Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Icebound by Corinna Rogers

Title: Icebound
Author: Corinna Rogers
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     Preorder until September 25, 2014
Cover Artist: Unknown
Genre: fantasy
Length: 45k words (est), 156 pages
Formats: epub, mobi

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.


There is a romance arc in here, layered in the rough language, the rough interactions, and desperate situations. The level of violence makes the book unsuitable for Dreamspinner or Loose Id, though the story flows.

We come in after boy has lost boy—Shane’s been soulless and hunting alone for a decade. He can’t stay away from Drake, though, and Drake dies a little inside every time they interact. Shane finds any number of ways to get under Drake’s skin, from the aggravating to the devastating, promising to apologize once he’s got his soul back—“it will mean something then.” Brought together by the one hunt Drake can’t pass by, they’re both tormented by what once was, and what they both hope will be again.

Set on a near-future Earth, magic and strange non-human creatures have come boiling into this plane so recently that Shane and Drake are first generation hunters. The culture hasn’t quite adapted to the new reality, although the Catholic Church does manage to put its hands on some interesting weapons. Where faith should be placed is a small undercurrent through the book. That souls exist and can be bartered is a given.

Time is a player here. The story is told in present tense, alternating third person, and there are flashbacks that reach farther and farther back in time to show us what these two are to each other, until we’re yanked into an unthinkable present. The story moves fast, with flashes of wit (Damn it, someone always turns into a fucking centaur...) and offers adventure, tortured hope, and danger until the final battle and after.

The author has a really vivid set-up and main characters, stakes of huge proportions, and a tale that pulls the reader along, which means the climactic scenes need to really pop. Unfortunately, what should have been a major impediment becomes a minor nuisance, and the author’s imagination gives out at the wrong moment, leaving us with a scene straight off the “don’t submit to us” lists at mm publishers. I skimmed it the first time through once I’d identified it, and came back after finishing the book to see if I’d missed anything of substance. I hadn’t, but things once seen cannot be unseen.

I would accept something even this revolting if it advanced the plot, but it doesn’t. It knocked me out of the story to the point of causing a DNF had I not been reading for review. The only typos in the book occur at the emotional climax—perhaps the proofers were as disturbed as I. What had been a 5 marble read lost the momentum. There are a few hints for a sequel, though this book is a complete story arc. I’m interested enough to read it. 3.75 marbles

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