Ice - Sarah Beth Durst Man, that was amazing! I am really taken aback with this book. To be honest, I thought that I was going to find this book a bit dull, not creative, and downright stupid. And for a minute there, I thought I was right except for the boring part (I didn't find the book boring at all). However, now that I finished the book, I can now see that I am wrong. Yes, I AM capable of admitting to being wrong. For I am MATURE enough to admit it, but I digress. This book was filled with magic, lore, adventure to the extreme, and a very sweet romance. Now, I will warn you, the romance came out of no where but I will explain more about that in a bit. Even though I am gushing about the book, that's not to say the book doesn't have its flaws. There are quite a few of them but this book has so much to offer that those little flaws are nothing when you take the book as a whole into consideration. Trust me. It is very much worth the read.

Sarah Beth Durst is a fabulous writer. Her skills at telling a story is absolutely fantastic! (Now Durst is a storyteller. Not like some other YA authors who shall remain nameless... she wrote a book called Farted though...) *Ahem* Anyway, I really enjoyed her writing style. It wasn't not confusing or difficult to follow. You, as the reader, can follow the story she is saying and not have to go back and re-read a paragraph because it made no sense. For that, I feel she did excellent. She might not have the most magical of writing styles but I do feel she did great for this book. Especially with how much research she had to put in to keep this novel true and authentic of the original fairy tale! I read East o' the Sun, West o' the Moon first before reading Ice because I wanted to make sure I knew what the story was originally like and I am so glad I did. Durst did a wonderful job in keeping the original tale true to itself whilst also adding a little bit of her own lore. The lore of the munaqsri, the aspect that everything in our world has a spirit to guide and protect it, that twist ending was all Durt's doing. Did she make the original fairy tale any less than what it was? No. In my opinion, she added to it. She made it even more magical, even more fascinating because of her little additions. I know I really found myself loving it a lot more than the fairy tale. Especially that ending! It was WAY different than the fairy tale ending and I do prefer it a lot more. Seriously, even though Durst's writing style is not the best, she has a knack for telling a story and that's what counts most. The reader must feel they are a part of the story in order to enjoy it. And I did enjoy it. One more thing before I move on to characters, I love, LOVE, LOVE!!!!!! Durst's descriptions. The way she described the ice, the tundra, and the forest. WOW! It was amazing! I could picture the beautiful scenery in my head perfectly! Everything was just so beautiful. I would give anything to live in the Arctic. I love snow, ice, and cold weather. The way Durst described the beauty of this snow land made me drool all over the place. Man, what I would give to live there~ <3333<br/>
Characters! Cassie, our heroine in this book, started off as a very annoying character. I cannot tell you how many times I wanted to whack her over the head with a mallet. Jesus, she complained about everything. Okay, so she was smart, I'll give her that. But she was so close-minded. Everything that happened to her she questioned and if she couldn't prove it scientifically then it simply was impossible to exist. You know how many times she doubted something happening even though she was clearly seeing it happen right before her eyes? I lost count. >_< How irritating this girl was! Bah! >_< Another thing that pissed me off about her was how much she claimed Bear, he love interest, betrayed her. Dude, he didn't betray you. Okay, so what he did was wrong. Yes, I can see that. In fact, I thought he was wrong, too. However, anyone with a brain can see he meant no harm. He didn't do it deliberately so, of course, there was no betrayal. Besides, everything else he did for Cassie was for her well being. He wanted only good for her. But to Cassie's little, narrow-minded brain, he was betraying her and he didn't love her at all. Ugh! Teenagers! They piss me off to high heaven. *Slams head against the wall multiple times!* Alright, so you think I'm just bashing her now, right? Wrong! Even though she starts off as annoying, she shows a tremendous growth that left me baffled. That's right! Baffled! This girl ended up being one of the bravest, intelligent, caring, heart-wrenching, female protagonist I have ever read about! Well, that grew as a character. I was in awe with her! She shows this determination to get things done and a will that can never be broken by any obstacle that may get in her way. Also, her love for Bear grew exponentially throughout her journey that I was able to forgive her earlier comments about him. She truly became an epic character and I am so proud of what she decided to do towards the end of the book. Seriously, guys. You need to read it for yourselves to get what I'm talking about.

Bear is another character I fell for. When it comes to Bear, I was immediately in love with his character. I thought he was charming, funny, loving, and caring. I really wanted him to be my tuvaaqan (that's Inupiaq for "partner"). However, I did have a little bit of mix feelings for him towards the middle of the book. In the beginning, I had a small dislike for him because he took Cassie away from her entire life. I thought, "No one has the right to do that." But seeing as how everything changed when he was with Cassie and I saw his true feelings for her, I warmed up a little towards him. (And by a little, I mean a LOT!!! He's just so charming!) So after a short while, I really did like him. However, he does something, something I consider to be a big "no, no" when it comes to relationships, that made me want to smack him upside the head. In fact, I do not blame Cassie one bit for acting the way she did with him. I would have done the same thing. Bear should have talked about what he did first. I mean, he DID make it crystal clear what he wanted out of her and Cassie should have known better before deciding to go up to him, but I mean Bear should have not "fixed" the problem when he noticed it from the start. He should have mentioned it instead of taking matters into his own hands. That was my biggest problem with Bear. After reading further, I know that he meant no harm so I don't blame him so much. I know he cares for Cassie and his mistake, even though wrong, can be handle in a mature manner. (Cassie chose immaturity but whatever...) All in all, even though I was upset with Bear for a while, I did see he sacrificed a lot just to please Cassie and that he really, truly loved her. Anyone who can't see how much he cares for her is just... slow. I know that by the end of the book, I love both Bear and Cassie a great amount.

There are not much of side characters in this book. In fact... the few only appear at the beginning or at the end and there's not enough of them for me to go on a proper review (a.k.a. tangent) about their character. So instead, I'll talk about what I mentioned above here. I have a HUGE problem with the romance of this book. Okay, so it's not so much about the romance but the adventure aspect of the book. I get that. However, what I don't get is how Durst could have skipped MONTHS of when Bear and Cassie were first getting to know each other. You can't just put to characters together, who obviously have problems with each other, then skip into the future and say they are getting along better. Romance doesn't work that way. Doing it that way made it seemed rushed and forced. Not to mention it was the lazy way to describe their relationship. I was very disappointed because I wanted to know all the things that Bear and Cassie went through in order to fall in love the way they did. I didn't want to assume all the great things that they did. It was annoying... very annoying... So people, if you are looking for a great romance story from start to finish, this is not it. However, even though this pissed me off, I was still happy with the outcome. Considering I'm not a big romance person to begin with, I was able to look over this little flaw and continue reading the book. It's still a good read... just... wish there was more to the relationship since it is one of the driving force of the novel.

In conclusion, read the book. It's a wonderful, magical read. If you like fantasy, magic, beautiful scenery (I would so cut off ALL my hair to live in the Arctic with a munaqsri and LOTS OF SNOW!!!), and characters that show actual growth then I say give this book a try! It IS an amazing book! I can see that it might not be for everyone so check it out of the library first before you decide to buy it. I think it's worth the read, despite its minor flaws. Also, if re-tellings are your thing, then this is DEFINITELY for you. Besides the ending, Durst follows the original fairy tale to the tee! It's simply a gorgeous tale. (Those of you wondering: The ending is WAY better than the fairy tale. Just my opinion, of course... but still. X3) Anyway, I loved the book and I so can't wait to read more of Durst's books. If she wrote anything similar to this, then I know I'm going to enjoy it. ^_^