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 time for make-believe.Okay so this novel was well, weird. Now weird doesn't mean bad exactly, it just means it was a little different. I mean, I admit my curiosity over the whole marrying and falling in love with the Polar Bear King thing is what drew me to the novel in the first place, but it is still a very weird premise in itself. However Sarah Beth Durst has not only made it work, she's made it quite beautiful.
Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back — if Cassie will agree to be his bride.
That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her — until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.
Its a sweet tale and I really did come to like Bear in the end, despite my misgivings in the beginning. Cassie, while not the most fascinating protagonist, was still quite likable. Their story is played out wonderfully and is the definite high point of this novel. The first half of this book reads a lot easier than the latter half- I sped through until about halfway and then it took my a few days to get through the rest. It just wasn't as interesting unfortunately. The ending is also quite rushed and unfortunately there are a few unanswered questions I still have about it and some other aspects of the story.
Altogether though it wasn't a bad read. It would have been better had the momentum at the beginning continued throughout the entire novel. Pick it up if you'd like something a little different from the usual YA novels out there.
Published: October 6th, 2009