Monday, February 10, 2014

A Vintage Reads Review: East

East by Edith Pattou, May 1, 2005. 507 pages. Published by Graphia. Source: Borrowed from sister.
Rose has always been different.

Since the day she was born, it was clear she had a special fate. Her superstitious mother keeps the unusual circumstances of Rose's birth a secret, hoping to prevent her adventurous daughter from leaving home... but she can't suppress Rose's true nature forever.

So when an enormous white bear shows up one cold autumn evening and asks teenage Rose to come away with it-- in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family-- she readily agrees.

Rose travels on the bear's broad back to a distant and empty castle, where she is nightly joined by a mysterious stranger. In discovering his identity, she loses her heart-- and finds her purpose-- and realizes her journey has only just begun.
First Sentence:
Ebba Rose was the name of our last-born child.

I do not know where to begin in sharing with y'all my love of Edith Pattou's East, all I know is that there is no way I'll do this book justice here. This book was just as incredible this time around as it was the very first time I read it. The characters, story and writing just flew off the pages and came alive as I revisited one of my favorite fairy tale retellings.

While the plot is one of the things that makes East such a great read, this book would not be nearly as good if it weren't for the characters and the way Ms. Pattou captured them. I really enjoyed seeing how complex each of their stories were and how each of them coped with the happenings throughout the book. Neddy, was perhaps my favorite character because he never gave up on Rose and even went to the ends of the world to help her, just like Rose in her quest to right the wrong she caused the white bear.
   Seriously, characters and their struggles with each other and their own desires/wishes is one of the reasons I enjoyed reading East as much as I did.

Edith Pattou's writing is easily the best thing about East, at least, in my opinion. I loved her ability to capture the voices of the characters. From Rose's restlessness; to how her father disliked keeping the truth of her birth from her; her mother's insane superstitions; her brother's wish for her happiness; and then theirs the loneliness of the white bear. I really, really loved the fact that Ms. Pattou told the story from multiple POVs because it made the world and story all the richer for it.

The only drawback to reading East would have to be that now I'm curious to read, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, of which East is adapted/retold from. Ah, well, enough musings on my desire to check out the original.
    Other than my annoyance with Rose's superstitious mother and how she was never really able to see that it was her choices that caused the problems, but of course, her superstitions are what set the wheels in motion for the plot, I cannot think of anything I disliked about this one.

Final Verdict: East- an incredible retelling of East of the Sun and West of the Moon that will stay with you long after you've read the last page.

East earns 4 out of 5 griffins

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