Rose is the youngest of eight children, subject of many of her mother’s superstitions. Despite what her family would prefer, she has always loved to explore. She has always dreamed of a white bear who would explore the northern regions of the world with her.
But when such a bear comes, he has a different request. In exchange for her family’s well-being, Rose must come with him and leave the world she has always known. When she goes with him, Rose discovers a world of ice and snow, where magic is real—and enchantments can bind a life. The bear has secrets of his own, and Rose’s choices will decide his fate.
East is a retelling of the classic fairytale East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Unlike many other books like this, Edith Pattou doesn’t completely change the classic tale. Instead, she adds to it, weaving the story’s threads in unexpected directions while still holding to the normal course of the story. Yet at the same time, it’s much more multilayered, with all the characters seeming real. Rose is an exceptional heroine who I could completely relate to. Many of the things which might seem rash or odd in the original fairytale are explained fully, and though a part of me knew a few things weren’t great decisions, I could understand why Rose did them.
This book is set in Norway, with many of the names Norwegian, but it wasn’t confusing to me. Likewise, although there are several different narrations in this book, it didn’t feel awkward or confusing. This is an excellent fantasy novel which I would recommend for ages twelve and up.