Saturday, September 4, 2010


by Edith Pattou

10 out of 10

YA fantasy.  I rarely give a full 10 to anything, but I think this book deserved it.  Not that it was perfect, but because I would have no reservations about recommending this book to anyone.  No caveats, no hedging.  If you're a person who can read, I think you should read this book.

Rose has been brought up in a superstitious household, and there is some element of supernatural in her life.  This is a retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon (the fairy tale), which in and of itself is unusual.  I have actually read The Blue Fairy Book, in which the fairy tale is recorded, but it's much less well known than, say, Beauty and the Beast, of which this is not a retelling.

As a retelling, I think Pattou does an excellent job.  There are elements that are taken directly from the fairy-tale, like the drops of candle wax, sleeping potions, and trolls.  There are completely new elements, also.  The guides that Rose encounters are developed characters in their own rights, and the birth-direction superstition is new and intriguing.

One thing that may throw readers is Pattou's use of shifting narrative.  At the beginning, we learn that this story has been recorded in a book, each person faithfully recording parts of the story.  The prologue seems almost contrived in that aspect, but the book itself holds up very well.  I typically don't like first person or shifting narrative, and this book employs both; however, Pattou does it so successfully that by the end of the story it seems like exactly the right way to have done it.

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