Anne Stuart, Ice Blue

Posted October 21, 2011 by Kathy Davie in

Ice Blue (Ice, #3)Ice Blue by Anne Stuart
Series: Ice, 3
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Third in the Ice romance-suspense series revolving around cold, hard men of the Committee intent on preserving the world no matter who it hurts.

The Story
Takashi O’Brien has been assigned to recover the Hayashi Urn and learn the location of the ruined shrine in Japan from Dr. Summer Hawthorne. He has orders to kill her to prevent Shirosama from taking her and learning of the shrine’s location. It is but a few days before the True Realization Fellowship and their charismatic leader, Shirosama, must perform their ritual and then cleanse the world during the Lunar New Year.

But Takashi reckons without Summer’s experience and intellect as he unwillingly succumbs to her allure.

The Characters
Dr. Summer Hawthorne has specialized in Asian studies and inherited a lovely antique urn from her Japanese nanny behind which seems to be a sinister purpose.

Takashi O’Brien is gaijin, half-Japanese, half-American, and barely accepted by his mother’s family. As an agent for the Committee, Taka has perfected the art of interrogation via sex and killing without feeling…he thought.

Jilly Lovitz is her 16-year-old half-sister and very precious to Summer. Indeed, Jilly is the only reason Summer has remained in the LA area.

Shirosama is the leader of the religious cult, True Realization Fellowship, and descended from a mythic figure in Japanese history. His intention is to be reincarnated as that ancestor and use poisons, gases, and bombs to cleanse the world.

My Take
This was just too unbelievable. In the previous two books in the series, I haven’t felt any reason for the male protagonists to fall in love with their female counterparts and it’s even worse in this story. I could read and enjoy the first two in spite of that; in Ice Blue, the lack of reason interfered in my enjoyment of the story. It simply didn’t make sense with both parties fighting it and wanting sex at the same time. Sure, this contradiction occurs in most stories, but Stuart has a way of making it not work. It’s possible that Takashi’s constantly wanting to kill her and Summer’s offering her neck up all the time was a contributing factor to the reading frustration.

I did enjoy the bits of Japanese culture tossed in as well as Jilly’s character. And Reno seems a bit of a hoot as well.

The Cover
The cover is rather cold with a great sense of distance. A Japanese-style house, smoke rising from the roof, is tucked in amidst a forest of evergreens with mountains forming a backdrop. The title incorporates an icicle for the “L” in Ice Blue which, I think, refers to the glaze on the Hayashi Urn.

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