by Sarah Beth Durst


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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.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416986447
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date: 10/12/2010
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 293,503
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 550L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of young adult novels Conjured, Vessel, Drink Slay Love, Enchanted Ivy, and Ice, as well as middle grade novels Into the Wild and Out of the Wild. She has been a finalist for SFWA's Andre Norton Award three times, for Vessel, Ice, and Into the Wild. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband and children. The Lost, The Missing, and The Found are Sarah's first novels for adults.

Visit her at

Read an Excerpt


  • ONCE UPON A TIME, in a land far to the north, there lived a lovely maiden . . .

    Latitude 72° 13’ 30” N

    Longitude 152° 06’ 52” W

    Altitude 3 ft.


    Total silence, her favorite sound. Ice crystals spun in the Arctic air. Sparkling in the predawn light, they looked like diamond dust. Beneath her ice-encrusted face mask, she smiled. She loved this: just her, the ice, and the bear.

    “Don’t move,” she whispered at the polar bear.

    Cassie felt behind her and unhooked the rifle. Placid as a marble statue, the polar bear did not move. She loaded the tranquilizer dart by feel, her eyes never leaving the bear. White on white in an alcove of ice, he looked like a king on a throne. For an instant, Cassie imagined she could hear Gram’s voice, telling the story of the Polar Bear King. . . . Gram hadn’t told that story since the day she’d left the research station, but Cassie still remembered every word of it. She used to believe it was true.

    When she was little, Cassie used to stage practice rescue missions outside of Dad’s Arctic research station. She’d pile old snowmobile parts and broken generators to make the trolls’ castle, and then she’d scale the castle walls and tie up the “trolls” (old clothes stuffed with pillows) with climbing ropes. Once, Dad had caught her on the station roof with skis strapped to her feet, ready to ski beyond the ends of the earth to save her mom. He’d taken away Cassie’s skis and had forbidden Gram from telling the story. Not that that had slowed Cassie at all. She’d simply begged Gram to tell the story when Dad was away, and she’d invented a new game involving a canvas sail and an unused sled. Even after she’d understood the truth—that Gram’s story was merely a pretty way to say her mother had died—she’d continued to play the games.

    Now I don’t need games, she thought with a grin. She snapped the syringe into place and lifted the gun up to her shoulder. And this bear, she thought, didn’t need any kid’s bedtime story to make him magnificent. He was as perfect as a textbook illustration: cream-colored with healthy musculature and no battle scars. If her estimates were correct, he’d be the largest polar bear on record. And she was the one who had found him.

    Cassie cocked the tranquilizer gun, and the polar bear turned his head to look directly at her. She held her breath and didn’t move. Wind whistled, and loose snow swirled between her and the bear. Her heart thudded in her ears so loudly that she was certain he could hear it. This was it—the end of the chase. When she’d begun this chase, the aurora borealis had been dancing in the sky. She’d tracked him in its light for three miles north of the station. Loose sea ice had jostled at the shore, but she’d driven over it and then onto the pack ice. She’d followed him all the way here, to a jumble of ice blocks that looked like a miniature mountain range. She had no idea how he’d stayed so far ahead of her during the chase. Top speed for an adult male bear clocked at thirty miles per hour, and she’d run her snowmobile at sixty. Maybe the tracks hadn’t been as fresh as they’d looked, or maybe she’d discovered some kind of superfast bear. She grinned at the ridiculousness of that idea. Regardless of the explanation, the tracks had led her here to this beautiful, majestic, perfect bear. She’d won.

    A moment later, the bear looked away across the frozen sea.

    “You’re mine,” she whispered as she sighted down the barrel.

    And the polar bear stepped into the ice. In one fluid motion, he rose and moved backward. It looked as if he were stepping into a cloud. His hind legs vanished into whiteness, and then his torso.


    She lowered the gun and stared. She couldn’t be seeing this. The ice wall appeared to be absorbing him. Now only his shoulders and head were visible.

    Cassie shook herself. He was escaping! Never mind how. Lifting the gun, she squeezed the trigger. The recoil bashed the butt of the gun into her shoulder. Reflexively, she blinked.

    And the bear was gone.

    “No,” she said out loud. She’d had him! What had happened? Bears didn’t—couldn’t—walk through ice. She had to have imagined it. Some trick of the Arctic air. She whipped off her goggles. Cold squeezed her eyeballs, and the white was blinding. She scanned the frozen waves. Snow blew across the ice like fast-moving clouds. The landscape was as dead as a desert. When the cold hurt too much for her to stand it a second longer, she replaced her goggles.

    Her radio crackled. She pulled it out of her parka pocket. “Cassie here,” she said, trying to sound casual. She’d chased the bear onto the pack ice without backup. If she’d caught him, all would have been forgiven. But now . . . How was she going to explain this? She couldn’t even explain it to herself.

    “Cassandra Elizabeth Dasent, get home NOW.”

    Dad’s voice. And he was not happy.

    Well, she wasn’t happy either. She’d promised herself that she’d tag a bear as a birthday present to herself—she was turning eighteen in just a few hours. It seemed the ideal way for the only daughter of the head scientist at the Eastern Beaufort Sea Research Station to celebrate becoming a legal adult. When this bear had sauntered past the station while she’d been out fixing the radio antennae, it had felt like a gift. She’d never expected the chase to lead her so far out onto the ice, and she’d never expected the bear to . . . He couldn’t have gone far. He had to be somewhere just beyond the ice ridges. She checked the gas gauge. She had another three hours of fuel to spare.

    “Cassie? Cassie, are you there?”

    “I’m going after him,” she said into the radio. She revved the engine, drowning her father’s response, and headed across the ice.

