Oh man, this one was an amazing and quick read even though it was over 500 pages long.
East by Edith Pattou is retelling of an old nordic folklore/myth, East of the Sun/West of the Moon, that reminded me heavily of Eros/Psyche, Beauty and the Beast and the Snow Queen. It was great. I inhaled the book in one sitting, I didn’t think I would as October’s book was a slow read over many nights. But there I was, telling my boyfriend to hush a while longer as I finished up the book instead of eating or even turning on the lights to my place.
I don’t know what I liked the most, the different narratives, which I usually find annoying as they detract from the main plot, the amazing knowledge the authoress had of cultures and jobs or the character development she weaved amongst a handful of players. She would write about map makers and then viking ships like a pro, it was such an immersive experience. Never did I doubt the story she was telling.
I loved the characters, Rose, independent and sure of her goals, Neddy, her older brother, her father and, on some occasions, her mother. It wasn’t so much that I disliked Eugenia, I saw her as a flawed and superstitious woman who had lost a daughter, and I accepted her mistakes, as tragic as they were, as actions meant to move the plot along. They weren’t unlike her in personality, it did feel really natural and normal for her to act the way she did. I just expected her to know more about the white bear when she gave her daughter up to him so easily with this confident knowing.
The troll Queen was also amazing, super flawed as well, an obvious spoiled brat but a dangerous one at that. How she saw the boy as the exception to humankind, while the rest were kept as slaves. It was crazy to see how much she loved him, and crazy how it all fell apart.
Rose, on the other hand, was a protagonist I could root for and felt inspired by. She never gave up, she did suffer and did lose her way, but when she had a direction she followed it with all her heart. I know how that’s like, following your dreams to places that leave you alone or surrounded by people who openly dislike you and try to hurt you. Reading how she kept her strength, how she persevered, it really meant a lot to know that, if I do push through this, it will be for something.
The story itself was satisfying in its length, it felt just long enough to really appreciated the world she was sharing and short enough to not get too tired of it. *cough* LOTR *cough*. The only flaw I had was it’s beginning, totally awkward in terms of the rest of the tale, and it never came back around to how it had began. So.. maybe just skip that first chapter and just get into the tale.
I just really loved the obvious TLC she gave to every people/country/culture she wrote about. She never just wrote stereotypes, everyone was a rich character who’s culture felt valuable, unique and interesting.
But I digress, before I go into a longer gushing rant I end it here. Definitely recommend, and will definitely read the sequel.