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REVIEW: Ice Storm by Anne Stuart

Dear Mrs. Stuart,

I should have known better. After all, I had problems with “Black Ice,” I wasn’t that thrilled with “Cold as Ice” and I wasn’t tempted to try “Ice Blue.” But when Jane sent me the arc for “Ice Storm” I just couldn’t resist hoping that I’d “get” this one better than the previous books in the series. No such luck and I’m left head-desking myself, as Maili used to say.

Ice Storm Anne StuartYou’ve set up the heroine of this book, Madame Isobel Lambert, as the coldly efficient head of “the Committee” one of the super-secret, ruthless agencies-working-outside-of-government-control-who-take-out-
bad-guys-but-which-are-riddled-with-angst-filled characters which litter romance suspence novels. She’s the Ice Queen, as you so frequently tell us. Keep saying it and maybe someone will believe it. I don’t. I didn’t even before I started this book due to some things she’d done in “Cold as Ice.” But the back blurb was intriguing and I’d hoped that we’d get to see the transformation of young Isobel, or Mary Isobel as she was known then, into a woman picked to head this group after 12 years of service in the field. We do get to see how she was then and what happened the night her world was changed forever but then we learn only a little about her life since then. It’s almost as if it stopped when Killian left it.

Now Killian I can believe as a ruthless killer. You don’t have to tell me he has ice running in his veins as I can see it. Unlike Isobel who keeps bleating how unmoved she is by meeting up with her first love, how little emotion she has, how coldly automatic she is in doing her job. Please. Killian can manipulate her in his sleep. After a while, I just got tired of all her protestations which always got her exactly zip in her dealings with him. I hate unballanced power struggles and in this case, half the time Isobel just comes off as a whiny child as she tries to keep up with Killian. He does have his Achilles heel but he does a much better job of hiding it than she ever does. And it’s hard for me to believe that she would lose 12 years of hard won control especially as she wasn’t unprepared to meet him.

Your fans of the other books might be happy to see both Peter Lambert and Bastien Toussaint again. Alas both their clingy wives are here too but they have blessedly small parts. Bastien proves that he’s still my favorite of this whole series as he’s really the only one with his eye on the ball. Everyone else blindly sticks with his or her preconceived notions long after it should be obvious that a new line of thinking should be explored. I realize that you have to give everyone a weak spot and that things must happen to keep the plot moving and maintain the suspense and danger but for a group of people who stay alive and accomplish their missions by being able to quickly shift focus and view things from another prespective, these people come off as dense. And even Bastien should have more than one backup for his super security system.

But….darned if I didn’t keep reading the book. It held my interest and I wanted to know what would happen next so you accomplished that goal. And I must applaud the fact that Killian is blessedly unconcerned about what he’s done throughout his life and even Isobel doesn’t regret what she’s ordered, just the mental toll it’s taking on her. You introduced two new characters and I can only assume that one of them will have a book next. Though I’m not sure I’ll read it. I think I’ve banged my head enough with this series. C


This book can be purchased in mass market or ebook format.

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.


  1. Chantal
    Oct 29, 2007 @ 17:20:38

    I did not like Cold as ice at all, so I don’t even think about reading this one.

  2. Karen Scott
    Oct 29, 2007 @ 17:35:16

    God I hated Cold as Ice. Ice blue was a bit meh, but I’m hoping that this is the one that will bring all the fluffy warm fuzzies back again.

    I couldn’t bring myself to read the review Jayne, I’m trying to not be swayed one way or the other. *g*

  3. Sotheara
    Oct 29, 2007 @ 20:05:07

    I stopped reading this series after Cold as Ice. I love the spy/assassin/ killer concept but I don’t think Stuart ever pulls it off to my complete satisfaction. I think her heroes are awesome, but her heroines are spineless idiots – sacks of flour have more personality. I’m going to have to skip this one too.

  4. Keziah Hill
    Oct 29, 2007 @ 20:13:26

    Nope, love her series. Can’t wait for this one or the next one.

  5. Jayne
    Oct 29, 2007 @ 21:31:45

    Janine has also read ICE STORM and has a different take than mine. But then different things about books irritate or entrance her.

  6. LAmonkeygirl
    Oct 29, 2007 @ 22:03:41

    After reading “Black Ice,” I determined that I was uninterested in the power dynamics of the authors’ hero and heroine, i.e. that the hero had all of it and the heroine practically none. I don’t mind dark heroes, provided that the heroine has some degree of agency. Also, I read an interview with her and she expressed an interest in pairing extraordinary men with decidely ordinary women, and that, frankly, bores me. So, this is a series I have decided to skip.

  7. Melissa
    Oct 29, 2007 @ 22:58:40

    I too, have been getting disappointed with some of the mainstream female authors. I emphasized female becuase just recently have I come across a male author who has rocked my world of romance literature. Rob Costelloe of Coinage of Commitment has definately hit my top list and so I am recommending it to most of my fav reviewers.

  8. Keishon
    Oct 29, 2007 @ 23:03:04

    I couldn’t get into any of them, how’s that? Her heroines are the biggest problem for me as well as the plot. I will not be buying this one.

  9. Janine
    Oct 29, 2007 @ 23:10:32

    Janine has also read ICE STORM and has a different take than mine. But then different things about books irritate or entrance her.

    I wrote a review not long ago and it should post sometime soon. Otherwise I would post my opinion here. Sometimes it is really hard to restrain oneself from posting an opinion! :)

  10. Jane
    Oct 29, 2007 @ 23:25:54

    We’ll post it tomorrow at 2:00 – after the opinion letter. And after your cool news!

