Friday 26 October 2018

Review: Shadow and Ice - Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter, the New York Times bestselling author who brought you the Lords of the Underworld, introduces a scorching new paranormal romance series… Gods of War.

Knox of Iviland has spent his life competing in the All Wars, where vicious warriors with supernatural powers fight to the death to claim new realms. One winner takes everything—and all losers die. Enslaved as a child for his ability to control shadows, the most ruthless champion in history will stop at nothing to kill his king. But first he must win the battle for Earth. When a fearsome weapon imprisons every combatant in ice, centuries pass without progress…until she walks in.

Vale London craves a fun arctic getaway with her foster sister before settling down to open a bakery. Street-tough but vulnerable, she is unprepared to find ancient gods escaping a frozen cave—merciless beings who target her when she inadvertently enters their war.

Though Vale is now his enemy, Knox is consumed with lust and a fierce need to protect her. But only one combatant can prove victorious, and he will have to choose: live for freedom, or die for love.

Gods of War Series:
Shadow and Ice
Future titles and release dates to be confirmed

Visit Gena Showalter's website for more information

I really enjoyed Gena Showalter's YA White Rabbit Chronicles series but it's been a long time since I've read any of her adult books. As a HUGE paranormal romance fan I had high expectations for Shadow and Ice though and was really looking forward to starting this new series. I hate to say it but unfortunately I ended up feeling a little disappointed, this wasn't the worst series opener I've ever read but it definitely didn't wow me and to be honest I'm not sure if I have any interest in reading the next book.

Shadow and Ice had so much potential, Gena Showalter has created a universe full of different realms all populated by different types of immortals. Each time a new realm is discovered a new All War is begun where one warrior from each realm is selected to battle to the death for the right to control the new world. The warriors are usually slaves who didn't choose to join the war but unless they win they die so they're all very serious about taking that winning spot. The latest All War is being fought over control of Earth as we know it, humanity isn't aware that this battle is going on and any humans who get caught in the crossfire are collateral damage and not to be worried about.

For Knox this is the fourth All War he has fought in, he won the previous three and has been promised freedom from his slave bonds if he wins this one too. For centuries Knox has longed for freedom so that he can take revenge on the king who imprisoned him and he's not going to let anything get in the way of achieving his goal. Imprisoned in ice for hundreds of years along with nearly all of the other All War participants Knox has been trying to break free to continue the battle for his life.

Vale is a human who is on holiday with her sister before they settle down and start their own business. When they end up separated from their guide and alone in an arctic wilderness they find shelter in a cave and are shocked to discover frozen statues of warriors trapped in the ice. They are even more shocked when those warriors suddenly come to life and start battling against each other. Vale ends up being kidnapped by Knox who wants to get information from her about how much the world has changed while he was imprisoned but all she really wants to do is find her way back to her sister and get them both to safety.

This series sounded a bit like it was going to be an adult version of the hunger games with immortal warriors battling it out for supremacy so I was really excited to see how it would go. I honestly expected to devour this book but it actually ended up being quite a slow read and a bit of a slog to get through. I think some of the problems came from poor world building, I had a lot of questions about things and there were a lot of things that never became clear even by the end of the book. We are also introduced to a ridiculously large cast of characters and I had trouble keeping track of who was who and what weapons and special abilities they all had. The battles were quite hard to follow and the fact that you know most of these characters are going to die made it hard to stay invested in the outcome of the story.

I also found it really difficult to get on board with the romance between Knox and Vale. Knox kidnaps her and even when she tells him her sister will die if Vale can't get her the medicine she needs he has no intention of helping either of them. Rather than being angry and hating him for that Vale spends all her time panting after him like a dog on heat. I mean really, someone kidnaps you and doesn't care that your sister is going to die and within five minutes all you're really thinking about is how hot your kidnapper is? Does that sound realistic? Overall I found Vale irritating and a lot of the things coming out of her mouth were so juvenile that even my 14 year old nephew wouldn't be caught dead saying them (for example: "Because foxy Knoxie deserves a party with his doxy" - seriously I couldn't make this crap up!). It was like she was trying too hard to be cool and just came across like an idiot. Knox wasn't much better but at least his character had changed and grown by the end of the book. I'm so disappointed that that GORGEOUS cover was wasted on a hero I can't drool over though!

The only reason I'm even slightly interested in reading the next book is that it's going to be about Nola and Bane who both came across as more interesting than Vale and Knox even though they had far less page time. I just don't know if that is enough to persuade me to try it though.

Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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