Of Giants and Ice: The Ever Afters, Book 1 Book Poster Image

Of Giants and Ice: The Ever Afters, Book 1



Derivative but fun fairy-tale adventure.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The repeating Tales home in on archetypes in storytelling, pointing to commonalities and variations in fairy tales around the world and through the years.

Positive messages
Rory and her friends in Ever After School do the hard (and necessary) work of becoming a team, earning each other's respect and friendship.


Positive role models
Rory and her friends learn to face their fears and disappointments, with each other's help. Rory, who's felt like a pawn in her parents' bitter divorce, begins to stand up for herself. She doesn't tell her parents about her afterschool activities, however. Lena disappoints her family, despite her good intentions, and tries to make it right. 
Violence & scariness
Battle scenes include a bit of gory violence such as stabbings and beheadings. The narrative doesn't linger over gruesome details, and the young heroes are understandably repulsed by injuries and blood. Characters are in danger of dying and can fail their Tales. One loses several fingers. 
Teen characters use a few coarse words, including "suck," 'jerk," "crap," and "piss." One character says "Oh my gumballs" instead of "Oh my God," because her grandmother makes her bite on a bar of soap when she uses unacceptable language.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Of Giants and Ice isn't an especially gentle fantasy. Characters face real peril -- even risk death -- while carrying out missions and quests based on familiar fairy tales. Rory hides the truth about Ever After School from her family members because she doesn't want them to pull her from the program. She and her friends have difficult family backgrounds marked by divorce, poverty, and absent parents. They also engage in violent battles with magical creatures that lead to stabbings, beheadings, and the like. Teen characters use a few coarse words, including "suck," 'jerk," "crap," and "piss."

Parents say

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What's the story?

Eleven-year-old Rory Landon moves frequently, but everywhere she's known for being the daughter of her famous parents. Then she's invited to Ever After School, an afternoon program like no other: Her first day, she finds herself battling a dragon in Yellowstone National Park. At EAS, children train to be Characters in dangerous Tales that could begin at any time. Rory's surprised to find she's famous at EAS: It's rumored that she has a special Destiny. But her immediate concern is to stay alive and help friends Lena and Chase on a beanstalk quest. But this Tale is like no other, and the three kids get drawn into a larger drama: The imprisoned Snow Queen is plotting escape and a new, epic war.


Is it any good?

OF GIANTS AND ICE, the first in the Ever Afters series, is a fun read for elementary-school-age fantasy fans. It owes a considerable debt to Harry Potter and others in the magical school genre: an uncertain hero saddled with high expectations, loyal friends who rise above their bickering, wise teachers with questionable motives, a super-villain gathering up power to battle to the hero, etc. Rudimentary storytelling and a lack of imaginative richness result in a slight but enjoyable adventure.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the trend of reimagining fairy tales for older audiences in books and films. Why do you think this is popular right now? What's the appeal?
  • Characters play out their parts in familiar tales that repeat regularly, though with variations. Talk about archetypes, and find examples of fairy tale archetypes in diverse settings. Rapunzel, for example, is a sage -- like Dumbledore in Harry Potter and Merlin in the King Arthur tales.
  • Stories about special schools for witches, wizards, or kids with magical or super powers are also popular. What others have you read? How does this one compare?

Book details

Author:Shelby Bach
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters, Fairy tales
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:July 24, 2012
Number of pages:352
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Available on:Paperback, Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of Of Giants and Ice: The Ever Afters, Book 1 was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byLayna June 30, 2014

Awesome book

I loved this book I am a very slow reader over all and I read in 4 days it was awesome .I think once you understand how divorce and how poverty affects people you will love it .the main character isn't afraid to kick butt and eventually will stand up for both herself and others . This was a book that had the main character almost live double lives they occasionally mix together but not often .
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byBriarWindslow April 24, 2014

Beautifully Written New Take On Classic Fairytales!

Contrary to the summary given by the site, this story is quite different from previous "magical camp" stories. It is true that there is a new hero with a lot of weight on their shoulders, a sidekick or two, and villain with an interesting past, but then why isn't every last Harry Potter and Percy Jackson marked as a repeat? The site given review is VERY hypocritical in this case. Now, with that aside, I absolutely loved this book. The characters intriguing, the plot fast paced but still so deep and detailed, and the mythical world beautifully structured. This, the first book of the series, sets up the next books beautifully, yet has great substance itself, and is not just a filler, like some series beginners. Every time you think you have it figured out, something new is introduced. It's always keeping you on your toes with its curving twists and turns. The main characters, Rory, Lena, and Chase, are intriguing and unique. They face both fairytale threats and more modern problems. Even the 'mean girls' Rory and Lena face are many layered, not just cardboard cut out villains for the sake of being there. Be warned that there is violence, as the characters face prospects such as death, and a few characters are severely injured, but it is not at all gory during the fighting, and we only see one of the injuries occur. The most violent points in the book are the description of a group of skeletons and one other small storyline based point. Keep in mind: while the violence is there, it is all storyline supportive. I have read beyond the normal fairytales into more rare and lesser known ones, and even I learned of a few titles I had been unaware of beforehand. Be prepared to do a little turning back at the very beginning so you can remember who's who, because the book quickly introduces characters so as to move on with the story, but no more than any other book. I borrowed this book from my local library, but I wish I had bought so that I could have it at arm's length. As soon as I finished the first, I dove right into the second, which proved the impossible wrong: Shelby Bach's books could be even better than this page turner!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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