Gaelen Foley: LORD OF ICE

Lord of Ice by Gaelen Foley
Knight Miscellany #3
Piatkus 2002
341 pages
3/5 stars

This third instalment in the Knight Miscellany series has for hero Damien, the twin of Lucien from Lord of Fire. Yet another very good read from Foley, although I did not enjoy it as much as the previous one.

Let me start with the prologue. If you have read Foley, you know she doesn’t shy from scandal and violence, and oh my, does the prologue provide! I was most impressed and delightfully shocked. So very, very promising.

Again, Foley does dark and brooding very well, and I absolutely must give kudos for Damien being not only dark and brooding but also shy and a little flustered around beautiful women – just as Lucien describes him early on in Lord of Fire! I am always worried when a future hero is described as something in a previous book, because they tend not to adhere to that description in their own book, but Damien consistently shows this trait, and so I am very pleased.

While I do like Damien (although not as much as Lucien), I found the heroine Miranda harder to get a grasp of. She is rather bland as heroines go, although I think she makes very sensible and realistic decisions in nearly everything. She does sacrifice quite a lot for her love, but I think this is actually a failing on Foley’s side; with some little tweaks, it could have been more obvious that her dreams grow bigger, rather than that she forsakes her only dream for love. This is a major complaint I’ve seen on goodreads, and I think these reviewers have a point, although I also think the point can be argued both for and against.

There’s really no getting around the fact that Damien’s PTSD is cured rather miraculously (to quote Smart Bitches, through the Magic Hoo-Haa*). It seems like it is merely an excuse for most of the novel, and goes away as soon as it’s not needed anymore. There is better discussion on PTSD in romance elsewhere.

I’m also not all that pleased with the structure. In plot, this is not as careful as Foley can be. The matter of the orphanage is resolved much quicker than I expected, although when I thought about it its role was to illustrate the heroine’s and well as the hero’s character rather than work as a side plot or an internal barrier. At the very end, there are a few pages that seem superfluous, although here again I can think of arguments both for and against. All in all, the plot follows the guardian-ward trope and is a little clumsy in the execution.

I give this book three stars out of five because of the halting progress of the plot and the overhand treatment of PTSD, as well as the personal detail that I simply did not enjoy Miranda all that much. In general, not one of my favourite Knight Miscellany books. I also think I detected a Beauty and the Beast vibe in a couple of scenes, something that Foley ahs done before – The Duke, first book in this series, was essentially a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Foley however manages the emotional side as well as always, and the book tugs my heartsrings, although I don’t think she can ever make a character rip my heart out quite the way Lucien did. Of the two twins, I definitely choose Lucien, but Damien has his sides as well.

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