East, by Edith Pattou

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I say definitely yes to this.  If I had read it when I was small, it would have become one of my favorite books and I would have read it over and over again.  As it is, I liked it but I probably wouldn’t buy it.

Basically it’s a retelling of “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”, which is not my favorite fairy tale at all because the girl is such a silly brat.  I always think of Fire and Hemlock (ah, Fire and Hemlock), because Polly had a rather scathing view of the girl even though, of course, the girl was Polly.  As it were.  But this is quite good.  The girl Rose goes away with the white bear in exchange for having her sister cured of a sickness, and they hang out in his weird domicile where she has lots of books to read.  I would say that East owes a lot to Robin McKinley’s Beauty, which is why I’m not buying it, because I can just read Beauty, which is superb.

That said, I enjoyed the book a lot.  I suppose the idea of “east-born”, “north-born”, etc., seems a little forced and gimmicky, when you think about it, but when I was reading I didn’t feel that way at all.  I thought it was cool.  Quite nicely fleshed-out relationships also.  And a not-unsympathetic villain, which I support as well.  Good times.