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.
You’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.