Cassie has grown up at an arctic research station with her father, hearing her grandmother tell the fairy tale about the polar bear king, and how he will one day claim the daughter of the woman promised to him by the north wind. Because the woman hid from the north wind to marry a human man, when the north wind found her, he blew her beyond the ends of the world where she was captured by trolls.
When she turns 18, Cassie meets a strange talking polar bear who claims her as his wife. They make a deal that if the polar bear can bring her mother back from the trolls, she will marry him. And thus begins this very clever and wonderfully satisfying retelling of the Norwegian fairy tale East of the Sun, West of Moon.
Raised on the ice, Cassie is a winter survivalist, used to making split-second decisions. With that in mind, it wasn’t so difficult to understand Cassie actions in the story – actions that might seem illogical or rash when done by a less independent character. I liked Cassie, and I liked the polar bear king, known as Bear. As strange as it might seem, they made a great team.
Not that I didn’t have my share of “ewwww” moments (Drinking from a polar bear mother’s teat? Really?), but fortunately, Cassie’s romance with a polar bear didn’t gross me out like I initially thought it might, thanks to some shape-shifting powers. They were given time to properly develop a real attraction to each other, so that later, when the plot demands that Cassie go to great lengths to rescue Bear, it seems like a totally natural act.
While the first half is really engaging and well done, the pacing was a bit off for me leading up to the climax. Cassie spends so much time trying to get to Bear that once she finally does, the end feels rushed. Their reunion is so sweet, I really would’ve liked more time with them. Overall, I was thoroughly entertained and enchanted, and highly recommend this one to fans of romance, fairy tale retellings and fantasy.
ICE is out now in hardcover. Find out more about it at the author’s website.