    * * * * *

    Cassie abandoned the snowmobile in the shed. Slinging her pack over her shoulder, she trudged to the station. She ached from head to toe, inside and out. Even her fingernails ached. The sun hovered on the horizon, as it would for less and less time every day before it sank permanently for the winter. The low-angled light made her shadow look like a snow giant out of an Inuit legend.

    She’d lost him.

    She didn’t know how, but she’d lost him. She kept replaying the search in her mind as if that would make her envision the tracks she must have missed. If she’d just searched more carefully in the first few moments instead of speeding across the sea ice . . .

    Owen, the station lab technician, met her at the door. She blinked at him—a potbellied man with a pepper beard. Clearly, he’d been waiting for her.

    “Cassie, the case!” Owen cried in an anguished voice.

    She glanced at her pack. The syringe case dangled out of the bag. It was encrusted in ice. Cassie winced. “He got away,” she said.

    Owen rescued the bag and gun from her. “Do you know how much these cost?”

    Cassie followed him inside through the double door entryway. As she shut the inner door behind her, the thick, sour warmth of the station rolled over her like a smothering wave. It was the smell of home, stale and stifling and comfortingly familiar. She wished she had been coming home victorious.

    Clucking over the tranquilizer gun, Owen said, “You have to be careful with this equipment. Treat it like a baby.”

    Her stomach sank as she watched him examine her equipment. She didn’t need another strike against her. She’d taken the snowmobile out onto the pack ice alone and she’d been careless with equipment. Dad was not going to be pleased. Peeling off her outer layers, she asked, “Where is he? Radar room?” She’d better get it over with. There was no point in delaying.

    Owen didn’t respond. He was absorbed in cleaning the tranq gun. She could tell he’d already dismissed her from his mind. She almost smiled. He loved his equipment like she loved the pack ice. Both of them were a bit . . . single-minded. She could admit that about herself. “Jeremy?” she said. The new research intern looked up from his desk.

    “He’s not a happy camper,” Jeremy confirmed. “He wants to talk to you.” He nodded toward the research lab door. “You’re welcome to hide here,” he added helpfully, pointing under his desk.

    She managed a grin. Jeremy had been blasted by Dad his first week at the station for going out on the ice without the proper gear, and now he had a healthy respect for Cassie’s father’s temper. Of course, in that case, he had deserved it. She didn’t care if he was from UCLA—what breed of idiot went out on the ice without a face mask? You’d never catch her making that kind of newbie mistake. No, she thought, I specialize in the more spectacular mistakes, such as misplacing a full-grown polar bear.

    Cassie pushed through the door to the research lab. She scooted between the boxes and equipment. She could hear Dad’s voice, deep and clipped, inside the radar room. Ugh, this was not going to go well. Here in the faintly sour warmth of home, it was going to sound like she was quoting Gram’s old fairy tale about the Polar Bear King. What seemed almost believable out on the sea ice seemed patently unreal here, back in the prosaic old station. Here, it seemed far more plausible that she’d imagined the bear walking through ice. She wished she’d imagined losing him.

    In the radar room, Dad was in his typical position, half-perched on a stool, flanked by two other researchers. Cassie halted just inside the doorway, watching them. Her father was like the sun. People tended to orbit around him without even realizing they were. Scott and Liam were his most common satellites. She wondered if that was how she looked next to him—overshadowed and small. Not liking that thought, Cassie stepped farther into the room.

    The door swung shut behind her, and Dad looked up at the sound. He lowered his clipboard. His face was impassive, but she knew he was furious. She steeled herself. She’d deliver her report as professionally as possible. How he reacted would be his choice.

    Scott flashed a smile at her. “Ah, the little workaholic.”

    “Could you gentlemen excuse us?” Dad said to Scott and Liam. “Family discussion.” Oh, that was not a good sign. She swallowed hard.

    Cassie wondered, not for the first time, if her mother hadn’t died, would that have softened Dad? Would she have been able to talk to him without feeling like she was approaching a mountain? So much could have been different if her mother had lived.

    The two scientists looked from father to daughter, as if suddenly noticing the tension that was thick enough to inhale. Both of them bolted.

    For a long moment, Dad didn’t speak. His expression was unreadable. His eyes were buried underneath thick, white eyebrows. His mouth was hidden in a mountain-man beard. Six-foot-five, he looked impervious. Cassie raised her chin and met his eyes.

    Finally, he said, “You know better than to go out on the pack ice without backup. I raised you to be smarter than this.”

    Yes, he had. One thing he’d always made sure of was that she knew the rules of the ice. Everything else in her childhood he may have left to others. With her mother dead soon after Cassie was born and Gram gone from the station when Cassie was five, she’d done a lot of her own raising—with only a sort of tag-team parenting from Dad, Max, Owen, and whoever else was passing through the research station. But he had made sure that she knew what to do when she stepped outside the station, and she was grateful for that. “I know,” she said.

    “You could have fallen into a crevasse,” he said. “A pressure ridge could have collapsed. A lead could have split the ice, and you could have driven directly into ocean water.”

    “I know,” she repeated. What else could she say? She wasn’t going to make excuses. Maybe she would have a few years ago, but she wasn’t a kid anymore. If she expected to be treated as a professional, she knew she had to act like one.

    He continued to scowl at her.

    Cassie felt her face redden, but she forced herself not to look away. She refused to be intimidated by him.

    Dad sighed. “Report,” he said.

    “There’s something unusual about this bear.” Taking a deep breath, Cassie plunged into a description of how she had tracked him and how he had walked into the ice. She told Dad about searching the pressure ridge and failing to find tracks leading out of it. She told him how she had searched the surrounding area, crossing miles of pack ice, with no further sign of the bear. Finishing, she braced herself, waiting for Dad to tear apart her report.

    Instead, she saw the anger drain out of her father’s face. He dropped his clipboard to the table, and he hugged her. “I could have lost you,” he said.

