I liked the Mercer Mayer one quite a bit, and there's a version that had the old Peter Christen Asbjørnsen text with pretty illustrations by P.J. Lynch.


Marquise Mir wrote: "I liked the Mercer Mayer one quite a bit, and there's a version that had the old Peter Christen Asbjørnsen text with pretty illustrations by P.J. Lynch."

The Mercer Mayer one is hard to find for me, I'm still waiting for my library to get it and the "Beauty and the Beast" tale also illustrated by Meyer. I just saw the PJ Lynch one finally is on Kindle! I'd waited for that one for ages as well.


message 9: by Mir (new) - added it

Mir I loved his Beauty, too. I had several of his books as a child; I'm sorry they don't seem widely available anymore.


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