Rating: 4 Stars
Synopsis via Goodreads:
Danger is hard to resist in this sexy thriller from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.
Britt Pheiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants; but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.
Britt is forced to guide the men off the mountain, and knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target.
But nothing is as it seems, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?
Black Ice is New York Times bestselling author Becca Fitzpatrick’s riveting romantic thriller set against the treacherous backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. Falling in love should never be this dangerous.
Huh. Well, I’m thoroughly shocked.
I’m a minority here, but I really liked this standalone novel.
Don’t get me mixed up with some other positive reviews, though – I did not in any way enjoy Ms. Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series. I can’t even remember what it was about expect for angels and annoying bad boys and girls I wished to whack upside the head. But what else is new?
Even so, I thought I would give this a try. And from what I’ve seen on Goodreads is that few to no one has any good things to say about this standalone. And I just have to disagree.
Britt is a remarkable character. Yes, you read that right. She’s not annoyingly strong-headed, as some people mistake for a “strong female lead,” and she’s cunning and thoughtful. Yes, there are some strong traits at the beginning about her that made my blood boil, such as her willingness to sit back and let the men in her life do everything for her. There is some serious sexism going on here, but it’s not overwhelming.
She’s a bit of a pushover when it comes to her best friend. What annoyed me at the beginning was Britt’s inability to ignore her friend’s ridiculous taunts, which caused Britt to do something stupid to get them landed in the middle of nowhere and inevitably have to rely on two men to help them. It was a serious case of stupidity on both their parts, but more than that, it was petty stupidity. Two best friends who act more like enemies, which always annoys me to no end in YA books. The stereotype that all females are back-stabbing, contemptuous b-words can only go so far. Are there girls like that? Heck, yeah. But they don’t need to be included in every darn female relationship in YA books, gosh darn it.
And then there was – as I said before – Britt’s willingness to rely only on men. We don’t see it right away at the very beginning, but then little side remarks are made along the way about how Britt’s first instinct is to wonder how the men in her life are going to take care of this situation and how they’re going to fix everything. Because she (apparently) can’t.
But then we see that even though Britt may believe that and has, in some ways, been raised to believe that, she can and will take care of herself when need be. She is by no means a weak female lead. She is not crying every five seconds or blubbering around like an idiot. In fact, she and her best friend – who is also in this pesky situation with her at the beginning – are polar opposites. Her best friend (who for the life of me I can’t remember her name and I’m too lazy to go look it up . . .) is weak and refuses to save herself. She would rather risk death than lift a finger to help herself, and we get to see Britt basically tell her to shove it and man up.
As the story progresses, Britt becomes even stronger. She is witty and smart enough to save her good-for-nothing best friend, lie her way to safety with her kidnappers, and had the stars aligned in her favor, Britt would have actually been saved a lot sooner wholly because of her quick thinking. She ain’t no damsel in distress, and she proves it again and again. There is no inner-monologue authors so often like to give us about how stttrrrrrooooonnngggg the female lead is, but she never proves it to us with her actions. Britt never thinks of herself as smart or brave, but she doesn’t downgrade herself, either. She thinks on her feet and simply does what she needs to do to survive. She is no overly prideful, but has enough to keep her wits about her and keep her alive.
Honestly, I think Britt’s initial weakness is due to being in proximity to her best friend. Once she’s in danger and/or away from her best friend, Britt’s whole personality changes. All of a sudden, you just love the girl. And it only gets better.
The love is great. Awesome. It’s light enough to make this a thrilling YA novel, not so much simply a romance YA novel. And I love that. Britt isn’t drooling over the love interest (not like her best friend *gag*).
Mason is the enemy, one of the men who kidnapped her. And she hates him for it, as she should. There are no heart-shaped eyes. No silently thinking about how hot he is.
Okay, so there’s a little bit. But not much, I swear.
It occurs to Britt when she even so much as begins to notice that he is, indeed, male, and not just a mindless kidnapper that she may be getting Stockholm syndrome. And not a very bad looking make either (but really . . . did anyone actually expect him to be?).
But here’s the thing . . . Mason is truly trying to help Britt. He doesn’t agree with kidnapping her – feels guilty even. Of course, as any person who’s been kidnapped should be, Britt is worried and hesitant that he’s playing her and doesn’t trust him. And this worry never goes away until she literary had hard-core proof that he’s not as much of a bad guy and that it’s in her best interest to trust him.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Britt isn’t going to manipulate him a bit along the way . . .
(Insert evil villain laugh here, because we all know Hannah is devious and loves slightly-evil females leads.)
If you ask me, Britt did everything right after she got kidnapped. She played and lied to her kidnappers in smart ways. She made sure they only took her and left her (read: useless) best friend behind. She focuses on saving the people around her first, and then gets angry. Gets angry enough to kill her kidnappers.
When the romance does happen, Mason isn’t a mindless, horny boy either. Britt immediately puts her boundaries down and will only allow things to go her way. She capable of protecting herself.
Not once did I feel that the romance was sick or twisted. It is never forced on either party, and when it does happen, it’s smart and not hormone driven. It feels like any other couple coming together in a dangerous situation (which, lets be honest, is most YA books anyways).
This was such a refreshing read. I’m thoroughly impressed.