I wish I could get into Icebound – it sounded intriguing and I’m always happy to get my hands on an urban fantasy or an M/M book. But this novella missed on nearly all points for me: wooden characters, wince worthy dialogue, swiss cheese worldbuilding, and a romance that left me completely unmoved.
Story: in a world where the fae have suddenly returned, Shane is a mage and his partner, Drake, a warrior for the church. When Shane bargains his soul away to the Ice King to save the life of Drake, both find themselves on separate paths. But there is something unusual about Shane’s magic – and he may not be as cold as the Ice King thinks. When they are forced to work together after 10 years apart, they may be more dangerous to each other than the soul stealer they hunt.
Novella’s typically eschew worldbuilding in exchange for a more intense story. But in this case, I had a hard time understanding anything that was going on. We’re given a lot of tell, very little show, and actions constantly contradict the words. E.g., we know that Shane isn’t as cold as he should be from the loss of his soul (as we are told over and over), yet he gets over emotional about everything – angry, lustful, etc. So does he have less emotion or not? We can’t tell from the dialogue/actions.
The dialogue and interaction of the two main characters were really cringeworthy. Guys using the term ‘baby’ when doing hard erotic sex really turns me off – as do the constant mood changes before, during, and after said sex. We’re told the guys haven’t had a relationship in 10 years and dislike each other – but then they are bantering like best buddies in 5 minutes. Then hard to each other. Then joking around again. I was getting whiplash.
About half way through I sort of understood what was happening. But by then, I was so uninterested in the characters and world that I went on autopilot for the rest of the book. There just wasn’t anything to keep me engaged.
Honestly, the writing was very weak. I had expected much better going in. That said, I’d love to see more from Harper Collins in this type of genre.
Reviewed from an ARC.