Ice Prince by JC Owens

Ice Prince by JC Owens
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (220 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal sex, Mild submission
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

Honor. Trust. Exile. Will love overcome the lies?

Raised in lies and isolation, denied all knowledge of his family, Aidan awakens one day to find the manor in a state of excitement. Two foreign generals have come for him. They claim he is their long lost prince, the sole survivor of a rebellion that killed the royal family and usurped the throne of Ceratas. And he, Aidan Telan Ameris, is being escorted home to be crowned king.

Naive and submissive he might be, but stupid Aidan is not. Political machinations are something he has never been exposed to, but everything about his upbringing suddenly makes sense. The long hours studying books of history, the training with pistols and swords… He’d been groomed for this moment since his earliest memories. But he knows without a doubt that he’s no prince. He’s nothing but a pawn in a game he can’t possibly understand.

When their carriage is attacked en route to Ceratas, Aiden is taken prisoner by the leader of the rebel forces. General Torin Amaldis Greyan can’t help but feel for the poor young man, even if he is the enemy. And soon the heat between them grows to something neither can ignore, something that burns much hotter than warfare.

But nothing is simple in the struggle for Ceratas. There are those who wish to use Aidan to destroy both Torin and his country. When both of them are captured, used against each other to break their wills, Aidan and Torin must find the strength to trust each other in a way neither finds easy, if they’re to save each other—and their country…

Aidan has been in isolation as a tool to be used. He knows the manipulators that call themselves his generals and followers are really using him as a pawn to gain control and power. He may be naïve but he’s determined to be used on his own terms. If he can’t stop the men from trying to take control of the kingdom, then he’ll align with the rebels and help their cause. Although he’s ignorant of the consequences and risks of the high stakes power game being fought, he’s determined to help the righteous. That leads him to General Torin, who has mixed feelings about Aidan. Together the two team up in unexpected ways to try to restore the rightful king to the throne.

Ice Prince is kind of a mixed bag of a story. On the one hand, the writing is clean and crisp with good descriptions and well developed characters. On the other, the plot is convoluted and twisted yet has simplistic, familiar roots. Outsiders want to gain control of the kingdom’s throne and are willing to do anything to make that happen while well meaning military men and countrymen band together to fight corruption. Aidan is stuck in the middle, distrusted initially by both sides. I found the story often took the easy way of created conflict – a convenient hidden tunnel, sudden lust previously not displayed, an easy end to a long standing relationship, resolution occurring off page – which decreased both my enjoyment and my engagement with the book. When it was obvious there wasn’t a lot at stake, really, then the story loses the tension and gravity. There was no real question of the couple working out or Aidan being killed.

Additionally the story warns of dubious consent but this isn’t true at all. There’s a scene where someone almost rapes Aidan, barely, but it happens so fast that I blinked and almost missed it. I actually had to go back and think where that warning came from. Additionally, I did not find any intense emotional elements in the story either so I find both warnings to be unnecessary. The story is fine but it doesn’t build those intense emotions like it wants to. Instead it’s more of a familiar corruption versus good political fantasy story with some hot sex between partners that are thrown together by circumstance and later by love. I usually like JC Owens books but was a bit disappointed with this one. It has the clarity of her writing and decent characterization but the pace can be uneven and the plot contains easy outs.

I think fans of the author may be more inclined to forgive any problems in the face of her familiar writing and admittedly hot sex scenes. Plus Aidan is a good character. He’s sympathetic, intelligent, strong, courageous and just a hint submissive at first though he grows out of that quickly. He’s likable and likely to engage readers through his perspective. I struggled with all the other aspects I outlined, but I’m not sorry I read it.

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