Black Ice by Anne Stuart seems to be really big hit with readers. Unfortunately, I found the plot predictable, characters predictable and the story ridiculous. Needless to say this will be my last time reading Anne Stuart, period. However, Black Ice was vastly improved over the previous lackluster title, Into The Fire.
After much talk about this book online, I went ahead and bought Black Ice by Anne Stuart. Part of me wanted to find out if this was the last book I’ll read from her ever again or will this book impress me enough to say that Into the Fire was a fluke? I’ve enjoyed a few of Anne Stuart’s books. After reading Against the Wind – I felt that her earlier books probably are much better than her current works to date, but that’s neither here or there. I don’t know as I’ve only read the one book which isn’t as hard to find as her earlier gothics/suspense/regency or whatever. I enjoyed Nightfall for the bad boy hero only and the sinister atmosphere. The heroine wasn’t all that great – usually her heroines aren’t all that great/memorable but -I read Black Ice last night and graded it average read. This time the problems are not with the heroine or the hero who are both typical Anne Stuart hero/heroines. The draw for me is the hero in her books–btw– usually they almost always cross the line. Bastian Toussaint does just that so he stayed true to form. Some readers may find him a little over the top. I didn’t really mind him. Honestly, I didn’t really care about these characters. However, the pacing was good. The plot was ho-hum but the lack of character development —that’s a no-no for me. When you have a ho-hum plot with nothing else to back it up – it doesn’t work for me.
As I was reading, I could picture her writing the set-up of this story: enter Sylvia who shares a flat with Chloe; Sylvia must give Chloe a reason to give her this job so that she is the one that helps translates for the arms-dealers. Sylvia gives her all of her clothes and never mind that they are both not the same size. Chloe throws on some clothes and hops into the limo waiting downstairs, to be whisked away to an assignment her friend turns down that was paying 700 euros. Egads. The money. How glorious. What an adventure!When she gets there she is almost regretful when she meets the arms-dealers (who she doesn’t suspect as arms dealers right away).
Just for good measure, Chloe speaks all kinds of different languages but the assignment requires that she only translates from English to French and back. So, she pretends to not understand all the different languages around her. A girl gotta trust her instincts. Enter Hakim and Bastian and the other businessmen and woman there at the meeting. They are a little suspicious and reject Chloe at first. Of course, they get talked into keeping her. Chloe is immediately drawn to Bastian (she picked the right dude!) and is uncomfortable about her attraction to him after overhearing him talk about her most provocatively in Italian to another businessman.
However, Bastian is not fooled by Sylvia’s ignorance. He knows that she understands everyone in the whole room. His suspicions kick into overdrive after that, almost to the point of being ridiculous. Bastian has been on assignment for ten months, infiltrating this arm’s group. He suspects Chloe as a spy and thinks she is there to take someone out. Give. Me. A. Break. Bastian goes back and forth with this: she’s inept —to– she’s there as a spy but for whom? It drove me nuts, I tell ya.
Then there’s Chloe wanting to leave and then, no, the money, I’ll stay for the money and just leave at the end of the weekend introspection. Chloe and as with all of Stuart’s heroines – they all want sex and adventure, honey. They often get sex and violence instead. Bastian is a dark hero. He certainly is much darker than the previous hero in Into the Fire but he’s not as bad as say the hero from Moonrise. I don’t know. Maybe I should take that back. It’s been awhile since I read Moonrise.I don’t know. Having the guy you sleep with tell you he could kill you and it would be quick as ‘pillow talk’ is not very romantic. Bastian is well, I don’t want to say anymore about him. Eventually, I did skim to the end. The love scenes were typical Anne Stuart love scenes. The ending was very abrupt. It’s like she forgot to tack on a few more pages to close loose ends. Like she just barely made it to her word count.
Overall: The plot was a bit thin and convoluted. I didn’t really like this book but it was much improved over Into the Fire. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good either. Neutral? It was just an average read. Story forgettable, characters very forgettable. I couldn’t recommend this book to anyone. This definitely will be my last foray into Anne Stuart’s world.
[tags]Anne Stuart, Black Ice, Romantic Suspense[/tags]