East is the story of a girl named Ebba Rose who, at the age of fifteen, is visited by a white bear and asked to go with him in exchange for her sister’s health and her family’s well-being. Adventuresome and willful, she agrees and is led to a castle of stone where she is kept for months. Every night, Rose is visited by someone- only she has no idea who or what, because just before his arrival every night the lamps are extinguished and impossible to re-light. She thinks it’s the white bear, only it’s too small. Perhaps one of the troll servants around the castle? She doesn’t know, but the mystery is driving her mad.
East is a 500-page adventure novel for young adults. I’ve owned it since I first read it, in fifth grade. After seven years, I remembered basically nothing (I’m pretty sure I’ve mixed it up with The Golden Compass in the past- the books share a lot of the same elements), so I decided to reread it. Despite it’s length, the book goes quickly. Despite the fact that adventure isn’t really my thing, I enjoyed it.
The story is told from multiple viewpoints- primarily Rose, as she’s the heroine, but also by her elder brother, Neddy, who is stuck at home worrying about her and being unable to move on until she returns; there’s a little bit of her father in the beginning and the end; the Troll Queen, who’s behind it all; and even the White Bear himself, in short, clipped lines, almost like poetry. Because of all these conflicting viewpoints, a lot of backstory is revealed to the reader before it is revealed to Rose. This is dangerous because it could make the reader impatient with Rose, but Edith Pattou does it in such a way that the story runs smoothly, and the heroine comes out looking all the more clever when she does catch up.
The book is good, quick, and escapist. I enjoyed it and I’m glad to have it in my library.
In other news, I’ve recently become completely smitten with the concept of book trailers. I included one in my review of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, but I’ve recently found these two which I think are fantastic. Here’s one for The Book Thief:
If you haven’t read this, do. It’s amazing.
This one is for A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. A few weeks ago I asked my librarian to order this for me, but it was so new no one had it. I should inquire again.