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Synopsis: Rose was born into the world facing north, and as a north child, superstition says that she will be a wanderer, traveling far from home. This prophecy is fulfilled when she is taken on the back of a white bear to a mysterious empty castle, where a silent stranger appears to her night after night. When her curiosity overcomes her, she loses her heart, and must journey to a land east of the sun and west of the moon to reclaim it.
Source: My house-cum-library
Genre: Pure fantasy, fairy-tale.
Length: 512 pages
Publisher: Usborne Publishing, February 2006
Initial Reaction: This is a long book. I actually didn't notice that - I often read far longer - but I know it matters to some. Trust me, you'll fly through it. And it has a beautiful cover, the kind you'd want to keep on display on your shelf.
Setting: This was a big breakaway from all my dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels and I actually really enjoyed it. I really liked the detailed description of Rose's home life and then the castle - wow, that was delectable. The sumptuous description really fuelled my imagination and I loved how I could travel the world and beyond in the space of this one book. The Palace sounded chilling but that was, of course, on purpose. I could see its cold beauty and I have to admit, I was drawn into Rose's awe-filled perspective.
Rose: Rose Rose Rose. I was proud to have this character as my middle-namesake. I loved reading about the stories of her childhood and the secret of her wind-rose was captivating. It was fascinating to see the transition from adventurous, careless toddler Rose to adventurous, courageous teenage Rose. I was honestly charmed by the effect she has on everyone around her, her special spot in Father's heart and her determination and perseverance in the face of the unknown. A seriously admirable heroine.
Bear: White Bear, whose alter ego would be a HUGE spoiler if I were to say it, was such an endearing character. I felt heartwrenchingly sorry for him in the chapters of his stilted, laboured speech. At the very end...Perfect.
Neddy: Neddy reminded me of myself. A mixture of him and Rose would definitely be me. I adored the scenes where he looks after Rose, because he is an inspiration to her even though she disobeys him sometimes. He still loves her, and it's beautiful. I also liked his cute little scholarly ways, it was like looking into a (distorted) mirror.
There are many other characters but I think you should wait to read the book and find out who the Queen is for yourself. Prick an ear at Eugenia's superstitions. Keep an eye out for Tuki.
Plot: There are five first-person narrators. Don't be put off. The narrative still runs smoothly and the short chapters will make you feel like you're flying through it. I love the sweeping plot, it makes for an exciting and heartwarming story.
Jumped out at me: FairyTale narrative
The storyline in this novel is beautifully woven together. It's an adaptation of the fairytale East of the Sun and West of the Moon so it stands to reason that it should be like this but it's a true classic.
A beautiful fairytale for everyone to enjoy.