Customer Reviews for

Ice Land: A Novel

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 13 of 12 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted July 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Downloaded a Review to My Nook But It Was Only 1 Paragraph Long!

    Not sure if I'm going to buy this book yet, since I downloaded a 'preview' to my Nook and found the preview was only one paragraph long! What is the deal with that? Is this a mistake? That's not enough material to get a feel for the book. A preview should be several pages long, or even a full chapter.

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  • Posted April 12, 2010

    Ice Land's Never Been So Hot!

    Betsy Tobin takes Icelandic myth and weaves her own twist into the tales. Capturing the beautiful and violent country side of Iceland she tells a story that combines Gods and humans and turns myth into a touchable tapestry. Her tale centers around two women, Fulla- a young girl being raised by her grandfather, and Freyja a "Goddess" of love and Magic on a quest to save the world from a prophesy foretelling Ragnorok- the end of the world. From the moment you open the book it will suck you into its world. Betsy does use a lot of historical mythology in her writing and it is helpful if you know a little bit of the Lore and culture of Iceland centuries ago, however, it is a book that can be just as enjoyable with out any of that knowledge. This one will be one that I share with many friends.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I was attracted to this myth-based story for two reasons: first, because it drew from Norse mythology, whose gods - as well as those Greeks and Romans - still influence us today.

    The names of the days of the week, for example, come from Teutonic and Scandinavian mythology (Friday, for instance, was named for Freya [Freya's Day]), and second, because it was attached to the history of Iceland, which fascinates me. The two women and their parallel stories are compelling: Fulla, an Icelandic maiden struggling between marrying the man her father has chosen or Vili, an outsider he forbids her and the love story of Freya (even goddesses have trouble with love) who seeks a powerful gold necklace crafted by the heroic Dvalin, one of the Norns who live in underground caves. Affecting them all is the mighty volcano Hekla who can blow at any moment. Too dense to attempt a summary, but dense enough to support readers' discussion, Ms. Tobin creates a rich tapestry of Iceland, deftly weaving its historic threads with its mythological ones. Iceland is thoroughly enjoyable.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is an exciting Nordic historical romantic fantasy

    In 1000 AD in Iceland, Freya the Aesir goddess of love seeks a gold necklace created by the Brising dwarves that the Fates warn her can change history. At seemingly the same time sixteen year old orphan Fulla has fallen in love with Vili, whose father killed her father. Meanwhile also apparently at the identical moments, the Norns observe increasingly dangerous volcanic activity especially by Hekla that looks ready to explode.

    Freya works a deal with the dwarves for the necklace in exchange for escorting their leader Dvalin in a quest to cure his sister's infertility. She actually obtains the necklace, but Odin steals it from her. Odin uses the necklace to extort Freya into kidnapping Fulla, who is his daughter; Fulla's human family accepts Vili into their clan as her husband. Hekla erupts destroying much of the surrounding area, but also enables Freya to regain the necklace and rescue Dvalin.

    This is an exciting Nordic historical romantic fantasy that use Norse mythology to tell the tale of forbidden loves at a time when Christianity has come to the island. Although the two major subplots can prove difficult at times to follow as perspective rotates frequently, sub-genre fans will relish Betsy Tobin's terrific tale of love conquers all even a legendary God.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Posted July 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    "'I don't believe in fate.' 'Maybe it believes in you,' she said."

    ICE LAND is an undemanding, modest effective little historical novel. The world-historical turning points (in the sense developed by Sir Walter Scott, founder of the genre) behind this historical novel are the coming of Christianity from Norway to Iceland and the compromise Iceland's leaders accepted to allow adherents of "the old faith" (in Odin and the Norse gods) to exercise liberty of conscience -- privately. ***

    The author, Betsy Tobin, like Sir Walter Scott before her, knows her Norse legends and literature, and puts an original spin on her themes. Thus she places Asgard, home of Odin, Freya and other gods, not in the sky but in Iceland too close for comfort to Mount Hekla, a still active volcano in the south of the island. In the minds of many Europeans, Hekla was counted (along with Italy's Stomoboli) one of the two principal entrances to Hell. In the novel, the Norns, three goddesses of past, present and future, representing fate, function both as chorus and geologists. From time to time the Norns dispassionately explain the geological history of Iceland in terms of modern tectonic plate theory -- something the actors of the story could not, of course, possibly know. The Norns chorus thus links present and past, sciene and myth. ***

    Another fascinating touch to Icelandic history and religion by Betsy Tobin is to make dwarves, giants, gods and "just folk" seem a credible part of the landscape. They all belong to different tribes. The leading male character, master artisan Dvalin had, for example, a dwarf father and a flying "swan maiden" goddess mother. His attraction to and repulsion from the Aedir (god tribe) sex bomb Freya in many ways drives the novel. A secondary theme is Freya's mad passion to possess a beautiful bracelet, Brisingamen. She acquires the necklace in exchange for nights in their bed with each of the four brothers who had crafted the great gem. ***

    Politically, the Icelanders, many of whom had only sailed over in the last thirty years, are united in their desire to stay independent of King Olaf of Norway, who wants to Christianize them. If things get too un-libertarian for their taste, Icelanders can always move to Greenland or Vinland. ***

    Religion, like everything else in the novel, is very concrete. Freya for example, simply makes a house call and consults the Norn Skuld while the latter is busy at her loom. From Skuld Freya gets the hint that will lead her to possess the incomparable necklace Brisingamen after winning over the four dwarves who had created it. ***

    This novel is neither profound nor intended to be. It is all smooth surfaces and easy reading. ICE LAND is a pleasant way to ease into further personal, individualized study of Icelandic history, religion, myths and politics. Maps and a topical index would make a great addition. -OOO-

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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    Posted January 23, 2010

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    Posted September 15, 2009

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    Posted March 9, 2011

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 13 of 12 Customer Reviews
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