Tuesday, November 30, 2021

ARC Review: Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon

Ice Planet Barbarians

Ruby Dixon
Series: Ice Planet Barbarians (Book 1)
Publication: Berkley (November 30, 2021)

Description: Fall in love with the out-of-this-world romance between Georgie Carruthers, a human woman, and Vektal, an alien from another planet, in this expanded edition with bonus materials and an exclusive epilogue—in print only!

You’d think being abducted by aliens would be the worst thing that could happen to me. And you’d be wrong. Because now the aliens are having ship trouble, and they’ve left their cargo of human women—including me—on an ice planet.

We’re not equipped for life in this desolate winter wasteland. Since I’m the unofficial leader, I head out into the snow to look for help.

I find help all right. A big blue horned alien introduces himself in a rather . . . startling way. Vektal says that I'm his mate, his chosen female—and that the reason his chest is purring is because of my presence. He’ll help me and my people survive, but this poses a new problem.

If Vektal helps us survive, I’m not sure he’s going to want to let me go.

My Thoughts: This series began as a self-published experiment by a NYT Best-Selling author under the pseudonym Ruby Dixon. She wanted a change of pace and decided a Sci-Fi Alien Romance was just what she was in the mood to write. The first two books were serialized and gathered some online fans. When the stories started trending on Tik Tok, the author was both surprised and pleased. twenty-two books later, they are still fun to write and now have quite a large audience. Berkley is coming out with a print, paperback edition this November of this, the first book in the series.

The author decided to write about so many of her favorite tropes. Twenty-two year old Georgie Carruthers is a bank teller in Tallahassee, Florida, when she is abducted by aliens. She joins a number of other young women of around the same age who were also abducted. They are kept in the hold of a spaceship and guarded by brutal aliens. When the ship encounters some sort of mechanical failure, the hold in abandoned on an ice planet. 

Since the most of the women were hurt in the crash and left with insufficient clothes and scant food and water, Georgie who has become the de facto leader decides to venture out to see if she can find help. The only clothing she has is that of one of the guards that the women managed to overwhelm and kill during the crash. She immediately knows that she's on another planet; the two suns and extra-large moon are the giveaways.

Georgie finds herself on a mountain in a cold and alien environment. She also finds herself caught in a snare which at least lets her know that there are thinking beings on the planet. 

Now, Vektal enters the story. He is big and blue, has horns and a tail, and is the chief of his tribe. He also has a khui - a symbiont that lets him survive the harsh conditions. His khui immediately begins to resonate when he finds Georgie. That resonance is a sign that he has found his mate. Despite not speaking the same language, their romance gets hot and heavy right away. Note: If you don't like frequent sex in all sorts of positions and variations, this is NOT the book for you. 

Georgie needs to find a way to convince Vektal to help her rescue the other girls. It helps that one of the hunting shelters that they use along the way is actually the ship that brought Vektal's ancestors to the planet the girls have named Not-Hoth. After chipping away some ice, she wakes up the ship's artificial intelligence which gives her the history of her rescuer and a linguistic upload that gives her Vektal's language.

Now able to communicate, they head to Vektal's home, gather more hunters, and go off to rescue the other girls who are in bad shape when they arrive. They also need to hunt down an animal to get symbionts for all of the humans. They can only survive on the planet for a week without them. But having the symbiont also means that they can't leave the planet again. 

The story is told alternately from Georgie's and Vektal's points of view. It was interesting to know how both Georgie and Vektal are reacting to things that happen. While I thought their romance happened awfully fast and Georgie dealt perhaps a little too well with all the changes in her life, it was an engaging story. A devoted science fiction fan might have quite a few quibbles about many things, i.e. how a small group of aliens managed to survive on a planet that was so harsh or how two such different sorts of beings were sexually compatible and interfertile, but readers who are in it for the romance will enjoy the story and be looking to read more in the series. 

Favorite Quote:
Now you might be thinking, Nothing says love quite like a parasite that induces you to mate, but I swear it made sense in my head, and I figured it was just for me anyhow.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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