Ice by Sarah Beth Durst: Book Review

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Cover of Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

4 Stars

Cassie Dasent is growing up in an Arctic research station with her dad and his team. Her grandmother has always told Cassie stories about her mom and how the family lost her to the North Wind and the Polar Bear King. When Cassie was younger, she believed these stories, but as she’s grown older, she hears them as a metaphor for her mother’s death.

Until she meets the Polar Bear King.

Cassie has a chance to save her mother. All she has to do is marry the King. Can she be that brave for a woman she doesn’t even remember?

I enjoyed the way that this fairy tale has such a very scientific background. I forget sometimes, but I did earn my biology degree back in the day, so to have that mixed in with a fairy tale was absolutely perfect for me. Don’t get all weirded out by that. There’s nothing difficult to understand (I promise), it’s just that Cassie has been trained as a scientist all her life and suddenly she’s in the middle of a fairy tale. I liked seeing her adapt to that and shift her world view. I also liked the way that her training made Bear’s job easier. Now that I think about it, having the book set in the modern world makes me feel like magic can be around any corner. And isn’t that nice to think about?

I liked Cassie as a heroine because she was feisty and because she took this changing world in stride. She knew what she wanted to do and she went for it. Absolutely nothing stood in her way.

I even liked Bear and how much he cared about his duties. There is one scene that really bothered my latent feminist tendencies though. I understand where he’s coming from, but it really, really bothered me.

I really liked this take on “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.” I’ve also read Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George, and I have to say that I prefer Ice. I always do better with characters I can relate to and understand, and Cassie did that for me. I liked the twists the story took. I did guess what was going to happen at the end, but not until I was already in the middle of the big climax.

My one real complaint is that the book just stopped. Things are technically resolved, but I do like some sort of epilogue or afterward, and I didn’t get that here.

I do recommend Ice for fans of fairy tale retellings. It’s an enjoyable take on the original tale with a likeable heroine as well.

Read an excerpt.

Find author Sarah Beth Durst on her website, her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

See more reviews at Charlotte’s Library, Steph Su Reads, and Presenting Lenore.

Buy Ice at

Off the Shelf Challenge
Fairy Tale Fortnight

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.

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  1. I like books that mix science and fairy tales too! It's been a long time since I read this…someday I will have time, I hope, to reread more!

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