Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Review by Emily of ...whimsy...
The difficult thing about reviewing is finding a balance between telling about a story and not giving anything crucial away. I am finding this balance particularly difficult with Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow.
If I knew everyone would be intrigued enough to read it with a recommendation that simply said, "I love this book. If you enjoy YA fantasy, such as books by Shannon Hale, Robin McKinley, Patricia Wrede, C.S. Lewis, etc. don't pass this one by"...that is all I would write. I enjoyed the journey through this book, not having any clue about the story ahead of time. I have seen reviews since I read Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow that gave away crucial elements of the story that I am glad I didn't know.
Having said all that, here is my review. I know. Finally.
The girl, aka the pika, lives in a place that is always winter. Her family is poor. The girl, though a teenager, remains nameless. Her mother was so upset at having another worthless girl, that she refuses to name her.
Legend has it, that nameless girls are often stolen by trolls...but it isn't a troll that takes the pika away from her safe home and beloved brother. It is an isbjorn, or ice bear. The great white bear takes the girl to live in an ice castle for a year, promising that her family will be wealthy.
Many girls have been taken by isbjorns in the past, but the girl has a special quality that distinguishes her from the others.
She can talk to animals, which certainly helps when you have been taken captive by a bear.
Jessica Day George loved this Norwegian fairy tale and decided to flesh it out into a full length novel. At the BYU conference, she said she chose the story because it had everything...adventure, trolls, castles, mystery, romance.
I also enjoyed the details she added to the tale...like how the ice castle smells of rotten meat. Ewww. So gross. Great description though.
Recommended readers: lovers of YA fantasy/fairy tales.