Of Giants and Ice: The Ever Afters, Book 1

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Of Giants and Ice: The Ever Afters, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Derivative but fun fairy-tale adventure.

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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 & Representations
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.

What 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."

User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written byZelda Ruto March 7, 2020

Amazing book

The first time I read this it became one of my favorites. Great story, amazing characters and a super fun read. I would totally recommend this! As well as the e... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bycloudimals March 8, 2018

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Fantasy and adventure

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