  11. Jayne
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 06:12:37

    I’m wondering if your review will clear things up for some readers or only further muddy the waters where this series is concerned. I found it very interesting to read both our reviews one after another, to see what we agreed on and disagreed on and how that affected our final grades and viewpoint on the book.

  12. Angela
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 07:22:32

    I’ve never been impressed with this series because it wasn’t bad-ass enough. It was bad enough Stuart turned The Committee into the “good guys” instead of continuing to deal with the “who are the good guys?” concept she introduced in Black Ice, but her continual obsession with doormat heroines paired with over-the-top heroes is grating. Overall, I don’t even find her heroes particularly well developed: they’re all cut from the same “I’m so dark and deadly” cloth that it never rouses any “ZOMG! they’re crazy!” from me.

  13. Angela
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 07:22:59

    in me not “from me”.

  14. Janine
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 07:44:20

    Jayne, maybe you and I could discuss those differences and similarities further when my review posts.

  15. Gina
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 07:53:33

    I have Black Ice sitting on the very bottom of my bookshelf, the lost cause pile as I like to call it, for books that I haven’t been able to read past the first few chapters. Someone suggested Ice Storm to me and I hesitated because I knew there was something about the series I didn’t like. Thanks for the post, it made my look in my lost cause pile and it all came back to me.

    Does anyone know if there is an island for these books – like the Island of Misfit Toys for Books – or something?

  16. MFS
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 08:49:37

    Loved it! Re-reading them all in order AGAIN

  17. Donna
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 09:24:41

    Does anyone know if there is an island for these books – like the Island of Misfit Toys for Books – or something?

    If you find that island please let me know… I have a pile of books waiting for their “Island Getaway”. I need the room for my “luv ’em to death” books.

    Oh, and I also thought her heroines are in the TSTL category. I had not read her in a few years, were they always like that? Have my tastes changed over the years? I could go back and reread her old ones, but I liked them, I want to remember them fondly.

  18. Jayne
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 10:24:11

    “I've never been impressed with this series because it wasn't bad-ass enough. It was bad enough Stuart turned The Committee into the “good guys” instead of continuing to deal with the “who are the good guys?”

    I’m wondering if romantic suspense books should be only one book or have sequels? Don’t they all eventually reach this stage? When the bad guys have to all be redeemable and the group ceases to be what drew readers in in the first place? When the badness is not bad anymore? I’m thinking it’s better to only write 1-2 books then move on to something different.

  19. Janine
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 10:32:16

    Gina, FWIW, I loved Black Ice. Sometime in the next couple of weeks, my review of that one will be going up, too.

    And Angela, I completely agree about the transformation of the Committee.

  20. Gina
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 16:50:40

    I very much look forward to reading it.

    I don’t expect that every column I read here will be one I agree with – in fact that’s the very reason I am drawn to view the posts on this site so often. It isn’t about agreeing or disagreeing with each other opinions – its about enjoying the debate of a topic we can all agree we love – reading.

    I’m the only female in an all male household, ya think I get much of that at home ? :) This could very well be the own sanity I have in my testosterone-filled world.

    As for that Island Getaway, Donna, have you noticed if you buy a book at they sell ‘used’ copies. I wonder how you get into selling your used books online?

  21. Tabitha
    Nov 21, 2007 @ 11:45:11

    I never heard of Anne Stuart up until a month ago. I was on Amazon browsing readers’ choices of books with heroes who epitomizes a true alpha male (ruthless, cold, unfeeling, yada yada) and many recommended this series of hers. So I started from the beginning…and didn’t really like it. But continued onto her others books because, well, curiosity got the better of me since so many readers raved about it. From start to finish, I can say ‘Black Ice’ was the only story that remotely held my interest. I thought Madame Isobel was passably interesting but her story did not stand up to the cold and competent character that was implied. Her weakness with Killian was far too obvious and her capabilities that made her head of the “Committee” were easily overcome. At the end of the book, I shook my head. There was really no depth to the storyline. The absence in details of how she became an assassin and later a leader dropped even more points in my book.

    I don't think I'll read another Stuart book…unless someone loans it to me and I really have no other books to read/re-read.

  22. zoal
    Dec 17, 2007 @ 21:17:57

    Are you like out of your mind? I totally I mean TOTALLY (with capital letters) LOVED Cold As Ice. The story was Amazing but the Characters were Awsome. I should tell you that Pete and Bastien but mostly Peter were my Favorite Characters. I can’t believe how you couldn’t LOVE Peter!

  23. Jayne
    Dec 18, 2007 @ 08:44:15

    No, I’m totally in my mind. I totally and I mean TOTALLY didn’t love Cold as Ice. The story was amazing but the characters didn’t live up to that amazingness. And no, Peter didn’t rock my world. To each her own…

  24. 2008 RITA Finalists Open Thread | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Mar 27, 2008 @ 11:44:39

    […] not earth shattering and not one of Stuart’s better efforts. Janine rated it a B- and Jayne a C. I haven’t always agreed with the inclusion of the JD Robb books every year, but last […]

  25. Peach
    Jun 18, 2012 @ 23:58:14

    Well considering I hated the first three books of the series, I kinda admitted that the fifth book was a bit more interesting than others Reno and jillian fall in love in an odd way. The only part I hate about it is that the ending was a bit dull needs more detail in the process. Well that’s my part.

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