    This was new. “Dad,” she said, squirming. Anger she had expected, but hugs? They were not a hugging family. “Dad, please, I’m fine. I know what I’m doing. You don’t have to worry.”

    Dad released her. He was shaking his head. “I should have known this day would come,” he said. “Your grandmother was right.”

    Awkwardly, she patted his shoulder. “I’ll bring backup next time,” she promised. “I’ll catch the bear. You’ll see.”

    He didn’t appear to be listening. “It’s too late for application deadlines for this year, but some of my friends at the University of Alaska owe me favors. You can work in one of their labs and apply for undergrad next year.”

    Whoa—what? They’d agreed she would take courses remotely. She wasn’t leaving the station. “Dad . . .”

    “You can live with your grandmother in Fairbanks. She’ll be thrilled to say, ‘I told you so.’ She’s been pushing for this since you were five, but I selfishly wanted you here,” he said. “I’ll contact Max to fly you there.”

    She stared at him. “But I don’t want to leave,” she said. She loved it at the station! Her life was here. She wanted—no, needed—to be near the ice.

    He focused on her, as if seeing her afresh. “You’re leaving,” he said, steel back in his voice. “I’m sorry, Cassie, but this is for your own good.”

    “You can’t simply decide that—”

    “If your mother were here, she would want this.”

    Cassie felt as if she’d been punched in her gut. He knew full well how Cassie felt about her mother, how much she wished she were here, how much she wished she’d known her. To use that as a weapon to win an argument . . . It was a low blow. Cassie shook her head as if she could shake out his words. “I’m not leaving,” she said. “This is my home.”

    Her father—who shied away from feelings so much that he had delegated her childhood to her grandmother and had left her puberty to a stack of bio textbooks—her father had tears in his eyes. “Not anymore,” he said softly. “It can’t be anymore.”

