Rating: 5/loved (1-5/hated-loved)
When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the Earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying that her mother had died.
This book. Man, this book. Flawless.
Cassie lived her whole life in an Alaskan research station, where her father was the director. Her whole world was about science, she wanted to study polar bears for a living when she grew up, and was well on the way to that goal when she met a talking one.
Turned out the "fairy tale" her grandmother had told her was real.
When I say this book was flawless, I mean it. I fully believed each and every character as a real person. Cassie going from a world where science was her religion to a world full of spirits and "magic" would have been a journey on its own, but that was only the very start of things. We got to experience her growing relationship with a "talking bear" (a munaqsri, a spirit who is a caretaker for one of the species on Earth, they gather souls from the dying and deliver them to newborns). There was not one thing I disagreed with, disliked, or didn't believe in this book. Not one typo or rough wording. ...okay, I didn't like the cover art, but that doesn't really count.
I loved the book's setting to death. The whole way the spirits worked. The munaqsri as "people" (believable characters). Every step of her journey alone and on foot through the arctic and Alaska.
There was another journey in the book that was just as interesting, but it's a spoiler. Please do yourself a favor and don't click here! Read the book yourself! Though what was perhaps a misunderstanding, Cassie became pregnant with the polar bear king's (polar bear munaqsri's) child (he had a human form). She's a teenager, so unsurprisingly she wanted nothing to do with being pregnant. It was so fascinating and believable to watch her come to terms with that and to grow to love the baby growing inside her. I felt touched to be able to experience that through her. And, while I've never been through it, her labor and birth seemed fully believable, too.
This was one of those rare books that, as soon as I finished it, I wanted to start at the beginning again.
On top of everything else, this was one of those (sadly) rare books that is self-contained -- it doesn't end on a cliffhanger and make you wait for the rest of the trilogy. There is no more after Ice. *sniffle*
irreparable posted an amusing video today: The Wiggles: The Last Suárez Supper. The Wiggles are a musical group for children, which makes this all the funnier. Suárez is the World Cup soccer player who bite the other player (Chiellini) on the shoulder.
Diet: I was worried about going back to work, but today was a really good day. In fact, my calorie count was so low (300 breakfast, 300 lunch) that I had to eat a "normal" dinner (I don't want to eat so few calories that my body goes into starvation mode). It was really interesting because I was barely hungry at all. Only because I was late in getting lunch (had to go grocery shopping again) did I have any hunger pains at all today.
Two days until my "official" weekly weigh-in, but I lost another pound and a half. So that puts me at 8.5 pounds in five days. I'm near the point of laughing at myself over worry at needing to lose 10-15 pounds in two months.
I want to keep losing even after I hit the goal. I haven't had any "last meals" yet, and I have two (or three or four) planned, so I want the extra weight loss to cover it. In order of MUST DO:
1) Chinese buffet. I don't go there often, but I love it so, and I'll never go again after the surgery.
2) Sweet and sour (chicken/pork/whatever). The buffet I go to doesn't have that, and it's my favorite Chinese food. It's unlikely I'll ever be able to have this again post-surgery (too sweet).
3) A beef dish from the local Hawaiian place. (Something I may or may not ever have later, some people don't like/tolerate beef after it.)
4) Fried chicken from Popeye's. (Possible to have after.)
Tomorrow will be exactly two months before surgery. (Nervous!) I bought my mother's airline tickets tonight, she'll be staying with me for two weeks to help out.