Ice will be published in the UK on the 29th October
Cassie has been brought up in the Arctic with her father, a polar bear researcher. When she was younger, her grandmother would tell her stories of how her mother had been taken to the kingdom of the trolls when Cassie was only a baby. Now almost eighteen, she knows this is just a fairy story but this doesn’t stop her from imagining life with a mother. The day before her birthday she tracks the largest polar bear she’s ever seen. He’s fast and she loses him at a wall of ice she could have sworn he just walked into. As Cassie begins to learn the truth about this unusual bear she’s plunged into an adventure full of magic. Her past is entwined with this huge polar bear and Cassie has to decide how far she would go to bring back the mother she doesn’t remember.
This modern day fairy-tale is a good read. Sarah Beth Durst has created a modern world full of hidden magic, yet remarkably has also managed to achieve a fairy-tale quality to her writing. Bear’s history is far more complex than the usual ‘I did something wrong so the fairy turned me into a bear,’ consequently making the character himself more interesting, though I’d have liked to have learned more about his past. Cassie is a strong main character struggling with the impossibility of this new world she’s found herself in.
The new mythology Sarah Beth Durst has created fits seamlessly into descriptions of the modern world, perhaps because Cassie’s existence is so isolated and different from most other peoples’. Apart from filling the modern world with unseen magic, I have to say I didn’t find the book too special. The 'circle-of-life' theme was rather sketchy and the plot was predictable - there was nothing too surprising in there. But then, aren’t all fairytales like this? And don’t we just enjoy them for what they are no matter how many times they are retold? I know I keep reading them.