Thursday, March 19, 2009

East by Edith Pattou

East East
by Edith Pattou

September 1st 2003 by Harcourt Children's Books
Hardcover, 400 pages
0152045635 (isbn13: 9780152045630

rating: 3 of 5 stars

This retelling of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” alternates point of view, chapter by chapter.  There are five narrators—Father, Rose, Neddy (Rose's brother), the Troll Queen, and the White Bear. Rose is the heroine, the youngest of a large family, struggling with poverty. To save the family Rose goes off with the White Bear, who promises the family riches if Rose will come with him.

Pattou draws extensively from Nordic mythology as well as the original fairy tale and bits of Greek mythology.  She’s done her research in any number of fields, but use of detail in East is deft and masterful. The details of such work as map making and sailing ships among the icebergs come to life as she describes them.

East is a rich tapestry of a novel, but it doesn’t quite sparkle for me.  Each of Pattou’s characters has a fleshed-out personality, even the ones she doesn’t like.  The most lovingly drawn character is of the Inuit shaman who helps Rose travel to the North-most point of the globe.  The plot lopes along with an even pace but it never stalls.  The resolution is predictable but still satisfying.  And while I recommend you read this book if you’re a fan of fairy tale retellings or historical YA, it’s not one I urge you to rush rush out to acquire.

OTHER REVIEWERS: Nymeth at Things Mean A Lot

3 comments:

  1. Hmm, I've been thinking about whether or not to read this for a while, but I think I'll put it on the back burner from your review. :)

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  2. I've been thinking about reading this. I think I still will but I won't buy it just yet.

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  3. I just finished reading this one and I agree with you. It doesn't "sparkle" as much as I so wanted it to. East of the Sun, West of the Moon is a difficult fairytale to re-tell, in my opinion, and so I was really eager to read this one which had so many good reviews. Glad I'm not he only one who wishes for something more!

    --Sharry

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