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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Melding of Geology and Mythology, 11 Aug. 2009
By 
Ursula K Raphael "AstraDaemon" (USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ice Land (Paperback)
Ice Land is an interesting twist of the historical novel form. Betsy Tobin attempts to bring together many different aspects of the history of Iceland through the characters of Freya, fulla, and Dvalin - goddess, mortal, and dwarf (half-breed), respectively.

Frey pursues the Brisingamen, Fulla is caught up in a feud, and Dvalin is torn between worlds. Eventually, the story reveals how their three lives are intertwined in more ways than one. In the background, Mount Helka builds up to an eruption that changes everything for everyone.

I only had two problems with this book:
1) the Norns are used to present mini geology lessons between chapters:
"The crust it encounters is not seamless, but a series of curved plates that fit together like a puzzle."

and, 2) the Norse gods are portrayed as incestuous and dysfunctional as the Greek pantheon. While the Aesir and Vanir had their issues, I felt that Tobin took a lot of liberties with Odin and the rest.

If you would like another historical book with the adventures of a strong Norse woman, read The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman. However, for more information about Norse mythology and traditions, I strongly suggest Myths of the Norsemen: From the Eddas and Sagas and Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A window into a wonderful world, 23 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Ice Land (Paperback)
Ice Land is contemporary faerie tale (without the faeries) where the landscape is as much a driving force in the novel and its community of characters. Tobin's style is tight. Her language is plain, and the narrative is driven by a certain amount of lust and longin and a deep sense of place. It was a treat to be taken by this author's safe pair of hands into this kind of Iceland.

It is a wonderful read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant nordic masterpiece, 9 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Ice Land (Paperback)
This book is a true masterpiece of Norse mythology and human nature set in the dramatic landscape of Iceland. It is a retelling of the Norse goddess Freya's desire for the famed Brisingamen necklace crafted by 4 dwarves. Yet this tale is interwoven with the tale of a young Viking woman struggling with societies marital demands of her and the needs of her heart for a man she cannot have. It explores Freya's character as she must give her body to each of the dwarves in return for the necklace the fates have told her will save Iceland from destruction, yet it is with one dwarf in particular of the four brothers that does not take Freya so eagerly and the pair travel and encounter other mythological beings from the Norse Pantheon as they try to return to the Dwarves realm in order to fulfil the bargin.

All the characters are wonderfully crafted and the strong emotions involved with them all connect seamlessly to create a wondrous tale of love, desire and the changing of times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For those who love fairy tales, mythology and fantasy fiction, 13 May 2008
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This review is from: Ice Land (Paperback)
This is a beautiful novel (both in its content and cover design) based on Icelandic mythology. It is let down slightly by the ending and its lack of pace at some points, but if you are interested at all in Iceland and/or Norse mythology and/or fairy tales and fantasy fiction as genres, then I would recommend this novel very highly!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Escapism at its best, 13 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Ice Land (Paperback)
I picked up this book by chance in a small bookshop in Marlborough. The book called to me. I read the first two sentences and knew that it was everything I needed from a book right then. It has magic and transformation and feather cloaks and swan maidens, giants and dwarves and a tightness of spare writing that drives the plot. It is beautiful and magical and a masterpiece, where the landscape is as much a character in the book as any of the people. And it has love. Perfect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a great story, 3 Nov. 2009
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This review is from: Ice Land (Paperback)
This book is fantastic, a mixture of mythology, love, family feuds, magic and dwarves.
i cant go into detail but all ill say is this is a fantastic book and i advise anybody to buy it! :D
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Treat, 8 April 2008
This review is from: Ice Land (Paperback)
Ice Land is a gripping tale set in a beautifully drawn landscape of mountains, caves and volcanoes, which will be unfamiliar to many of us. I can imagine this book appealing across the age spectrum.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 18 April 2015
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This review is from: Ice Land (Paperback)
Very enjoyable
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Ice Land
Ice Land by Betsy Tobin (Paperback - 1 Jan. 2009)
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