Book - 2009
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A modern-day retelling of "East o' the Sun, West o' the Moon" in which eighteen-year-old Cassie learns that her grandmother's fairy tale is true when a Polar Bear King comes to claim her for his bride and she must decide whether to go with him and save her long-lost mother, or continue helping her father with his research.
Publisher: New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, c2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781416986430
Characteristics: 308 p. ; 22 cm


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Dec 28, 2016

I love my retellings and it's hard to go wrong with my favorite, East o' the Sun, West o' the Moon. I've read a handful of retellings of that one, but this is the first time the retelling has been set in contemporary times. Yay!

Cassie is a smart, but mostly very dedicated/stubborn/persistent young woman, and she uses science and survival skills to beat the odds. There is magic, of course, but it was nice to read a retelling that relied more on the protagonist than on her assistants throughout her journey. Also, I love the idea of a moonaqsri and how Bear's magic is portrayed- it brings a sense of wonder into the science, or perhaps brings science into the magic, but either way, taking something that's a basic part of nature and blurring the lines between explainable and mystical is fun.

Bear, of course, is a love- funny, kind, patient, and earnest. It's easy to see how months with him open Cassie's heart....very much shades of Beauty and the Beast (as well as Eros and Psyche). I also thought the awkward separation between Cassie and her mother was handled well, given the circumstances. Although it felt odd that Cassie wouldn't miss her father and "uncles", her independence and self-reliance account for some of that.

It's clear that Durst did her homework on Arctic survival, polar bears, Inuit language (at least, I hope she did her homework there), and the adjacent biomes to the Arctic. Overall, as retellings go, this one was a fun twist on the original tale, and I recommend it for fans of East o' the Sun, West o' the Moon.

Sep 25, 2016

What the hell? This book was an absolute mess. I was initially intrigued by the setting of Arctic researchers and because I talked to the author and she was lovely. I hoped the book would turn the tired fairytale tropes around, where maybe the bear who kidnaps her and forces her into marriage and tries to rape her because 'that's what married people do' and magically negates the effects of her birth control so that she gets pregnant without wanting to would be the villain and not the romantic hero? Just a thought? He's also a literal polar bear for most of their marriage. She 'falls in love' with him while he's a literal polar bear. Past the tired sexist cliches I was so hoping would be subverted, the book dives immediately into the plot and solves the final conflict with a stern conversation and a bit of magic in all of 10 pages. This book was absolutely trite, offensive, and poorly written. An enormous disappointment.

kayla1108 Feb 03, 2014

Despite what the other comments said, I found this book extremely disturbing. For one although I liked the moral that love is not based on looks, I cannot say that I thought a human could love a polar bear (I just found that disgusting) the book was slow, and very non comprehensible.

tbone492 Aug 28, 2012

the ice was very cold and brick

Aug 05, 2012

Since I'm a fan of romance novels, I found this one particularly compelling to read, as it was more based on TRUE romance and not just a pretty face. I also happen to love fairy-tale retellings and this one was delightful! This book was a treat to read, and I honestly would recommend it to a friend.

I have read many variations of this tale because I love the story so much. I found this one interesting because it put an interesting twist to the trolls. Even so, I would have to say that I like Edith Pattou's "East" version best.

L0V3 Apr 13, 2012

i have read this book. its great. but is reccomended for young adults as it has some disturbing scences which may make younger readers disgusted.

Aug 15, 2010

I've read book with similar stories to this one. This one is in the middle. It isn't great but it isn't horrible either. You should only read this book if you're bored. If you want a really good version of this story read Jessica Day George's book. It's called "Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow"

Mar 07, 2010

I enjoy reading fairy tale re-tellings, and this one was particularly delightful, as it was based on a Norwegian fairy tale, and I had never heard of it before.
I was unsure if I would be able to get into a story where young women marry talking bears, but once I started to read the book, I realized that there was much more to the story than that.
The book is full of adventure, magic and romance in a story where a young woman risks everything, including her unborn baby, to get her husband back from the castle that is East of the sun and West of the moon.


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ocyliora Jun 01, 2013

ONCE UPON A TIME, the North Wind said to the Polar Bear King, ‘Steal me a daughter, and when she grows, she will be your bride.’”


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