Skip to main content

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

In the fairy tale mood, I was looking for something to follow up Master of Shadows. Jessica Day George's Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow looked like just the ticket. A retelling of the East of the Sun, West of the Moon fairy tale, I was both excited and nervous. For various reasons I have a hard time getting into retellings of this fairy tale and, though I did enjoy Edith Pattou's East, I've been hoping ever since to find a version I liked better. And I found one. I first loved the cover. I like the profile shot. This girl looks like she's ready to take on the frozen tundra. The story follows a girl called "the lass." The last of nine children, she had the gall to be born a girl and, out of spite, her mother refuses to give her a name. The family refers to her as pika, or little girl. Her oldest brother Hans Peter is the one who calls her "the lass," and the two of them are the closest of all the siblings. The story follows the fairy tale pretty closely, but George manages to fit in some twists and new angles that I found very refreshing.

Many elements of this tale are a hard sell in a novel. The family who is willing to give their daughter up to a random snow bear. The girl who lets a stranger climb into bed with her every night and then falls in love with said snow bear enough to take on a troll queen to save his life. George's version of the tale addresses these issues to some extent. The girl is the unwanted ninth child (and a daughter) and therefore expendable. Particularly when the random snow bear offers wealth and opportunity in exchange for their daughter. The girl is lonely in the palace of ice where the walls smell of rotting meat and no one will answer her questions. After it becomes clear the stranger is not going to hurt her, his presence next to her at night is a comfort and a ward against loneliness. And when the lass decides to take on the troll queen, she is doing it not only for the enchanted bear, but the various servants who befriended her in the palace and then disappeared or died as a result of their kindness. I still struggle with the central relationship. It seems there's never enough of a connection for me. That said, the story desperately needed fleshing out and George rises to the challenge. Her deft touch with Norse traditions, language, and everyday life adds a welcome layer of warm reality to this icy tale.

Links
Estella's Revenge Review
Fuse #8 Review
Miss Erin Interview
Slayground Interview

Comments

You Might Also Like

Review | If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

It's been years since I picked up a Mhairi McFarlane novel, and I'm not really sure why that is. I liked It's Not Me, It's Youwell enough (it's obvious she's quite a witty writer), but something about the execution felt off and I think I let that keep me from diving deeper into her backlist. Then came an offer to review her upcoming title If I Never Met You, and something about this one seemed to call out to me. As though it was time. As though Laurie and Jamie might be the ones. Spoiler alert: It was and they were. It was the perfect read for a couple of dreary, grey January days. While not perhaps as bubbly as I've Got Your Number, I would definitely recommend it to readers who enjoyed that novel. They share a business setting, two individuals who are more than they know themselves to be, and a wonderfully slow burn romance. Readers who love Sarra Manning and Beth O'Leary's The Flatshareshould also take note.
Comedy was tragedy plus time, but the…

Angie’s Best Books of the Decade

I am winded, you guys. Winded from laboring over this list. This is the first time I've attempted to cobble together a Best Books of the Decade list, and I can't say I'll be up to it for another ten years or so. But my, I couldn't resist the challenge (or profound pleasure, if we're being honest). I kept trying to winnow it down, kept forcing myself to be ruthless. Like somehow I could (or should) keep it to a top ten (flat impossible) or at least a top twenty-five (who are we kidding?). But after bidding those constraints good riddance, I really did press myself to take a hard, clear look at what hurts (to mangle my favorite Hemingway quote). Because these novels hurt in the best way. Each entry on this list is a five-star book in my books. Which means I wouldn't change a single thing about a single one of them. They are the ones I call perfect when I recommend them to friends and strangers. They are the ones I have read and reread over the past ten years and…

In the Beginning, or the First Ten Books I Reviewed on the Blog

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl
It's been awhile, but this topic was too good to pass up. When I thought about it, I genuinely could not recall which were the first ten books I actually reviewed here on the blog. So then, of course, I had to know. The thing is, I originally started the whole thing simply posting a once a month list of my favorite reads and rereads of the month. That went on for some time until lo and behold I went ahead and wrote and posted my first review on November 9, 2007. In hindsight, I probably should have known exactly which book pushed me over the edge into full fledged reviews. So this was a rather delightful journey back in time. Do you remember the first book you ever reviewed (in any forum) or what made you take the plunge? Here are my first ten (and I have to say, looking at this snapshot from the past, these remain some of my absolute favorite authors and a pretty spot-on array of the genres I read and love tod…