Author: Edith Pattou
Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult
When Arne married the superstitious Eugenia, he agreed to have seven children with her, one for each point of the compass, excluding North, which she believed to be wild and uncontrollable. Her favourite child, East-born Elise, died young and Eugenia had another child to replace her. But Rose, because of an accident, is actually a North-born child. Eugenia was told years before by a skjebne-soke (fortune teller) that any North Child she had would die crushed beneath an avalanche with ice and snow.
Not exactly the most uplifting way to be born. Born for adventure, Rose gets more than she bargained for when a white bear shows up at her poor family’s house and tells them that they will have all the riches they could wish for if Rose will only come to live with him in his home far across the sea.
I’d heard good things about this rewrite of the fairy tale, ‘East of the Sun, West of the Moon.’ I was sure hoping it was better than ‘Ice’ by Sarah Beth Durst (a highly UNrecommended book). And it was, but while I enjoyed it I couldn’t help but wonder what all the hype was about. Sure, it was okay – good, even – but it wasn’t fantastic. Rose, while a good, likeable character, didn’t have a depth of feeling that I look for in well-written characters. The White Bear, though he could have been amazing, felt rather flat. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book – I did. But don’t expect too much.
Positive Elements: Rose displays courage, bravery, and tries to do the right thing throughout the entire book, even at the risk of her own life. Several others risk much to help her in her quest to save the White Bear. Her father and brother love her very much, and she loves her family.
Negative Elements: While not a big part of the book, a fortune-teller and Inuit shaman woman aren’t exactly Christian. Rose’s mother Eugenia is highly superstitious, though this isn’t much of a problem as it’s looked at as highly ridiculous. Once ‘softskins’ – humans – have outlived their usefulness, the Troll Queen leaves them in a frozen wasteland to die. She is cruel to many of her subjects. One character has a love of ale and drinks more of it than any one human should consume – though he more or less gives it up in the end.
3.5 out of 5 stars