Saturday, December 22, 2012

Review: ICED

Welcome to Red Hot + Blue Reads!  We hope you'll enjoy our take on our current reading selections.  We'll probably review a wide variety of book, all with a similar theme. They've got to be red hot and a little blue to make it interesting!  So here is our first selection.

We couldn't think of anyone better to start with than Karen Marie Moning, author of the Highlander Series and Fever Series.  Without further adeui, here is a review on her current release,ICED,  the first in a three book Dani O'Malley series, set in the Fever world.

 Iced by Karen Marie Moning Review
4+ out of 5 flames

My first read of ICED had me firmly in its clutches, and I was so engrossed in the story I didn’t bother paying attention to the details I needed to write this review. And that’s what makes me rate books 4 or 5 stars. I got sucked into the story. So much so that I had to read ICED a second time for this review.

ICED picks up where Shadowfever left off, except now we get to see the fractured, near-war torn world of Fae-ridden Dublin through the eyes of other characters. The predominant voice is Dani, the cocky, fourteen-year-old sidhe-seer with supernatural abilities of her own. She’s working with Ryodan, owner of Chester’s night club to stop some new creature that is freezing parts of the city, killing humans and Fae in its wake. It always amazes me that Barrons’ and his men need help with anything, but in ICED, Dani works right alongside Ryodan to investigate. Of course, gaining her cooperation becomes a power struggle between Dani and Ryodan, and I have to say that Dani does a very good job of holding her own against him, for the most part.

Then there is Christian MacKeltar, the lie-detecting Highlander turning Unseelie Prince. He is creepily delicious in ICED, his transformation scrambling his brains and turning him into something he does not want, yet is forced to embrace. He wants Dani too, although for not quite the same reasons as Ryodan. More about Christian later.

And let’s not forget Cruce, Unseelie Prince aka War, UK wannabe, still entombed beneath the abbey, and still managing to wreak havoc from his frozen prison. His sidhe-seer jailers upstairs in the abbey are easy targets for his manipulations, especially now that the leadership of the abbey is at stake with Rowena’s death. Dani speaks the truth when she says, ”It’s only a matter of time before somebody sets him free.”

Things are getting to be quite tense in Dublin, AWC – After the Wall Crash.

ICED met all of my expectations for this first book in this trilogy series set in the same world as the Fever series. The icing of the city formed an intriguing backdrop for learning more about Dani and Dancer, Ryodan and Lor, Christian and sidhe-seers Jo and Kat. ICED gave up a little more about Dublin AWC and left me with other questions that I hope will get answered in the next two books of this series.

I’ll admit that at times Dani’s voice irritated me, but for the most part I liked getting to know her better. Abused by her mother and used by Rowena, it’s not a surprise to see her fight to keep her independence. I like her best when she is using her brain to figure out what’s going on, and especially when she is collaborating with Dancer or Ryodan. I started out feeling meh about her and really liked her by the end.

Dancer was another surprise. Seventeen years old and considering Trinity for graduate school, he’s caught in Dublin when the walls fell. Can speak four languages too. Knows physics. Too good to be “just human” was what I thought most of the time. When Dani describes him and says “His eyes aren’t green or blue, they’re aqua, like they’re Fae-brushed.” I’m reminded this is KMM and every line means something. Dancer’s probably the most likable of Dani’s potential suitors.

I found crazy Christian to be the most entertaining of the characters. Becoming an Unseelie Prince hasn’t been good to him, and he’s angry with everyone. Except Dani. He calls her Princess, and professes his love ( and sometimes his lust). He can be sweetly tender, homicidal and downright scary, all in a single scene. But there is no doubt about how he feels about Dani, or that some of his blood still contains his pure-hearted Highlander heritage when he makes the ultimate sacrifice for her.

And then there is Ryodan. Some readers seem to be convinced that he is interested in Dani sexually, but I have to say I didn’t see it. I see him wanting Dani for his team and also saw trust and admiration too. It’s my theory that Ryodan sees something in her that he admires and he wants to train her. Teach her. Sorta sounds like Barrons and Mac, doesn’t it? Even Dani says it: “Him and me think alike a lot of times. I’d never tell him that.”

I think that he looks at Dani for something else, rather than a sexual object as some have suggested. Just my humble opinion. If it is a sexual attraction, Ryodan is keeping it tightly under control.