  • Customer Reviews

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    Ice 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 96 reviews.
    Majorbookworm More than 1 year ago
    I don't usually read alot of fantasy, I prefer science fiction, but this was by far the best fantasy book I have ever read! I was entertained from beginning to end. The story was so unique, I've never read anything like it. Cassie was a great character, and at first I didn't know what I thought of Bear, but I grew to like him. The ending was really good. I feel like I need to read it again! I soooooo recommend this!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    It is VERY different... I liked it in the beginning, but at the very very end, it was too weird. Not a good kind of weird, just like the author couldn't figure out how to end it properly so a bunch of crazy things were thrown together. Until the very end it was good though...
    Fantastic_Book More than 1 year ago
    An enchanting tale of sacrifice where love knows no bounds... This is the first novel I've read by Durst and I'm thrilled to say it won't be the last. ICE snagged me in the first few pages and I ended up reading this book in one sitting. I did not want this fairy tale to end, it was that good! Cassie grew up hearing a fairy tale about her mother being swept away to the ends of the earth after making a deal with a polar bear and when she comes face-to face with said polar bear, Cassie's world is about to be changed forever and all she has to do is agree to be his bride. I loved the setting of ICE and it just made the story more magical. Cassie is one strong cookie! She's the type of heroine I love to read about. When you hear quotes about traveling to the ends of earth for love, well Cassie finds out exactly what it means to sacrifice for love. The journey she embarks on is dangerously long and has unexpected turns as she tries to accomplish the impossible. Durst created some amazing characters and even the different places that Cassie had to travel were unique and so enjoyable to be immersed into. Durst wove a beautiful and magical story with great characters and a perfect setting which readers will be sure to love. So get ready for an astonishing journey that reaches to the ends of the earth that will have you begging for more. Of course I would love if there was a follow up, I believe Durst could work more magic with these characters. I look forward to reading more of Durst's books.
    TheBookButterfly More than 1 year ago
    5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, engrossing tale of impossible love and sacrifice, October 3, 2009 By K. Pickett "Book Butterfly" (Tampa, Florida) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME) Make sure to break out your winter coat because you are in for one epic Arctic adventure! Sarah Beth Durst has woven a magical narrative that will sweep you away across frozen lands, complete with ice castles, blistering winds, enchanting creatures and one courageous young woman! ICE was a beautiful, engrossing tale of impossible love and sacrifice that drew me in right from the very first page. Cassie, the eighteen year old daughter of an arctic research scientist, had long since forgotten the fairy tales told to her as a child. According to the stories spun by her grandmother, Cassie's mother was imprisoned by the trolls after making a heartbreaking deal with the polar bear king. As she grew up, Cassie begun to realize that this was a nice way of saying her mother had passed away. But when Cassie seeks out a polar bear and he does the impossible by speaking to her, it seems as if some fairy tales are grounded in reality. She strikes a bargain with him and in that moment, her life irrevocably changes forever. Sarah Beth Durst has taken the classic tale of East of the Sun, West of the Moon and given it her own modern twist. But you don't need to be familiar with the original fairy tale to truly appreciate this novel. Durst has truly made this story her own. I loved her descriptive way of storytelling - when I was reading ICE, I could hear the roar of the North Wind blowing in my ears and feel the snow on my face, blinding me from the glare and freezing my eyelashes. I was right there alongside Cassie - heart pounding with every step of the journey ahead of me. In an interview on Simon & Schuster's website, Sarah Beth Durst said- "I love polar bears. I love fairy tales. And I love stories about girls who kick butt. But most of all, I wrote ICE as a love letter to my husband. It's about true love, real love, the kind where you face the world as a united team, the kind where you'd go east of the sun and west of the moon for your love." I really feel like I can't sum up ICE any better than this quote does! If you are a fan of adventure and love stories with fairy tale elements, then you will not be disappointed with ICE. Cassie was a fierce heroine- I truly admired her. She truly sacrificed everything she had for Bear - it makes you wonder, just how far would you go for love?
    TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
    Cassie has grown up on an Arctic research station in Alaska with her father. She's been told stories of her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and is now imprisoned by trolls. Cassie is eighteen and doesn't believe in Polar Bear Kings or trolls anymore - it's just a nice way of saying her mother died. But when she seeks out a polar bear that starts talking to her and promises he can return her mother if she would become his bride, Cassie starts to wonder if fairy tales really are true. I enjoyed Sarah Beth Durst's previous novels INTO THE WILD and OUT OF THE WILD, and I was excited to see she'd keep writing about fairy tales. In ICE, she takes the story of EAST OF THE SUN, WEST OF THE MOON and gives it a twist - it's a modern setting, and Cassie's mother was the first one to make a deal with the Polar Bear King. You don't have to be familiar with the original tale to enjoy ICE. Ms. Durst makes the story her own and it's a beautiful, engrossing tale of how far someone would go for true love. Cassie is strong and spunky - I think she rivals Belle as my favorite fairy tale heroine. Her determination and stubbornness make her likeable and appealing and she fights for what she wants. If I'm ever stuck with trolls, I want Cassie by my side!! Ms. Durst's writing is very descriptive and draws you in. I could imagine myself in the ice castle with Cassie and Bear, could feel the North Wind blowing, and hear Father Forest's voice. ICE is a novel that draws you in to its setting and you want to fight along with Cassie. Full of action and romance, ICE is sure to delight fans of all ages who enjoy curling up with a good fairy tale.
    abackwardsstory on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Due to all of this week's record-breaking snow, I thought it was the perfect time to talk about a recent gem I just finished reading entitled "Ice." It was my first time reading a book by Sarah Beth Durst and upon completion, I snagged her other two novels, Into the Wild and Out of the Wild, from the library. I look forward to reading them because I really enjoyed the world of Ice that Durst wove together for us. I initially picked up Ice because it revolved around a fairytale, which is one of my all-time favorite genres to read. It had been on my reading list for a while, but it wasn't until I started hearing positive feedback from fellow readers that I decided to actively read it. I don't know why I waited so long!First off, I just want to say that Cassie is a kick-ass heroine. We need more girls like her in (especially YA) literature. I love the whole "Girl Power" movement that authors like Tamora Pierce (co-founder of Sheroes) have spent time nurturing. I think the only other recent author with amazing heroines that I've read lately is Kristin Cashore (If you haven't read her novels, particularly Graceling, yet, then what are you waiting for? Run, don't walk!). Cassie is intelligent and knows exactly what she wants in life. She has a huge heart and cares deeply for the polar bears she researches. Right before her birthday, she finds out that a terrible burden has been placed upon her shoulders. Her grandmother used to tell her a fairytale about a polar bear king and the bargain he had struck with a mortal woman, supposedly her mother, who is now trapped in