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REVIEW: Cold as Ice by Anne Stuart

Dear Mrs Stuart,

Some of your books I love. Some of them I hated. And some that I keep reading despite things which annoyed me. “Cold as Ice” is one of the later. I liked it a lot better when I first finished it but after a week of contemplation, all the little niggles are jumping out at me.

cold as ice anne stuartGenevieve Stuart works better for me than Clueless Chloe of “Black Ice.” But she didn’t have far to go to be better. GS has more backbone and is willing to go down fighting rather than just sit there in a haze and let someone kill her. But considering how smart this lawyer is supposed to be, she sometimes needed a clue about who was trying to save her and who just wanted to “do” her ass before killing her. Sure she didn’t know what she was walking into on the billionaire villain’s boat and the early hours on the island were confusing but, Lord help us, by the time Peter laid out her escape before the island went boom much less was rescuing her from Harry’s little California hide-away, she ought to have figured things out. And her attempts to escape from the hotel room should have been spent banging her head against the window to straighten her brain out rather than hurting her hands and feet. And why does she end up gardening in Laura Ashley dresses? Why not wear the jeans and t-shirts she rediscovered she loves wearing instead of her high priced Lawyer Outfits? Why do American authors make their American heroines think the English dress like idiots (see also Lisa Cach in “Have Glass Slipper Will Travel.” )?

Then there’s the villain. Harry’s so particular about everything that I’m surprised he wouldn’t think it’s odd that suddenly all his long term employees are leaving him. And why does he have to be into all that sick, twisted sex stuff? I get that he’s evil, I get that he doesn’t give a damn about anyone except himself and he wants…something (power? money?)…so you don’t have to make him a sadomasochist/pedophile for me to hate him and want him dead.

Now as for Peter Jensen, I didn’t like him as much as Bastien. One minute he’s the Man with No Emotions, bestest agent evah, who blends in with wallpaper and who always gets the job done and the next he’s getting attacks of conscience. Which is it? Either he doesn’t care who he fucks/kills or he twists himself into pretzels to avoid killing an innocent. And hasn’t this series proved that no one ever knows who’re the good guys and who kicks puppies? So why the agonizing and mission delays to save GS?

Which leads me to the middle part of the book. Why the delay in killing Harry? Why do they all have to wait around on the island for 2 days? It’s not like they’re questioning Harry to try to determine what other little surprises he has in mind for his world takeover or financial takeover or whatever he ultimately had in mind. All around the world the Committee agents are furiously trying to discover this but not on the island. There it’s just GS and PJ circling each other, fixing food then fucking. Why isn’t Peter working Harry over for intel, why is Harry kept doped up rather than just offing him, why did they all even go to the island in the first place if all they’re going to do is blow it up in two days?

But I didn’t worry about forgetting any details about how ruthless Peter is, how he never screws up an assignment, how he can’t miss a shot, can fuck with no emotions, never kills innocents because it was repeated endless times to make sure I remembered it. Same with Harry’s ruthlessness and sadism. Same with Isobel’s agonizing over killing innocents. And I guess she’s the reason for the new softer, kinder Committee. I have to admit that I liked the Committee better when they were more ruthless. Hmmm, does that make me a sick, twisted reader?

So, why did I keep reading? Well, the story sucked me in and while I was reading it, I wanted to know what would happen next. I wanted to see how cold and calculating Peter would be and watch him attempt to deal with his feelings for GS. I wanted to see how long it would take GS to figure Harry out. And believe it or not, Harry with his cheerful ruthlessness ended up growing on me. I could just believe that he had the emotional and psychological disconnect to think he could get away with what he was planning and he acted like a man with billions would, like everything was possible for him. He worked much better for me than villains who are portrayed as foaming at the mouth and chewing on the scenery.

Now as to the future, I am interested in the newest Committee agent we’ve been introduced to, Takashi O’Brien. But then as Bam said, I was fascinated by the idea of Peter Jensen too. I hope the next letter I write about a Committee book will be happier than this one. C+ for “Cold as Ice.”

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

7 Comments

  1. Karen Scott
    Mar 28, 2007 @ 18:37:40

    But considering how smart this lawyer is supposed to be, she sometimes needed a clue about who was trying to save her and who just wanted to “do" her ass before killing her.