Dani has his number too, especially when she describes him as “the master of manipulation.” She holds her own against him, and some of my favorite scenes are when they are all working together. Dani, Dancer and Ryodan trying to figure out the ice monster was like reading the notes from a mensa convention. These moments where Dani shows her intelligence were really some of my favorite “Dani” moments in the book.

Dani softens quite a bit toward him when they are going out to trap and kill the ice monster. She likes the action and so does he. This is where she can admire him. Ryodan’s motives are still somewhat of a mystery to me. I’m looking forward to learning more about what he’s up to in the next two books in the series.

I thought there was a lot of chemistry and sexual tension between Ryodan and Kat. I could see something happening there...especially when Kat says: “Never have I been around anyone that affords me such blissful emotional silence.” In Kat, Ryodan has someone who is more of a match than Jo. My favorite scene in ICED had to be toward the end, when Kat assesses everyone at the abbey with her emotional telepathy. Theres loads of insights here. Lots of insights there.

The war theme is rampant throughout ICED and can’t really be ignored. Christian talks about Dani having passion to rule an army. Ryodan is stock piling an arsenal. and Dani shows her budding leadership all over the pages of Iced. Christian talks about bringing on war, and I wonder if that means he will be the one to free Cruce. I just don’t know, and I love that KMM has put all these “what ifs” in my head.

And I can’t forget the monsters. The Hoar Frost King and its outcome was nicely crafted, although not very exciting, but the Crimson Hag is truly frightful. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her. She’s one scary bitch.

There are plenty of mentions of Mac and Barrons, and since I didn’t expect much of them in this book, at first I found them annoying, too much of a tease. But I was pleasantly surprised by the ending and how things were left for the next book.

So overall, a very nice beginning to the series. Looking forward to seeing how this will all come together. I do trust that Ms. Moning will give us another great story in this Dani O’Malley series as she did with the Fever series.

Shannon Reviews ICED by Karen Marie Moning.

Iced picks up where Shadowfever left off. Except there is hardly any Mac and even less Barrons in what is now Dani's book. Once you get past that and wrap your brain around her voice as the narrator, it's easy to get caught back up in KMM's Fever World. And the world's a fecked up place. Everyone's got problems.

The most pressing problem is that something large and fae is freezing things. Randomly. Ryodan has taken a particular interest in solving this mystery and enlists Dani's help in investigating the possible cause. And by enlist, I mean coerce. The careful reader will notice that this harkens back to the job he mentioned he had for Dani near the end of Shadowfever. It's interesting that Ryodan looks at Dani, much in the same way Mac looked at Barrons - she has potential. This has what has kept Dani alive and on his radar all these years. You can almost hear Barrons teasing Ryodan...

But I knew I was going to love this book when Ryodan says to Dani “Kid, Batman needs Robin.”

And so begins the unlikely pairing of one Dani Mega O'Malley and Ryodan whatevertheheckhislastnameis. And by pairing, I don't mean  in a romantic sense. We will have to wait until the next book to see if there is a romance in Dani's future. Although I'm sure a certain MacKeltar turned CrazySexyHorny Unseelie Prince would tell you there is DEFINITELY a romance in her future. For some reason I have yet to fathom, Christian has decided Dani is or will be his mate. "Just one time before I turn into the villain of this piece, just one time before I become the fourth and final Unseelie prince, I want to be her Highlander. And her hero."

Then there is Dani's bestie Dancer. Is he just your average brilliant genius with a knack for not getting killed in this extremely dangerous world, or is there something more to him...

Meanwhile, back at the abbey, the sidhe-seers have their own problems. Cruce aka the Sinsar Dubh, the big bad evil form the first five books, is frozen beneath their abbey. But even frozen, Cruce is causing mischief. He has been busy projecting himself into the dreams of every sidhe-seer in the hopes that one of them will set him free. I'm hoping that now that they all realize that Cruce is playing all of them, the next book will see a more united band of sidhe-seers, rather than the divisive and scared group they currently are.

Dani mentions that the Unseelie Princes are at large and have begun fighting with each other. The foreshadowing is there for something big to come from that in the next books. Unless of course, it is KMM's way of throwing us off the track and over the cliff. Something she is well known and well loved for. One of the great things about a KMM book is that you never quite know where she's going next but you know it's gonna be a helluva ride.

I think it's important to remember that this is the first in a three book series. If I had read Darkfever when it first came out I might not have picked up the next book. KMM is a brilliant plotter. I think it's safe to say we've only just begun and that she has amazing twists and turns ahead for us. 

Iced earns 4 Red Hot + Blue flames

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