Ice by L.J. LaBarthe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Really, 2.5 stars but I rounded up to three for the rating. I, like many other readers, really expected more from the story. The blurb, the first two or three chapters... they were great. Then we actually MEET the vampires and things move into fast-forward, followed by a whole lot of skip aheads.
Plots need an arc. The beginning was great, as it set us right at the moment of conflict--Koby's inescapable trip to research at a vampire prison slash mine slash research facility in Antarctica. We meet him, see kernels of the ending with his lawyer friend and the set up of the coded messaging system, and then he's off.
While the homophobic director trope isn't new, I really expected more from the man who supposedly rules the facility with an iron first, all while schmoozing the bosses and a lot of the political body public. He felt two dimensional, and didn't have enough face time in the story. I also felt the face time with the vampires was sadly lacking. I read 'dome of horrors' in the description but felt so divorced from the vampires because it was a single visual description of a few cases that the whole dramatic tension was lost for me.
The biggest disappointment was climax. There wasn't one. We barely see the events begin to unfold as Koby and his friends start the chain reaction to free the vampires and bring attention to their so called plight. Then there's a huge timeline jump and a belated focus on the attraction between Koby and Mircea at the end of the story. To be honest, I'd rather have that element completely erased than so poorly realized.
Ice had good bones. The author created a new world, a new paranormal twist, and a nice set-up for a wonderful story. I just wish the editors would've demanded more from the author so we actually received that story.
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