Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick review

16059938Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Simon & Schuster, 7th October 2014

Britt Pfeiffer has never been that adventurous, but that’s about to change. Wanting to impress her ex-boyfriend, Britt convinces best friend, Korbie, to take a trekking trip with her. But when a freak storm leaves the girls stranded they seek shelter in a cabin, where they find two knights in shining armour. Or so they think.
Britt quickly realises that the girls need to get off the mountain, fast. In exchange for her life, she is forced to guide the boys down, and as they set out on a harrowing journey through the cold and snow, Britt realises the only way to escape with her life is to pretend she is on their side. But is gorgeous, sexy Mason an enemy or an ally? Tension mounts, and it’s only a matter of time before things turn deadly…

I was very lucky and absolutely thrilled to win an advance copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads. Wahooo! Winner!!! There has been a lot of hype in the build-up to the release of Black Ice, the first thing that Becca Fitzpatrick has written since her hugely successful Hush, Hush series. I’m going to hold my hand up and admit now that I’ve never read those books! But because I love stories set in the great outdoors where people go up against nature in a fight for survival, I was really keen to read this book.

The setup to this story sounds like two teenage girls’ fantasy – being stuck in a cosy cabin in the middle of a storm with two hot strangers. But it very soon becomes clear that it’s a not a fantasy but a nightmare that Britt and her best friend Korbie have walked into. Britt wanted to spend spring break hiking the Teton range to prove to herself – and her ex, Calvin – that she is tough enough to take on the big outdoors. And who wouldn’t want to get back at their ex by showing off, right? But she gets more than she bargained for when she and Korbie are taken hostage and it becomes a fight for survival.

I really didn’t like Britt all that much at the start of the book – yes, she’d been hurt by her ex Calvin, but she seemed to be dealing with it in a very petty and bitter way. And she is one of those girls who has always had her boyfriend/brother/dad to look out for her, so she doesn’t have a very realistic take on things. The situation she finds herself in forces her not only to stand on her own two feet in order to survive, but also to re-evaluate everything she’s ever taken for granted about herself and those close to her. She surprises herself in just how capable she can be, though I thought she never really stopped being self-involved. However, Korbie never seems to shake off her brattish rich kid traits, and I did wonder more than a few times why these two were even friends.

As if leading kidnappers Shaun and Mason off a mountain in blizzard conditions weren’t enough for Britt to contend with, there is this MASSIVE tension between her and Mason. She is attracted to him from the moment she sets eyes on him – and with his toned outdoorsy body and brooding dark eyes it’s not hard to see why. It’s also blatantly obvious that he’s drawn to Britt. There is so much ambiguity going on between them – he’s holding her hostage, yet he seems to want to help and protect her, he’s caring one minute, but distant and closed off the next. That, along with paranoia about Stolkholm syndrome dogging Britt, it’s no wonder she’s confused. The interplay between the two of them was compelling (and yes, very steamy at times!). At the same time Britt is trying to figure out her feelings for her ex Calvin – she starts the book angry with him and determined to prove that she can cope without him, but as soon as she’s trapped on the mountain she swings to seeing him as her only hope of rescue and all is forgiven. Or is it? We get to learn about their relationship through her memories, and while Calvin can be charming and caring he also has a manipulative side and a fraught relationship with his father. Nothing seems to be clear when it comes to men for Britt!

Going on in the background there is also the mystery of three girls who have recently disappeared or been found murdered on the mountain, which created an underlying sense of threat. All of these components – the survival story, the romantic tension, the missing girls – combined to make it a suspenseful read.  There is a big twist at the end – and I’m sorry to say that I saw it coming before I’d even got halfway through the book. It can be a bit disappointing when that happens! But I didn’t stop reading – I wanted to keep going to see if it all played out as I expected. I was proved right in my suspicions, but I couldn’t have predicted exactly the way in which the characters reacted to the events. So it was a bit of a mixed bag for me – I didn’t really warm to the characters and found the story somewhat predictable, but I did get engrossed in the Britt/Mason dynamic. Most of all I just enjoyed being immersed in the wintery wilderness world of the Teton range mountains – that was pure escapism for me.

 

 

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