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  • East
  • Customer Reviews

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on May 8, 2015
Until reading this book, I had never heard of the fairy tale, "east of the sun, west of the moon". But when a librarian friend highly recommended this story, I looked up the old tale to get a better understanding of it before diving into this. I came away very impressed with this new interpretation of the old story, and in fact, I actually prefer THIS version over the original tale, as it fleshes out the backstory and characters, and leaves us with something on par with "Beauty and the Beast".

In the villages of Norway, sometime during the 16th century, a poor mapmaker and his superstitious wife tend to their seven children; especially keeping an eye on their youngest daughter, Rose. There is an ancient belief that children inherit the qualities of the direction in which they are born, so the wife has a child for each point of the compass, save for North, because it's believed that North-born babies are wild, unpredictable, intelligent, and destined to break their mothers' hearts because they all leave home to travel to the far ends of the earth . As it turns out, Rose is actually the last of EIGHT kids; born to replace one that died of an illness. To keep her close, Rose’s mother lied and told her she had been East-born; never revealing that Rose was actually a North-born. But destiny cannot be denied, and when another sibling falls gravely ill, a talking white bear shows up at the family's door; promising that if Rose leaves home and journeys with him, the family will become happy, healthy, and wealthy. Wanting to save her family, Rose jumps at the chance for an adventure, and leaves with the bear, who whisks her away to a magical castle. There, she discovers the true identity of the white bear...and when her actions harm her new friend and evoke the wrath of a selfish Troll Queen, all of Rose's strength, courage, wits, and new found love will be put to the ultimate test as she braves the deadly Arctic Circle to rescue her bear friend and stop the Troll Queen; an adversary who lives in an ice palace that lies "east of the sun and west of the moon".

Simply put, Edith Pattou has created an epic. Her descriptions of Norwegian homesteading; the wildlife and harsh conditions of the Arctic and sailing its unrelenting seas, and the magic of the enchanted castle and ice palace were so vivid, I could picture everything clearly in my head. The author definitely did her research in telling how life was way back when; down to the details of what people wore, ate, and believed in. And such details are never confusing; they're explained in a way that's easily understandable, yet not textbook boring. And I found it very clever how the basics of the old fairy tale were rewoven into this new setting; adding in plot points about the superstitions behind birth directions and compass points, as well as recasting the magical North, South, East, and West winds of the old story to be actual people who help Rose on her adventure.

Which brings me to the characters. Although the story is told in the first person, we actually alternate view points between Rose, her father, her brother, the white bear, and the Troll Queen; all of which have their own unique voices and perspectives on the fairy tale unfolding. Rose especially is a great character and role model. Although she's always adventurous, she starts off much more wishful and reckless, but over the course of her harrowing journey to save her friend, she learns to be more patient and careful with her actions, and actually has to WORK to earn her happy ending. While she gets understandably afraid at times, and makes more than a few mistakes, she finds the will and courage to power on through and do the right thing; determined to write her own destiny and not just give in to fate.

The only nitpick I could give is that the last act seemed just a tad rushed to me. The villain is defeated rather quickly, and the reasoning and origin behind her white bear servant is left vague. I seemed to like the journey getting there more than the destination itself. But I can forgive it, as the weaving of the classic fairy tale with old Nordic superstitions and Norse mythology and Inuit beliefs had me hooked and made up for it.

On the whole, I learned a lot of history about the ancient times of the Arctic, as well as discovered a new fairy tale I had never heard before; all while enjoying a breathtaking adventure. If you like your magic mysterious, and good old fashioned girl power, this is the book for you.
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on August 28, 2014
I love love love this book. I borrowed it from my sister years ago and knew I had to have it for my own library. I just recently bought another copy to give to a fellow book lover for her birthday. This book is very clean and appropriate for all ages. I wasn't familiar with the original fairy tale it is based off of and loved it anyway. At the time I first read it, I thought it was a spin off from Beauty and the Beast. Anyway. It is a very good book. Buy it. You will love it.
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on April 25, 2014
I liked this story. I only seen a old movie version based on this fairy tale so I wasn't fully sure what to expect out of it. I thought it was interesting. I think the on thing I liked but didn't like was all the different POVs through book. To hear different sides isn't a bad thing, but five different ones, I think it was too many personally - and I kinda wished the White Bear had more of a POV than just in poem form though it makes sense.

I may think differently reading this again - I hope to read it sometime in the future.
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on February 1, 2014
This book, I first read in high school, is based on a fairy tale, more so than other adaptions (such as The Polar Bear King) in which a young girl goes with a polar bear to help her family and she is treated with luxury. She finds out that the polar bear is cursed and is really a man, as seen at night. But, curiosity causes trouble and leads the main character t have to go on an adventure to save her polar bear companion from a loophole of the curse before it is too late. This book has action, adventure, family, love, a journey, both literal and within the main character. I have not forgotten this book since I first read it and most likely won't for a long time. It is the type to stay with you.
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on September 8, 2015
One of my all-time favorite books. Like Beauty and the Beast but better. The characters are so interesting and I love how the book tells the point of view of most of them. The story is so well written, you can see the characters and story unfold in your mind. I love this book. Have read it several times.
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on January 14, 2017
This is a good tale. Not at all like East of the Sun, West of the Moon. It is perfect for times when you want a quick read.
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on January 1, 2013
It was a great re-telling of the East of the Sun West of the Moon story that used that basic framework but then spun a truly original story. The characters were interesting, the writing was good, he form was interesting where it was told from different viewpoints, and it had a satisfying ending. It was a good YA story with thought-provoking themes. I was struck with the idea that life revolves around the day-to-day tasks of living. They are what make living worthwhile.
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on March 8, 2018
You go on a adventure with Rose from start to finish, hoping that the ending will be a happy one. Read this book to fund out more, I've read this book so many times and I still find myself going on the adventure with her like I'm really there and I always look forward to the
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on February 13, 2017
The best adventure book ever; sort of a Scandinavian Beauty and the Beast, but much richer and enthralling! Having the story told by several characters provided more complexity and depth. My 12 year old daughter and I read aloud each night as we traveled that summer. It's been years and it's still our favorite book.
Don't miss this one!
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on October 9, 2015
East is a great kids book! The kids really enjoyed this book! Great price for books! Would recommend this seller for other books!
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