It’s been ten years since Shane Conell sold his soul to the Ice King in order to save the life of the man he loves. Correction, loved.
After ten years, it’s growing difficult to remember love, and hate, and laughter – until a chance appears to get back the only thing his frozen heart still wants…
Drake Young is doing fine. Really. He’s got a good job, nice benefits, and the soulless husk of his old lover only comes by to torment him every so often. However, it only takes the appearance of a creature from the Etherworld wreaking havoc on the decidedly nonmagical city streets to drag him out of retirement, forcing him to team up with the one person he can’t bear even to look at!
Now, Drake and Shane must race against the clock to keep their city from being destroyed, even if it means working together. And no matter how difficult it is to catch the creature, it’s a hell of a lot more difficult to resist the urges that ten years haven’t managed to kill.
REVIEWER: Dolorianne, 1.5
The new Mortals & Myths series by Corinna Rogers should have been right up my alley. It is part of HarperImpulse’s Paranormal Romance line, though the blurb’s first line hints that the romance may be more of the erotic variety than hearts-and-flowers. I am a huge fan of Urban Fantasy so I was ready to love Icebound.
As far as the couple is concerned, I enjoyed how raw Shane and Drake were with each other. The emphasis is on the “urban” and the “erotic” where they are concerned. They didn’t fit into a traditional “romance” box which made their story interesting to read. They fought, they fucked, they clearly loved each other even though they currently hid behind hating each other. There was a lot of sex, and not only with each other. I was fine with most of that. The scenes weren’t particularly erotic to me, but I got the gist for why many of them were there: to showcase their inability to stay apart in spite of Shane being trapped without a soul in an emotional prison. Shane’s feelings were as cold as ice and he took every opportunity to use them against Drake. This was balanced with flashbacks of when they were young and falling in love, before Shane gave up his soul. I’m not a big fan of flashbacks but I think they were a good idea here. I didn’t always like the placement or understand why that particular memory was highlighted, but I know they were necessary in order for the reader to connect with Shane as a person and root for Shane and Drake as a couple.
Unfortunately, while I could appreciate their struggle, I did not enjoy the book as a whole. If Icebound had been marketed as purely erotica then I wouldn’t expect much detail or world building and therefore would not consider the lack as part of the rating. I avoid stories with rape and don’t consider rape fantasy erotic, but I know there are some that do. Because there was no tag, and because it was arguably (I didn’t go back and count words to be sure) the longest and most detailed of the sex scenes, I was definitely put off. That it was there at all … I can see why. Any emotion Shane had left at this point was hanging on by a thread and this was to be the final showdown. But considering how dark most of the rest of the sex scenes are, detailing the rape scene instead of fading to black felt a little like going “all-in” with a losing poker hand, like hitting a nail with a sledgehammer.
As far as the world building, there wasn’t much. And the little there was, was confusing and contradictory. The easiest example to showcase in this limited space is a sex scene. Drake is standing while getting a blowjob from Shane, who is kneeling. How does Drake have Shane’s cock in his mouth, too? Impossible. We know things because the author tells us so, not because of any support on the page. Sentences run on, grouping many acts/events/time together. The pacing is almost like watching a tv show or movie on fast forward. Some detail is offered here and there, but much of that references things (events/mythology/terms) in such a matter-of-fact way that I wonder if the author thinks we should “know” these things already. I even searched to see if these characters were a spin-off of some other work. As far as I could tell, they weren’t.
I would not recommend Icebound to readers looking for urban fantasy or an obvious romance. However, readers who prefer a darker romance, and those who read for eroticism over an overall story arc, will probably enjoy this very much. It’s because of the dynamics between the two leading men that I believe there is hope for this series. I’m cautiously curious about book 2, as well as the next stage for Shane and Drake, but I’ll see how I feel when the time comes.