[BOOK REVIEW] Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter (Gods of War #1)

I’ve had to ponder a bit about how to best go about writing down this review.

It’s so hard to put a book into words that had you feeling so many contradictory feelings. You don’t want to let down the author, knowing they all put their heart into their work. But you also want to be honest. It’s tough finding the right words to talk about of which you don’t only have positive things to say, you know? Let’s give it a go!

Knox of Iviland, the most ruthless warrior in All War history, has spent his life fighting others to the death, winning new realms for his king. Now the stakes are higher than ever. If he prevails in the battle for Earth, his slave bands will be removed. Victory is his sole focus…until he meets her.

On an arctic getaway with her foster sister, street tough but vulnerable Vale London is shocked to stumble upon a cave filled with ancient gods waging epic combat. When she is inadvertently drawn into their war, she is forced to team up with an unlikely ally—the sexy god who makes her burn with desire.

Though Vale is his enemy, Knox is consumed with lust and a fierce need to protect her. But only one combatant can triumph, and he will have to choose: live for freedom, or die for love.

I have to be honest here and say that overall, the story line is quite predictable. This wasn’t necessarily a turn-off for me because this is more and more often the case with books I read within genres like this one. On a side note: There was quite a lot of engagement in this book that made sure it had me hooked from beginning till end. But it is a part of my decision about rating the book 3 stars.

It took me a while to get ‘into’ the romance part of the book and for it to feel like it was believable to me . Sure, it was sexy and intense and it had me all hot and bothered from time to time, feelings Gena knows how to evoke in me so so well. But the sexiness, steaminess and intensity of the romance wasn’t what bothered me. In the beginning, it really felt like these characters and their romance were just all over the place. I just couldn’t get a good feel on it, the development felt not in-depth enough I guess. It all really progressed for the better though when I was about halfway through, but it had a rocky start unfortunately.

“There is only one thing you need to know about me,” he finally said.
“I will protect you as long as you are necessary,
and as long as you do not seek my downfall.”

I also did have some issues about the way things got wrapped up, with some of the struggles regarding the characters for example, towards the end. I won’t go into detail because then I’d spoil things, but it felt like things were being resolved a bit too fast and easy sometimes, in my opinion. Because of this, the story lost some of its credibility here and there.

It really pains me to write down remarks on a Gena Showalter book, especially a Paranormal Romance one by this author because she’s been a fave of mine for years. She was the one author who got me hooked to paranormal romance alongside Nalini Singh, so this not being at least a 4 star read, really pains me. But yeah… I had to say that overall it felt like some of the elements written down in this book were lacking in execution from time to time, which isn’t something I’m familiar with when it comes to this author and her books. I think it’s the first time I rated a book 3 stars by her and read a book by her that I felt so contradictory about.

To get back on a more positive note though, because there are definitely positive things about this book as well that I want to gush about:

The concept of this story is quite awesome. The All War is a really interesting element for example; Representatives/Warriors are sent down to new discovered worlds, Earth in this case, to fight for their Kings and Queens in order to win them this particular world and rule it. Only one Warrior/representative survives. The rest has to be Killed. I really like how Gena’s not shy of writing down a believable battle scene. Because my god, Gena knows how to kill of characters, let me tell you that. The fighting/killing scenes are dark, brutal, bloody and gruesome and I loved every second spent reading these scenes.

The Characters are magnificent! Not only the two main characters, but the entire set of characters. The warriors for example: These warriors are so very believable and so realistically written down! I also really love the added paranormal elements. The warriors have special weapons and things like that and some of the warriors have supernatural abilities like turning into a Beast, being able to form shadows and blind your opponents, use fire, read minds, and more like that. Really loved reading about all of this!

“He’d lost the war the second they’d met.”

The writing in general was still great though I think. It had me more and more engaged by each new chapter I was reading, and it left me craving more in the end. I buddy read this book, so we set a schedule beforehand and agreed to read 5 chapters per day. And every single time when I was finished reading that 5th chapter I wanted MORE. Every day, no exceptions. So that’s a good thing!!

And Gena is AMAZING btw with referrals to just about anything really haha. There was a referral to Gremlins for example, but so many more movies/characters and so on. I love this so so much. There are some Norse mythology elements being wrapped up into the story, and I really liked this authors take on this.

Overall, when I finished reading this book I thought: Gena has me hooked to yet another one of her (paranormal) series! I want more.

Strange, you might think considering my remarks on the book I’ve had as well, right?. But I dunno: even though I’ve had some serious remarks on the book, remarks that would make someone else maybe even decide to not giving the next book a go anymore, I’m just really curious about the next one already.

Some developments towards the end have me really excited to read more, to being introduced to new characters, a new romance, and seeing the world(s) being extended as well as seeing how things will progress with the characters we focused on in this one.

I think the concept of this first book and the series in general, is really awesome and I’m curious and excited to seeing it being developed even more so with the next book(s) in the series – hopefully. Gena’s writing is still good and addictive, despite feeling there was missing something in the ‘execution’ part of some of the elements in the story. It still had me looking forward to reading the next chapter when I was reading it and this has me hopeful and excited about book 2.

In my opinion, this book is still one I’d recommend to give a go when you’re into paranormal romance , if you like a steamy romance, if you’re interested in new world(s) to explore and if you want a book that has you wanting more after each chapter you’ve read. It wasn’t the best first book in a new paranormal romance series that I’ve read, but it was fun and it was exciting to getting aquatinted with.

Thanks for Reading!

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