Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George Review: Wintery, whimsical fairy tale

February 3, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George Review: Wintery, whimsical fairy taleSun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Published by Bloomsbury Australia on December 10, 2013
Source: Publisher
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
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When a great white bear promises untold riches to her family, the Lass (as she's known) agrees to go away with him. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle. To unravel the mystery, the Lass sets out on a windswept journey beyond the edge of the world. Based on the Nordic legend East of the Sun, West of the Moon, with romantic echoes of Beauty and the Beast, this re-imagined story will leave fans of fantasy and fairytale enchanted.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow is a fairy tale set in a snowy Norwegian village featuring an ice palace, enchanted bears, and a girl without a name who can talk to creatures. Inspired by Norwegian folklore and the fairy tale titled East o’ the Sun and West o’ the Moon, Jessica Day George takes us on a magical adventure full of fantasy, talking creatures, trolls and a Princely romance.

The story starts out at a Woodcutter’s house where we’re introduced to the ninth child of the family who is simply referred to as pika (which means girl) or lass. Disappointed by her birth, the parents didn’t even bother to name her. One day, she discovers that she can speak with her wolf Rollo and understand him, and this becomes known far and wide. They are visited by an enchanted polar bear who promises wealth for her family, in exchange for the girl to live at his ice palace for 1 year. So they set out to live in the ice palace for a year, where she uncovers mysteries and secrets.

The sheer beauty of the writing is breath taking, with an enchanting, poetic quality about it. It is atmospheric and whimsical, adding vivid scenery to the magical world that its set in. We are taken through fantasty scenarios including a Woodcutter’s house filled with nine children, mountains full of snow, an ice palace with fantasy creatures as servants, and a troll-filled palace.

Wind does not need translation. It speaks the language of men, of animals and birds, of rocks and trees and earth and sky and water. It does not eat or sleep, or take shelter from the weather. It is the weather. And it lives. 

The girl is largely unremarkable, she is curious and makes silly mistakes like not heeding the warnings told to her by the palace inhabitants. She flies to a troll palace all on her own and places herself at risk. There isn’t much that is memorable about her, aside from her ability to speak to animals and attachment with her wolf companion.

While I enjoyed the magical, enchanting tale, the romance was definitely under developed and could have been done better. Simply because there’s a prince, he has to be handsome and fall in love with her, even though they barely talk to each other throughout the book. It wouldn’t be a fairy tale without this however, I just didn’t want to be shocked when “I love you” spilled out.

I’ve never heard of the original tale it was based off before, but thoroughly enjoyed the wintery, snowy atmosphere in this fairy tale. The magnificent landscapes, magical creatures and whimsical writing takes you to another place and I would recommend Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow to anyone who loves a good fairy tale.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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27 responses to “Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George Review: Wintery, whimsical fairy tale

  1. Vivien

    I read this a while ago, it had a different cover. I also struggled with this one. I have read a few retellings of this tale and this just wasn't my favorite.

  2. Cyn

    I'm a big fan of JDG's Princess series and I was thinking of checking this one out! It sounds like a sweet fairy tale retelling, too bad about the underdeveloped romance though! I love good well written romance. Oh well, can't win them all! Great review Jeann! I'll probably still check it out haha.
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  3. I got excited when I saw "Norwegian village", but not too sure about the rest. lol. I'm not that big on this genre to begin with, so …. I'm thinking this MIGHT be a negatory for me. It's still a possibility, though. 🙂
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  4. I don't think that there are enough books in a Skandinavian setting. I live close to Skandinavia, only a boat trip away from it and I have visited Norway (during the summer though) and it's one of the most magical places ever! I love me some princely romances 😉 Oh, that quote is beautiful! Kind of reminds me of Laini Taylor's writing. LOL. The "I love you's" always creep up on me without a warning in these kind of stories, but the prince aspect is still nice. I'm sorry the main character wasn't memorable though. I'm still everglad that this book was wonderful and thanks so much for putting it on my radar:)
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  5. Insta-love? *sigh* Why? Why is it appealing to write?! (I guess it's easy??) I do think the premise sounds interesting though. Ominous bears. Snowy lands. It's like Frozen meets Brave or something (YES, everything is a Disney movie XD).
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  6. I wasn't 100% sure that I would end up reading this one as I got an unsolicited copy but your review does make me want to consider trying it–even though the romance here sounds crappy and so damn typical.

    Lovely review, Jeann! <33
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