the troll kingdom as penance for breaking her word. Cassie never believed the story to be true until she actually encounters the polar bear, which is where Ice truly begins. Watching Cassie and Bear's relationship bloom feels infinitely fragile and wonderous. Cassie goes from loathing and fearing Bear and her situation to developing genuine feelings for him. She even blossoms as a person and realizes just how much she can help her beloved polar bears while working with Bear and soon becomes happy with her lot in life. When tragedy befalls the couple (through a situation that reminds me strongly of the mythological tale of Cupid and Psyche), Cassie sets out on a journey to reach the ends of the earth to save her beloved. Not only is the journey long and dangerous, Cassie is also heavily pregnant by the time the story is approaching its climax. I don't want to reveal much more, but there is one part towards the end that simply took my breath away and connected a lot of the dots in the novel for me in a way I hadn't realized was possible. That moment is when I stumbled head over heels in love with Ice.The story itself has a unique formatting. I like that every chapter starts off with Longitude, Latitude, and Altitude coordinates. Not only is this important in the context of the story, it also reveals a lot about Cassie as a person and her prior way of life before meeting Bear. I really appreciate how much thought Sarah Beth Durst put into her novel. I really felt like I was in the Arctic due to how life-life and precise all of her detailing was. For example, I wasn't sure of what, exactly, a whiteout was when I encountered the term in Ice, so I looked it up. The other day while watching news coverage of Wednesday's blizzard, the newscasters kept tossing the term "whiteout conditions" around and I knew what to expect due to my research on the term. I really adored reading Ice and look forward to reading more books by Durst. So far, this has probably been one of my favorite books, teen or otherwise, in the past couple of seasons.
    theepicrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    ICE is a well-crafted fairy tale retelling of East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon that blends together reality and fantasy in a way that left me breathless. I would easily re-read this again to catch the nuances and understand the fairy tale world that Sarah Beth Durst has built from what I assume to be Eskimo mythology. The Polar Bear King is actually a munaqsri, which can be described as a soul caretaker who retrieves souls from the dying and delivers it to the newborn. Every living thing has a munaqsri, but a munaqsri can only do so much and cannot be in all places all the time. Hence, there is always the possibility of losing the soul if you arrive too late at a death or losing a newborn because you do not have any soul to give.The relationship between Cassie and Bear was wonderful to watch as they came to terms with each other. Bear always knew he would marry Cassie when she came of age, but he did not anticipate her strong will and stubbornness. On the other hand, Cassie had to accept the fairy tale possibility and also come to terms with marrying a polar bear whose human face she has been forbidden to see. Bear was incredibly patient, and Cassie was very adorably stubborn.They had great chemistry, and my heart melted when Cassie finally admits that she does indeed love Bear. When she loses Bear to the trolls, Cassie sets out on an impossible rescue mission without knowing where the ends of the world might be or how to even get there.There is so much packed into ICE that I am actually tempted to re-read it again because I'm getting really excited :D The richness in detail both real and fantastic, the strong heroine who runs to save her love, the supporting cast who brought both humor and terror to the story, the amazing ending that ties everything together in an unexpected way - I highly recommend ICE to any fairy-tale fanatics, especially if you enjoy Robin McKinley's Beauty retellings!
    CatholicKittie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Ok confession time. I don't like the fairy tale beauty and the beast. I get grossed out by the fact that Belle falls for what looks like a Giant St Bernard. So imagine my doubts when I started reading a book with a girl cuddling the coca cola bear! Add to that the words on the bookmark: "a polar bear, true love, and one girl's impossible quest..." The story has also been described as a "deeply romantic story." by Juliet Marillier. But a girl. A bear. True love? I gave an internal what the hell? Then, I opened the book and read the first line: Once upon a time...I was gone from there. I can't explained what happened with me. What-where did I go wrong? How did Bear get me? I guess I should say what went right. Ice by Sarah Beth Durst did everything right. Bear, that's the polar bear king's name, was oh my heck loveable. And not because he was a giant teddy bear. Very rarely I do I fall in love with a book hero yet when I closed my eyes one night I saw a waltzing polar bear and a girl with her head thrown back in laughter. And holy heck! That girl was none other than me! ME! With a dang polar bear. I knew right then...Ice was my undoing. Ice had me. But Bear is so much more than that more than a polar bear, more than a human. He is just more. He is honest, strong, funny, vulnerable, reasonable, caring, patient and easy. He is all a girl could dream for. Cassie, the books heroine (not me lol) had no choice but to go head over heels gaga for him.Cassie, was a well written character. I always find it hard to find a heroine I like. I didn't particularly like Cassie but she wasn't too stupid to live so it's a plus. I will say maybe she was too STUBBORN to live. Her stubbornness and unwillingness to understand is what caused the whole conflict that happened in this story to began with. I know it had to happen but the fact she tried to somehow put what she had done on purpose, on Bear and what he had done out of naiveté and misunderstanding, helped demonstrate her immaturity. And you saw her sort of grow up while trying to get love back. So at first I told myself that, Bear loves her so, like a good Bear groupie, I can put up with her if she is what makes him happy. Then I saw her mature majorly at the end of the story. Her display and bond with whom she loved brought a tear to my eye. I was surprised.But, like I said Cassie is a great heroine. Durst knows how to write great, believable and flawed characters. You can imagine meeting these characters in real life. I love that. The secondary characters, the munaqsri to be specific, whom Cassie gave adorable names too. For example she called the artic fox, Fluffy. I grew to love every single character especially Cassie! Her forgiveness also demonstrated her growth from child to woman.The amount of love Cassie has for Bear is touching. She is literally willing to go to the ends of the earth for that man. Its heart warming to read a story where its not one sided. The love, you can see it flowing both ways. Its not one of the stories where you have to be constantly told, these two people love each other. But you ask yourself 'uh ok? Why? and where?' If they never said they loved each other once in this book, you'd STILL know that they did and why.
    stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Cassie is the daughter of an Arctic researcher and has grown up on an Arctic research station with the knowledge that her mother is dead. However, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie learns the shocking truth: her mother is imprisoned by trolls beyond the end of the world, and she herself is promised to the Polar Bear King in marriage. Cassie agrees to marry the gentle but powerful Bear if he will rescue her mother.The wedding, which sprang out of necessity, soon blossoms into true companionship and romance. But Cassie makes a terrible mistake that costs her her love. Now, she must draw on all of her Arctic knowledge and courage to make a nearly impossible journey if she wants to save Bear.Please excuse me if I break from my usual review style for ICE. That is because I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK. It had everything I wanted from a book of its kind: a feisty female protagonist, epic adventures, luscious writing, and the kind of romance that stops hearts and makes you remember why romance exists in the world. It was love at first sight for me and this book, and our love will continue to evolve and endure as long as my memory does not fail me.From the first page, I was ensnared by Sarah Beth¿s writing, which I must describe as ¿clean and fresh¿: it¿s like wiping away a dirty window and gazing in wonder out at a beautiful, crystalline winter scene. Sarah Beth wastes no words, and yet manages to describe for readers an unbelievably beautiful and mesmerizing world with simple prose. Her writing style will appeal to fans of fairy tale writing, for its gorgeous, ethereal descriptions, as well as those of realistic fiction, so well grounded in our world it is.Indeed, the way ICE inhabits a perfect space in between fantasy and reality is one of its unique and strong points. I love that this old Nordic legend is grounded in science: a research station with modern characters and real-time technology. We weave easily in and out of the magic and the real, making this an interesting reading experience. Cassie is feisty and snarky enough to make her a great 21st-century protagonist, and yet she is also courageous and incredibly determined, qualities that connect her with other epic fantasy heroines.Of all the great parts about ICE, I think I like Cassie the best. You don¿t find girls like her very often in literature or real life anymore, girls who will do anything for love, girls who tire of domesticity and want to be useful, girls who don¿t want romance to consume their identities, girls who are scared of growing up too fast and making decisions that will affect them permanently. I related to Cassie so well and admired her so much, I think I cried. I loved how she faced problems of things like love vs. self-identity with¿let¿s admit it¿mistakes and awkwardness. For a character of a fantasy novel, Cassie is remarkably relatable and can instantly be your best friend and role model for realistic issues.And of course, I cannot end this review without talking about the romance between Cassie and Bear. Fans of Beauty and the Beast (especially Robin McKinley¿s Beauty) will see strong echoes of that kind of gradual love in ICE. Bear easily won over my heart with just a few lines of dialogue; if you want a nice-guy love interest, well, here he is. Gradual development of attraction and love are hard to come by nowadays, which is one of the reasons why I¿m so happy the romance in ICE was done so well. Theirs is a love that grows subtly out of undramatic scenes, and is proven to be eternal by a literal ¿epic journey.¿ It is, once again, the result of the perfect blend between fantasy and realism.ICE is certainly not without some weaknesses, of course. Supporting characters, especially Cassie¿s parents, are rather underdeveloped, and super-picky readers may have trouble following the occasionally choppy plot. However, readers looking for an old-fashioned fairy tale would do well to check Sarah Beth Durst¿s ICE out. Maybe I read it at the right time for m
    pacey1927 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    First, I have never heard of the tale of East of the Sun, West of the Moon before, which is strange because I adore fairy tales. I also love Polar Bears so I had to grab up "Ice" which is a modern retelling of the East of the Sun fairy tale, in which a teenage girl falls in love with a Polar Bear King. Cassie has grown up hearing a story told by her Grandmother in which a Polar Bear king kidnapped a human child and brought her to teh North Wind. The North Wind raised the girl as his own. Then the girl meets and falls in love with a human man. The Polar Bear returns for the girl intending her to be his bride. The Girl refuses the Polar Bear and asks him to let her be with the human man and hide them both from the North Wind and in exchange the Polar Bear can marry her first daughter. When the North Wind found the girl, her human husband and new baby daughter he blew the woman far to the end of the world where she was captured in an unreachable castle by trolls. Cassie alwasy figured that this story was a nice way to say her mother had died. One day Cassie meets a talking polar bear and realizes the story was true and now the Polar Bear king has come to her intending to take her as his bride. The first part of the book is all about Cassie meeting Bear and going to his ice palace. I loved this part of the tale, as they became friends and worked and played together. If anything I thought this part of the tale was far too brief. The second part of the book takes a sharp change. Cassie has done something against Bear's wishes and it has tragic consequences. He is whisked away to be held captive by the trolls in that unreachable castle that her mother was trapped in. Cassie fights all the harsh arctic elements and meets with strange and sometimes cruel figures that help or hinder her along her path to rescue Bear. Meanwhile she is pregnant and her baby continues to grow inside her. This part of the book was hard to read. Page after page of her suffering was a little much and I feel like this would be a big turn off to middle school readers which are the book's targeted audience as well. I was grossed out a time or two by things that happen in this section and it didn't feel like a fairy tale at all at this point. The last few chapters are again magical and I wish they would have last longer. I think the portion of the book dealing with Cassie getting to the castle could have been handled in a manner that made it fit better with the rest of the tale. Bear and Cassie were intriguing but I felt like there wasn't enough attention to their relationship...we never really feel or see the moment when Cassie falls in love with Bear. This book was good and I don't regret reading it for in certain points the story is just lovely...but it didnt' live up to anything near what it could have been. I do know that I want to read more stories based on this fairy tale though.
    krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    This book is another retelling of the classic tale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon". I got this through the Amazon Vine program which was ironic since last month I read Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George, another beautiful retelling of this classic tale. Overall I really liked this book; Durst did an excellent job at updating this tale to the modern day world. I have never read the original tale so I don't know how true this version of the story stays to the original.Cassie is an 18 year old researcher at an arctic polar bear research facility. Since she was little her grandmother has told Cassie the story about her mother, the daughter of the North Wind and how she made a deal with the Polar Bear King. As she gets older, Cassie realizes that this is just a nice way of saying that her mother died. That is until one day she tracks one unusual polar bear across the ice pack. She finds that her grandmother's story was not a story but truth. Her mother may still be alive, but will she be brave enough to face the promise that will get her mother back?This was a great re-telling. Cassie is a tough character and I liked her a lot. The Polar Bear King is also a wonderful character. The plot moved quickly and made this book an easy read that was tough to put down.I also loved the mythos created around the Polar Bear King and the other beast-like keepers of souls. I am not sure if this was in the original story. But it was very creative and very different from how Jessica Day George dealt with the story in "Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow". Durst did an excellent job modernizing this tale. She worked in the researchers efforts seamlessly with the Polar Bear King's soul taking/giving duties. I love that she included modern cold weather technology and even little things like birth control. It was very well done and very creative.Overall I liked this book a lot. Parts of this story remind me of "The Beauty and the Beast" too.I didn't give this book 5 stars because even though I liked it it was not something I would read again. There were also some inconsistencies. Especially with Cassies's stages of pregnancy; I failed to understand how Cassie had morning sickness in her second trimester of pregnancy and not in her first, that was a little off. Also the second part of the book where Cassie goes seeking the Polar Bear King had a very different tone from the first part. All of the wonderful modernization that made the first half of the book so great fell off in the second half as the book transformed to a more traditional fairy tale.A great story; I would recommend to those who like fairy tale retellings or fairy tales in general. I will be keeping an eye out from more of Durst's works in the future.
