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REVIEW: Black Ice by Anne Stuart

Dear Mrs Stuart,

I’m glad to see you get back to your nihilistic, “don’t give a shit” heroes but somehow being reminded over and over that Bastien is such a man took some of it away. All right, I wanted to say, I got the picture the first time and you don’t need to tell me again 15 more times. Nor give me any sob story background about his poor childhood with a mommy who doesn’t love him.

Black Ice by Anne StuartAnd the heroine. What is there to love about this clinging vine? At first I kind of saw her in a Mary Stewart heroine sort of way but MS heroines usually manage to grow and gain strength over the course of the book while Chloe just stays an albatross around Bastien’s neck. You’ve given us plenty of initially cowed heroines who’ve grown and gotten as strong as their hero by books end but this never happens with Chloe. I’m not sure she ever really takes off her rose colored glasses and I’m not sure about any true HEA for these two despite the short post you made at AAR. What is he going to do for a living now that he’s not an assassin/spy? And will she still love him without fear of imminent death or relief at not dying to spice up the sex?

And what kind of ruthless, gun running cartel is going to rely on thinking they’ve hired someone stupid as an interpreter? That just doesn’t make sense. And I don’t believe that Bastien’s employers wouldn’t want Chloe dead. After all,they killed the poor cab driver in Paris, and he knew a lot less than Chloe does, as well asoffing her roommate Sylvia. And as for Hakim’s torture of Chloe, the way Bastien was going on about it, I expected a lot worse damage both physically and mentally. But just slap some of that magic goo on her cuts and she’s good to go.

But I did sit down and basically devour the whole 370 page book in one setting and you can write fast paced plots that are better than most. I guess I’ll give you a conflicted average C grade for this one.

~Jayne

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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.

16 Comments

  1. AngieW
    Jun 12, 2006 @ 18:02:28

    I agree with your grade. I know people rave about this book and the hero, but it didn’t work for me. I think my disbelief didn’t suspend far enough ;)

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  2. Jayne
    Jun 12, 2006 @ 20:01:53

    Gawd yes, Angie. I know lots of people who rated this in their top 10 lists last year. I kept waiting for it to take off but you’re right, I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough for it to work for me.

    I am looking forward to her fall release based on the excerpt I read in the Waltz book.

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  3. Sotheara
    Jun 12, 2006 @ 21:57:58

    First off, I want to say how much I love your site and enjoy reading your candid reviews. I am a faithful lurker. LOL. Although I rate Black Ice a B-, I agree with your review. I enjoyed the book only for Bastien, but I couldn’t care less for Chloe. She was borderline TSTL for me.

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  4. Jane
    Jun 12, 2006 @ 22:40:08

    I actually liked this book despite Chloe’s doormat status. My rating would be closer to Sotheara or maybe even higher? and Sotheara, thanks for commenting and visiting.

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  5. Keishon
    Jun 12, 2006 @ 22:54:10

    I agree with this grade as well as I didn’t much care for Black Ice, thought the heroine was a complete dormat but the pacing was good. I’d rate it a C, too. Did you like her latest book, Jayne? I haven’t bought it for obvious reasons.

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  6. Tara Marie
    Jun 13, 2006 @ 02:58:31

    I’m actually more with Jane than Jayne. I liked this book, and found Chloe rather clueless, in a way over her head and in need of protection way, which made her a great foil to the dark Bastien.

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  7. Jayne
    Jun 13, 2006 @ 05:10:36

    Keishon, I did like THE DEVIL’S WALTZ a lot. I gave it a B . The hero is another bad boy but the heroine has enough strength to match him.

    Sotheara, thanks for being a faithful fan!

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  8. RenéeW
    Jun 14, 2006 @ 12:38:10

    Coming out of lurkdom to say I loved BI much more than you and gave it an A. It was my favorite RS of 2005. But I realize that Stuart’s dark ‘anti-heroes’ just don’t work for everyone. People seem to either love them or hate them. I loved Bastien and agree with Tara’s assessment of Chloe. Great blog!