    God, YES!

    I found myself wanting something heinous to happen to GS. Surely that’s not a good thing?

  2. Sotheara
    Mar 28, 2007 @ 22:04:08

    After reading this book last year, I decided not to continue buying the books in the series. That’s why you didn’t see me rush to the book store when Ice Blue came out. If I go to the library and see it, I’ll check it out. Otherwise…not happening. I like Stuart’s heroes (Bastien is my favorite), but her heroines make me wish I wasn’t part of their sex. I can’t associate/connect with them, and if I met them in real life, I would probably bitch slap them. Thanks for the review, Jayne. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought this book was the “shit”.

  3. Jayne
    Mar 29, 2007 @ 00:13:43

    Karen, I died laughing at your review. I don’t think I hated GS as much as you did but I wasn’t sorry to see the last of her.

  4. Jayne
    Mar 29, 2007 @ 00:18:33

    Sotheara, wait until later this morning and you can see what Janine thought of “Blue Ice.” ;)

  5. Janine
    Mar 29, 2007 @ 08:22:08

    Jayne, I think it’s interesting that we had such differing reactions to this book (and to Black Ice as well). I can see some of the weaknesses that you point out (and I pointed out some of them in my review as well), but I still think the books in the Ice series are some of Anne Stuart’s strongest. I like them better than her earlier books that I believe you like better.

    The reason for that is that I think her heroes have become far more multidimensional than they used to be. She now delineates their vulnerabilities as well as their darkness. In some of her earlier books I couldn’t understand why the heroines fell in love with the heroes, I just don’t have that response to the Ice books. Also, Stuart’s writing style has become more compact and spare, which lends it a lot of power, the ultimate result being that the books mesmerize me in a way that her earlier ones did not.

    By the way, the reasons for the softening of the Committee’s stance were given at the end of Black Ice. Isobel Lambert, trying to recruit Bastien back, told him that under her leadership the Committee would be very different. But like you, I liked the original Committee better.

  6. Jayne
    Mar 29, 2007 @ 13:53:31

    Now, I look at her current heroes and I think “wishy-washy.” If you’re going to tell us your hero is mean, ruthless and super efficient, then by God make him mean, ruthless and super efficient. Then have the heroine change him. I think she did that with Bastien. Or pretty much did. But with Peter, he starts out already hemming and hawing to me. Stuart always managed to redeem the men in her older books by the end without making them so vacillating to me.

    Whereas I enjoyed her earlier heroines far more than this latest lot. They were supposed to be weaker (especially in the historicals) and get stronger which they seemed to do. So it didn’t bother me when these women started out a bit clueless then grew. But with GS, she’s supposed to be so strong and intelligent and she seems to get weaker and more silly as the book progresses. I think I’m starting to like Clueless Chloe a bit better as she’s an example of what I mean. She starts out not knowing anything so I’m not surprised that she comes off as bewildered in the beginning. But she learns. I still see problems with her and Bastien but by gosh, I’m starting to like her better and better as I keep writing this response.

    And you know me. Writing style doesn’t bug me as much, unless it’s on the level of “See Dick and Jane. Run, Spot, run.” ;)

    Bring back the ruthless Committee!

  7. Janine
    Mar 29, 2007 @ 18:09:19

    Now, I look at her current heroes and I think “wishy-washy." If you’re going to tell us your hero is mean, ruthless and super efficient, then by God make him mean, ruthless and super efficient. Then have the heroine change him. I think she did that with Bastien. Or pretty much did.

    Oh, I definitely thought she did.

    But with Peter, he starts out already hemming and hawing to me.

    I can understand this viewpoint, but since in Black Ice Peter helped Bastien save Chloe’s life, it made sense to me that he would not want to kill Genevieve even in the beginning. He was not as ruthless as Bastien, but I looked at him as having a different personality.

    Stuart always managed to redeem the men in her older books by the end without making them so vacillating to me.

    That’s one of the things we differ on. In a lot of her dark older books, I didn’t feel that she redeemed the men at all, and I didn’t understand why any woman with a sense of self-preservation would hang around those guys. Trust me, I would not, no matter how great the sex was. With these Ice books, I can finally understand why her heroines fall in love with the heroes.

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