    Nickles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    I love unconventional love stories! I was amazed by this story. It was one of the most beautiful tales I've read in a long time--a wonderful fairy tale. The writing was not only beautiful but the plot was intriguing that I had to keep reading and didn't want to put the book down. The depictions of the world in the book were described in a way that I felt I was there in the cold arctic (I recommend reading this with a cup of hot chocolate or else you might be shivering).The romance was wonderful. It was more of a quite love story that slowly built into something very profound, and this was showcased when Cassie had to risk her life by rescuing Bear from being held prisoner by trolls. Even though Bear and Cassie are incredibly different, their connection felt believable to me. I loved how this unlikely pair came together and I admired both of their courage as the fought to continue to be with one another.
    brimeetsbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Cassie¿s heard the story countless times. Her mother, a daughter of the North Wind, who has made a deal with the Polar Bear king, and is now trapped in a castle, east of the sun, west of the moon. When she was young, Cassie reenacted the events, using pillows as the fortress. As she grows older, Cassie realizes it was just a fairy tale, her mother¿s gone, and she must grow up if she wants to become an Artic scientist, like her father. Until one day, when she sees a magnificent polar bear who speaks to her about the truth: her mother¿s alive. If she will come with him, and be his pride, her mother can return from the castle to which she¿s banished. Cassie must cross far to the reaches of the Artic, over ice and snow.Sarah Beth Durst¿s Ice is a fairy tale that sparkles as much as its namesake. From page one, where we meet headstrong, brave Cassie, fervently believing with all of her heart that her mother is trapped in a castle, readers will love her. Durst excels with writing strong female characters, and Cassie is no exception.With science fiction and fantasy works, there¿s an assumed suspicion of belief. Durst¿s writing is so fluid, and some visual, during my reading of Ice, I believed in everything on the page, without question. In this way, readers identify with Cassie, who comes up with scientific reasons to negate all she sees: She¿d never seen such a beautiful mirage. Spires towered above her. They shimmered in the bending light. At the tips of the spires, the ice curled into the semblance of banners, frozen midwave. She waited for it to shrink to its normal proportions: an ordinary ridge or an outcrop of ice that had been stretched by a trick of the light. But it did not shrink or stretch. It shone like a jewel in the sunlight. Cassie felt her gut tighten. It had an iceberg frozen in the pack ice ¿ it was at white as a moonstone, while the sea ice encircling it was a brilliant turquoise ¿ but she had never heard of an iceberg in such old ice, except near Ellesmere, on the opposite side of Canada. (p.36-37, Ice) This is Durst¿s third fairy tale book (Into the Wild, and its sequel, Out of the Wild being the first and second, respectively) and her prose is sharper than ever. With this retelling of the Norse tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon, Durst blends Inuit legend, Arctic research, and more. There¿s so much infused within Cassie¿s world, it just leaves you turning the pages quicker and quicker. The treatment of nature is so exquisite, from rushing streams to glimmering ice. From the muckiest bog to a mountain¿s highest peak, nature lives and breathes on the page. Stirring in its beauty, captivating with its romance and action, Ice is a tale that will have you believe in magic and love. I was swept up as Cassie crossed the ends of the Earth, and so will readers.
    twonickels on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    A conversation about metaphysics between a teenage scientist and her husband, who is a giant talking polar bear. Right now you¿re either pulling a face at me or you¿re hooked, right?I was pretty hooked. This is not a story that pulls punches with the absurdity of it¿s premise. Durst¿s novel is a re-telling of the fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Now, the original is a strange and compelling story that leaves a lot of strange gaps in the plot ¿ gaps that are just begging to be filled in and explored by an enterprising YA author. So it¿s no surprise that this story has already been tackled multiple times, most memorably in Edith Pattou¿s exquisite East. The strangeness of this particular story is brought into sharp relief by Durst¿s choice of a modern setting, and it can be jarring ¿ both for the reader and the characters. But if you¿re willing to suspend a little disbelief, you will find a wonderful love story and an epic adventure in Ice.Durst¿s take brings in some unexpected elements. Myth and science are married in many ways in this novel ¿ most literally in the actual marriage between Cammie, an 18-year-old arctic scientist, and Bear, a giant mystical polar bear. Durst also throws an interesting touch of religion into her explanation of Bear¿s strange powers. It¿s a wonderful mix, especially when Cassie and Bear find an elegant way to bring their talents together, using Cassie¿s scientific expertise to help Bear¿s magical purpose along.In the original story, the heroine saves the polar bear through her exceptional laundry skills. Cassie brings a little bit more to the table. She is a dedicated scientist even at 18, and her passion for the arctic is palpable even at times when the brutal wilderness is moments away from killing her. She is a risk-taker who will throw herself whole-heartedly at a problem, usually without much of a plan. But her determination and ingenuity see her though, making her a pleasure to read.I did sometimes find the plot of the book fragmented. Cassie¿s goals change several times over the course of the novel, and some of those goals feels much more urgent and are better at driving the story. I felt this most in the parts of the story that dealt with Cassie¿s mother, who Cassie is so dedicated to saving in the book¿s beginning, but who never becomes an important part of the story after she has been saved. I would have liked to see more growth in that relationship. The second half of the novel gives Cassie one clear goal ¿ to find Bear and bring him home. This brings the story into sharper focus, and also brings Cassie¿s best qualities ¿ her determination and fortitude ¿ to the forefront. Cassie is a kick-ass girl, and she gets to show her grit when this thoughtful story turns into an epic survival adventure in the frozen north.Review copy provided by the publisher at the author¿s request.
    callmecayce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    What started out as an interesting retelling of the folk tale East of the Sun, North of the Moon, quickly turns into a bizarre sort of romance novel. I was really disappointed in the twists the story took, though I don't remember the last time I read the source material.