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  9. Jayne
    Jun 14, 2006 @ 14:33:32

    Most people I’ve talked with do appear to enjoy Bastien. I adore Stuart’s dark heroes. So many times readers get a “faux” dark hero shoved off on them who ends up being merely “misunderstood” or a secret softy. Stuart’s heroes are the real thing.

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  10. AngieW
    Jun 14, 2006 @ 14:37:17

    My issues with the book didn’t have to do with the hero, or how dark he is, at all. It was that I didn’t really think she pulled the book off, in several ways. Including Chloe’s character, but also making Bastien so believable yet the “bad guys” not. I don’t know, the book as a whole didn’t meld well for me.

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  11. Jorrie Spencer
    Jun 14, 2006 @ 17:34:35

    I read and enjoyed Black Ice but I didn’t think it realistic and I found it distancing. I prefer when Anne Stuart’s books grab me by the throat.

    Like Into the Fire which I managed to love despite having BIG issues with a subplot. I even went so far as to disapprove of how she handled the villain and usually feelings of disapproval are enough to bounce me right off a book, if not an author. But not in this case.

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  12. Judith
    Dec 04, 2006 @ 01:12:23

    I can’t remember reading Anne Stuart before. This Black Ice has a cruel hero and a wuss for a heroine. I didn’t enjoy it and as yet haven’t finished it. I don’t really know if I will finish it.

    However, Anne Stuart is an excellent writer. I was torn with finishing the book only because of her talent as a craftsperson.

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  13. Jayne
    Dec 05, 2006 @ 08:10:48

    Judith, most of Stuart’s heros have an edge to them. Some more than others and Bastien was one of the harder ones. But not all her heroines are such doormat wussettes.

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  14. Kamikaze Kitty
    May 22, 2007 @ 14:55:27

    Oh my god, to me it is a A+ with honours!!! I love Bastien and the ice serious is what I have been (loooong) waiting for since moonrise (James? remember him? My heartbreaker…).
    Anti-heroes who turn actual hero in the end, that is Anne Rice specialty and I love her for that.

    Since I love J-Rock, I am looking forward to Reno and (possibly) Jilly.
    It is so unbelievalbe that one’s favorite author turns out to like one’s favourite music. Seriously ,who in the western world knows about j-rock?! I got asked once, whether it is a drink…

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  15. Sandra
    Jun 09, 2007 @ 09:49:44

    I didn’t think Chloe was TSTL. She was an ordinary person thrust into an environment of violence and sudden death, and trying to learn to cope while running for her life. She did ALMOST get away from that English bitch assassin all by herself. I know almost doesn’t count – if not for Bastien she have been dead – but at least she would have died fighting. The whole setup of the plot was silly: why would an international cartel of criminals bring in an outside interpreter, whom they didn’t even need, since all of them seemed to speak either English or French? Cause Its In The Script, that’s why.

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  16. Kathy
    Nov 30, 2007 @ 10:58:01

    This is my first time reading Anne Stuart, so I’d no expectations. I found all four “Ice Books” together and thought that it would be nice to read a series in order for a change, instead of the usual starting in the middle and backfilling.

    Since I already have all four books, I am comminted to reading them. But honestly, under other circumstances I may have stopped at this one.

    The dark hero – got it. Actually I found him interesting. But I would rather have the author illustrate his character by deed, and without so many words. How many times do I have to be TOLD that he is detached, emotionless, ruthless, etc. Throw in some reliving/remembering his history for background and relevance. That would work. But the repetitive description of his character got old.

    On Chloe, her character seemed inconsistant and schizophrenic. And it wasn’t the case of growth through the story. The idea that she would event think that she needed some sex and violence in her life is so totally out of her character … no, she kept flip-flopping from innocent and clinging to tough and resiliant and it just didn’t work for me.

    And on the plot. The idea that a bunch of arms dealers would hire an unknown translator is ludicrous; the idea that during their negotiations they would talk in metaphor is equally ludicrous (chickens and sheep). You had a guy infiltrate deep cover for almost a year in order to get close to the organization, which says that they must know how to take care of themselves security wise, and then throw in a unknown translator? Right.

    I’m off to read the next in the series (Cold As Ice) but I am not exactly holding my breath. I’m just happy I’m a fast reader, if it’s necessary to get through the book. And I”ll be recycling this one off my book shelves.

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