Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

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WARNINGS: Mostly negative. Book unfinished. May contain spoilers.

When I went into the bookshop the day I picked up Ice, I had actually already seen it a couple of times. Being a lover of all things winter-themed, and liking fantasy and some YA, the description of it made me very curious. I will admit even now that the fact that I disliked it may not have necessarily been because the book is bad, but because I expected something entirely different.

I was sourly let down after four and a half chapters and simply skipped to the last few pages. And even then I didn’t think I missed much.

Even if Ice is not my cup of tea, there are a couple of things that I cannot ignore and have nothing to do with genre:

A chapter in, one of the first things I picked up from it was that the narrative was messy, indecisive (style and pacing both), none of the characters’ decisions made any sense or followed even a little bit of logic, and while I could be vaguely sympathetic to the main character, Cassie, all of that went out the window by chapter four.

While I was reading the first w pages of chapter four, all kinds of things passed through my head, including, once again, very indecisive pacing, very messy narrative, even less logic in the actions of the main character, and a timeskip that was completely unnecessary – this last bit may be stemming from the fact that I was still under the illusion that I was reading a fantasy/YA adult book, which that wasn’t. Why weren’t we told about Cassie‚Äôs first few days at the castle,about how she adapted in the new environment? I would’ve liked to know more details and things she was discovering! Why were we robbed of what could have been some very nice and exciting little discoveries?

And then it hit me: this was not a fantasy book.

I don’t know how it hadn’t occurred to me before. Ice is not fantasy and it is barely passable YA – it is romance, and so it should be judged by completely different standards, and I wonder if for romance novels things like narrative and pacing don’t matter at all? Surely they should, but the chick-flits I’ve read in my short-lived phase with that genre many years ago were not that messy and illogical.

However, as I said at the beginning, the book itself may not actually be bad if you consider the genre – but what made me angry still, was that it was clearly written for the sake of being a romance novel but tried to pass itself as something different.

I simply felt cheated.

What is sad is that it could’ve actually been a somewhat normal, bearable, readable book. Maybe not a masterpiece, by no means, but something resembling mediocre and, above all, enjoyable YA/fantasy.With some major edits to the pacing and minor edits of the narrative, it could’ve easily kept me enough so that I would finish it properly.

…Or at least so I thought until I read a summary that mentioned some extremely cringe worthy details about what happened in it and the glorification of certain “”romance”” elements that really should be purged from all media in general. I’m talking romanticized disgusting things here.

CONCLUSION: ICE is a somewhat mediocre romance novel that tries to sell itself as something more than that, and I’m ashamed that I fell for it.

WOULD I RECOMMEND: No. Not even lovers of the genre, because as I said, I later discovered some truly disturbing details that should just be left out of every story altogether. Even if it is a retelling of an old fairy tale.

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