Review: Lord of Fire and Ice by Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe ★★★ 1/2

Lord of Fire and Ice by Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe
Genre: Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance
Series: n/a
Publication Date: July 3rd 2012
ISBN: 1402261853
Page Count: 384
Review Copy: ARC
Rating:  ★★★ 1/2

Brandr the Far-Traveled is revered by his fellow vikings: his bed skills are the stuff of steamy legend, his sword sings of death on the field of battle, and he can call up fire from thin air. Enslaved through trickery, he's determined to woo his new owner into freeing him. Too bad her heart's as icy as the frozen North.

Katla is sworn to avenge her husband's death at the hands of Brandr's father. But she didn't count on Brandr's dangerous masculinity or the way he awakens her long forgotten desires. Can Brandr seduce his way free, or will love make slaves of them both?

REVIEW

This is my second time reading from this combination of authors, Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe. The first experience was with a Highlander/Scottish romance, which I have a wee soft spot for, and it was really good. This time it's Vikings! A subject matter I have never sampled before, with the addition of some magic/fantasy elements.

The romance was very compelling but I admit to a certain amount of leeriness over the fact that Brandr was taken as a thrall/slave by the heroine. I knew that before going in, but somehow it sounded funnier in the premise than I found it in truth. Partly I think the reason for my discomfort was because Brandr's character was so lovely and strong and proud that it was galling to see him talked about as a lowly thrall and sneered at by people who were no better than he, as a Jarl's son, was. 

It also caused my appreciation of Katla's character to cool quite significantly, which is a shame because she was quite amusing when she wasn't being ridiculous and asking him to kiss her foot and such. Her motivations were that Brandr's father had killed her husband leaving her a widow in charge of a large, communal dwelling, a Longhouse, all by herself at only her mid-twenties. Her three younger brothers, in all their wisdom, brought her a hog-tied and doped up Brandr has a present. Saying if she refused to re-wed, she at least needed a strong slave to help about the place. Initially she refused, but when it was revealed who Brandr was and that he was the son of her husband's killer, she changed her mind.

Having never read a Viking romance before this whole idea of slaves/thralls was completely alien to me and I have no idea if it's a regularly used concept or not, but it sat a little ill with me if truth be told. What it did do, however, was make for very interesting dynamics between the two lead characters.

I'm not sure if the addition of magic was beneficial or not because it was largely ignored for most of the novel and there was no other world-building or explanations provided as to why Brandr, in an otherwise magic-less world, could make fire out of thin air. The books read like a regular historical romance set in the real world, so to believe one person could do such a thing was difficult. If there were others who could do it, or there was other magical differences between our world and that one, it might have made more sense, but to just throw it into a historical novel, almost as an afterthought, or to fit it into a genre category, it didn't work.

However, the passion is undeniable. These two ladies certainly know how to write sensually erotic scenes. Nothing vulgar or tasteless, but the sexual tension at times was almost palpable. I almost didn't want them to ever have sex because the denial stage was so enjoyable! There were also some sweet and amusing scenes between the two, and these more than made up for my squeamishness over the thrall thing, and I ended up enjoying the book a lot, almost like a guilty pleasure.

3.5 Stars! ★★★ 1/2
Review Copy: Received from the publisher for an honest review.

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