    exlibrisbitsy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    The book Ice is a modern day re-telling of the fairy tale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon". Seeing the fairy tale through the eyes of a scientist was very interesting at the beginning. Her attempts to explain away this talking bear and her family's strange actions all come across as very realistic. As she ends up getting pulled into the fairy tale and making deals with these, to her mind imaginary, beings and enters into this completely different world she changes with it. The uniqueness of having a scientist be the protagonist in the fairy tale is gone by the final third of the book. She is just like any other young woman by the end, just herself.I was at once disturbed by the premise of the fairy tale and surprised at how well it was handled. This is a woman raised in a western society who is now faced with an arranged marriage made before her birth. It's a lot to take in even aside from the fact that it's to a talking bear. When they strike a deal, her marrying him in exchange for him freeing her mother, they do become husband and wife and he whisks her away to his home. Despite the fact that they are now married he still treats her with respect and doesn't demand anything. He even honors her choice to go if she wishes, as long as she just gives him enough of a chance to show her the life she would have if she stayed. I don't want to spoiler too much, but let's just say for an arranged marriage the bear is determined to win his bride through courtship and not through force, and not at all if she doesn't want to in the first place. Still a little freaked out by the age difference (old enough to be the king while her mother was an infant?) but other than that tastefully well done.If you know this fairy tale, or any of the many similar ones that are often told (this is kind of like a beauty and the beast of the north pole) then you know every twist and turn in advance. There are still some surprises though. Having a scientist for a wife with access to modern day technology turns out to be an unseen perk. The ending though, like I said, leave a woman stripped of all of that as her quest leaves her with little to get through but her wits, stubborn will, and sheer determination. Unfortunately these sometimes result in more harm than good and at one point I was just about ready to string her up for her thoughtless stubbornness.This book also brings up an interesting theory on the point at which life truly begins, it has a mythology surrounding the concept of that being at birth. Meanwhile the actions throughout the book imply communication and validation of life before that. It definitely provides a lot for a teen to think about on both sides of the argument with subjects such as abortion, unwanted children, stillborns, a mother's acceptance, a child's life being valued over that of the mother's, and, of course, childbirth. These are brought up, and generally placed in an ambiguous light. It is liberal leaning, very much so, but in a lot of ways this book is meant to get kids talking about these subjects more than sway them one way or the other.For younger kids, perhaps steer clear due to the subject matter. For older ones, especially ones that enjoy rewritten fairy tales, I say you should give this book a whirl. I definitely enjoyed this unique modern day take on an old fairy tale.
    jenniferann0711 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    I am a huge fan of East of the Sun, West of the Moon type books. There are quite a few out there, and Ice was one of my favorites. I enjoyed how Durst took a bit of a modern approach with the initial story line and transformed the main character, Cassie, into the daughter of a scientist, rather than taking the common approach of making her the daughter of a poor and struggling family. This was a heartwarming story, full of love and sacrifice that will not leave you disappointed.
    Starsister12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    I highly enjoyed this retelling of the Polar Bear King/East of the Sun, West of the Moon fairytale. Rather than taking the traditional fantasy route of a medieval setting, "Ice" takes place in modern times at an Arctic research station. Cassie is a spunky, likable character with a will of iron and for the most part I found her actions and reactions believable. I wish that perhaps more time could have been spent developing Bear's character, but his sense of humor, attention to duty, and deep devotion to Cassie shine through, preventing him from being completely one-dimensional. The mixing of Eskimo mythology with the fairytale gave it an interesting flavor, setting it apart from many retellings of fairytales. I also highly enjoyed the twist given to the existence of the trolls. Things did feel a little rushed towards the end of the story, but it didn't fall apart. If you like fairytales being retold, I definitely recommend reading "Ice."
    resugo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    This is the third book I've read within the past few years that retells the story of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon," and it is by far my favorite. I did not want to put this book down and if I hadn't had responsibilities I wouldn't have.What I enjoyed so much about this book was how everything worked so well together. In the original fairytale there is so much that doesn't make sense to me and Durst created a world where they did make sense. It was just awesome. I loved Bear and Cassie's relationship. So romantic and fun. I could totally see them falling in love. And then half way through when Cassie looks at Bear (her motivation to do so TOTALLY makes sense which it never had before) and Bear leaves, I thought the book wouldn't be so great. But it was! It was still just as wonderful with the world that Durst had created. I really liked this book. Cassie was a great heroine. Bear was a great bear. Perfection. My one complaint: it ended too soon.
    Shmuel510 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Durst's writing gets better from book to book, and the middle portion is more solid than it's been in previous installments. Sadly, the payoff in the last few pages is weaker than it ought to be.Still, I'm looking forward to her next book. Eventually she'll get it right. :-)
    taleofnight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    I read this book around the same time last year and fell in love with it. I'm writing this review after reading it for the second time. And I must say that I loved it the second time just as much as the first time.After going through a week of humid 90 degree weather, I was in the mood to read about a colder climate. And what better to do than pick up one of my favorite books.Cassie lives with her father at a research station in the arctic, where they track polar bears. Cassie's grandmother always told her a fairy tale, when she was younger, about a Polar Bear King and her mother, who got swept away to the troll castle after defying her father's wishes. Cassie always figured it was just her Grandmothers way of telling Cassie that her mother died. But then Cassie meets the Polar Bear King and realizes that the fairy tale her Grandmother always told was true. Now Cassie has the chance to bring her mother back, and finally meet her. She just has to marry the Polar Bear King first, and live with him in his ice castle.This is a retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon. I didn't know what I was going into when I first picked up this book, but I loved every moment of it. This book was the reason why I picked up two other books that were a retelling of the same fairy tale. (East by Edith Pattou and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George)Sarah Beth Durst takes an old tale and works it into modern times, which I thought worked out nicely and made the story much more interesting and enjoyable for me. The Munasqri part was a wonderful twist to the story. That was what really made me love the book. I won't go into detail of what a Munasqri is though because I don't want to spoil too much.I was attached to this book as I read Cassie's magical travels through the ice, tundra, bogs, and forests and all the creatures and people she met along the way. I even stayed up till 5am to finish it.The book does move Bear and Cassie's relationship quickly. Three months jump by with a few sentences. Cassie goes from being afraid of Bear to being his best friend, which might bother some people, but didn't phase me one bit. I fell in love with Bear as soon as we meet him. He was such a loyal character and always had the best intentions.Overall, I really love this story and is one of my favorites. It will be one of the books I revisit often.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Pads in. Our new leader will be icehawk. She announced. I am retiring
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Wails for her lost sibling
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Walks into camp and looks around brightstar said we could join said snow heart
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    They padd in together. One with a grey pelt and one with a fluffy calico pelt.