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After reading Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon, I initially wasn’t going to read the spin-off series called Icehome but I found myself reading all 16 books that have been released as of June 2022. There are two more still coming. Similar to the first series, each book takes place from a different couple’s perspective. There is some overlap between the stories are characters are separated or relationships happen at the same time. Not to mention, there is also overlap with the main series, and characters from there make appears throughout the Icehome series. But you don’t have to read that series in order to read this one.
This series takes place around the sixteen women and four aliens that were found in the later part of Ice Planet Barbarians. They do not live with the rest of the characters we know from the previous series. Though, as mentioned, they do make appearances. As they are in the initial books as everyone learns how to handle the new beach the Icehome tribe lives on. A bunch of characters besides the 20 freed slaves end up living on the beach. As there was apparently an island made up for multiple clans: Strong Arm, Tall Horn, Shadow Cat, Long Tail (deceased), and Outcast. But thanks to Lauren and Mari, they leave to join the rest right before their volcano home explodes. Others join later in the series as well as more characters are found on the beach or are sent by Mardok’s old contact. They also learn from one of those sent individuals that Earth was destroyed, so more or less they are the last of the human race.
The same catch applies in Icehome as it did in Ice Planet Barbarians. Everyone has to have a symbiotic called the khui in order to survive the toxic and harsh conditions of the planet. Not only does it keep the host alive but it decides when you get pregnant and who gets you pregnant. Like a matchmaker that doesn’t take no for an answer. So, each book focuses on who the khui pair up as couples. And shocker all the couples are heterosexual. They do touch on the fact that everyone is heterosexual with the character of Steph. She’s bisexual but she still ends up in a male/female relationship by the end of her book.
The books in this series are:
- Lauren’s Barbarian (Lauren/K’thar)
- Veronica’s Dragon (Veronica/Ashtar)
- Willa’s Beast (Willa/Gren)
- Gail’s Family (Gail/Vaza) (NOVELLA)
- Angie’s Gladiator (Angie/Vordis)
- Hannah’s Hero (Hannah/J’shel)
- Devi’s Distraction (Devi/N’dek)
- Nadine’s Champion (Nadine/Thrand)
- Callie’s Catastrophe (Callie/M’tok)
- Penny’s Protector (Penny/S’bren)
- Mari’s Mistake (Mari/T’chai)
- Raven’s Return (Raven/U’dron)
- Bridget’s Bane (Bridget/A’tam)
- Steph’s Outcast (Steph/Juth)
- Sam’s Secret (Sam/Sessah)
- Daisy’s Decision (Daisy/O’Jek)
- Flor’s Fiasco (Flor/I’rec)
Each book is around 250 pages (a bit longer than the previous series), but they aren’t long reads by any means. Which works as the relationship/story don’t feel rushed or drag at any points of time. The romances are similar to the first series with the common tropes being: resisting the khui for resonance (mating/pregnancy), kidnapping either to force resonance or because it appeared, or discovering that mate in a friend after dealing with trauma (mental or physical) of some form. But usually, by the end of it, the couple gets together or resolves whatever issue they were facing. And usually, you know who the next book is going to be focused on. Something always happens that hints at who it will focus on. Sometimes it’s a different pairing as things overlap, but for the most part, something in the subplot of what’s going on with the tribe will hint at the direction of the next book in the series.
Overall, the books are good. There are a lot of new elements that happen and more conflict within the Icehome tribe as it’s made up of clans that are used to competing and fighting with each other. So, it also touches on racism and acceptance. Especially when outcasts are discovered that don’t fit the characteristics of the clans. Not to mention there are new creatures that the tribe have to deal with that the other tribe doesn’t encounter normally. Which is interesting to read about outside of the relationships. The dynamic is also interesting as almost all characters are unestablished in what they’re going to do. The male slaves have no idea how to do anything outside of arena fighting, island clans have been starving for years and don’t know how to get along with each other, and the women are learning where they fit in. And they find new things to do that the previous tribe never did like pottery, yarn, embroidery, etc.
Like the first series, there are a few mistakes here and there or details that get changed. The author, Ruby Dixon, acknowledges these at the end of the book. Sometimes characters are mixed up with what clan they belong to or how certain things played out. But usually, it’s nothing major, though, and I never noticed those slip-ups until I was reading the Author’s Notes at the end of the book. Then I’m like “oh yeah they’re supposed to be or weren’t related before.” Hell, half the time I forget who’s with who overall in the tribe as many of the characters have similar names. Ruby Dixon keeps a list of all the tribe members and their kits (children) in the back of the book. Sometimes with notes about their history/character. As I read all of these on Kindle, I don’t look/see this until after I’m done reading. Not that it’s a big deal. I just thought it was worth pointing out.
I would rate these books between 3 and 3.25 stars out of 5. Some were better than others, but I’m not going to go through and figure out a rating on each one. As some of these, I read over a week ago. And I’m writing this post when I finished. So, it wouldn’t be fair to try to go “oh what was this specific book again on a rating scale.” As I did not think to write down any of this until the end. Since initially, I wasn’t even going to write a post but concerning I read 1-2 of these books a day, I felt like I should in the end. Plus, I enjoyed them. Not sure if I’m going to add these types of books into my regular reading list, I do love me a good fantasy but the sci-fi aspect of these romance books helped bridge that gap to some degree.
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