Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Ice Storm by Ann Stuart

This is one of those ‘You are my one true love but in the meantime I’ve got married to another man, had affairs but I’ve been frigid with all of them except you’ romances. Isn’t that Danielle Steele territory? Except that this isn’t a romance at all. There’s absolutely no kissy-wissy at all in the first half of the story. Only memory of kissy-wissy and that doesn’t really count. In the second half of the novel there’s some cursory sex for about the duration of one page. So if I was a newcomer to the Ice series I wouldn’t be that impressed.

However I am an Ice aficionado. So I quite liked this novel. Amazingly the second half of the novel contains a cracking good spy plot. I loved it. I loved that it took the whole team of Isobel, Bastian and Peter to bring about the denouement. It was lovely to see that Bastian had totally settled down to family life but still retained his skills. Of course, Chloe, his wife, had seen him kill previously so it was great that she didn’t have stupid hysterics when the bad guys come after Bastian in their home. However my absolutely favourite scene was Harry and Peter’s gay sniping at each other. Despite being Peter’s boss for many years, Thomason, didn’t have a clue what he was really like. One minute he wanted to kill Peter, the next he acknowledged that he would be useful in his new organisation. Thomason kept thinking of Peter as an emotionless, mercenary ‘street rat’. Yet in Peter’s own novel, he was clearly described as having gone to a private school. My favourite kind of character; the sneaky killer toff. Thomason had no idea that Peter’s loyalties had completely changed. His wife and friends were actually important to him nowadays. Particularly now that he was ‘well fucked.’ Like I said. I loved the spy plot. Much better than the Bourne novels.

But hey. I’m way off base here. This novel is supposed to be about Isobel and Killian. Unfortunately on that level it just didn’t work as it should have. I don’t even think that the reader gets to know Killian’s first name throughout the whole novel. ‘Josef’, his alias, will not do. (Think Joe Stalin, or Joe Tito) For me there were some scenes between Isobel and Killian that just didn’t work. I ask you. If someone kept you in a semi-drugged state for the purposes of having sex with you, would you ‘fall in love’ with them? That’s a bit reminiscent of an abusive relationship imo. Also when Killian tells Isobel about his 3 marriages, and he says each wife was called Maria. Isobel doesn’t understand that he was just generalizing and that each wife was totally anonymous. She actually thinks each wife was named Maria. She comes across as a bit thick. Killian was using spy talk and she completely misunderstood it.

There’s a significant tease at the start of the book. When Killian, the hero, is described as having thinning hair and a paunch. I almost fell for it…I almost stopped reading. Because, yes, I don’t want to read about old, ugly, unhealthy heroes and heroines. There’s a whole raft of writers who write stories like that, but I choose not to read them. My free will. Also what the hell is the purpose of Mahmoud? Other than the Ice character who spends significant amounts of time in a drugged state. There’s got to be at least one in every novel.

I don’t know why Isobel has to give up leading the Committee. No-one could have predicted that Harry would turn bad. I think it was a brilliant decision to bring him back. It would have been much better if she and Killian had headed it together. Their relationship isn’t based on normal parameters and he definitely has the mind-set for the job. But he obviously wants to be with Isobel.

I sincerely hope Fire and Ice isn’t about Reno. He’s too much of a child. And one of the best things about the Ice series for me is that it features adults making adult decisions and adult mistakes.

btw. People might be interested in knowing that I have arrived at a little plateau of reading contentment. For a while at least. I will read all the Ice series as they get published. I love re-reading the previous novels too. I'm also buying the whole Crazy series. Plus picking and choosing which Breed books to read next. And last but not least. I also like the Midnight Breed series by Lara Adrian. So that's me sorted for the near future. Consequently, reviews will slow down and their nature may change. Please remember. I like all the above series mentioned no matter how many criticisms I include in the reviews.

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