“Temple of Ice” follows Tama, a winter mage on the cusp of becoming an elite warrior alongside her two best friends. In Cura’s world, the land has been punished by their goddess to be forever encased in ice, with an evil goddess threatening to emerge and plunge their world into darkness; and no, the bad goddess is not the same as the one who put this land in a deep freeze. Tama learns to appreciate her friends’ differing talents with ice magic, and also finds love in the arms of a beautiful woman who loves Tama’s wild spirit. But Tama, her friends, and her land are suddenly thrust into violence when a betrayal from within threatens to unleash the dark goddess once and for all. The world concept is very cool (heh) and while I liked the sapphic representation in this book, the story as a whole felt like I was reading a companion novella to an already established world/story.
The good thing about “Temple of Ice” is that the book is a standalone and the story moves very quickly. Maybe too quickly, however. Things progress so fast that it was hard for me to ever feel emotionally invested in any of the characters, and that included the romance. That’s why I say this read like a companion book to an already established world, I felt like I was plunked into something that I would have enjoyed more having read something that already established the world and conflict when, in fact, the reader is just beginning to be introduced to everything and everyone. So certain character motivations came across as vague and flimsy, especially around the bad guys and their reasons for betraying everyone. That being said, I enjoyed Tama’s spunk, but with the speed at which the story progresses, we didn’t really get much of it before she “moved on”, so to speak, as a character. I also liked the romance itself, but the intimate scenes read a bit clunky to me.
I truly wished I enjoyed this story more as I think it all has fantastic potential. The world and lore are all there, but the story just moves too fast—discoveries and then resolutions all coming within a few pages’ kind of fast. Had the story taken its time, I think I would have felt more engaged but, like I said, it’s also a quick and easy read so I didn’t hate it by any means. Hopefully more comes in this world so readers can feel like they are getting a better look at Tama and her icy land, even if it is from another character’s POV as Tama’s story is pretty well wrapped up by the end of the book. But because of the speed, lack of true character development, and a serious case of insta-love, this book is a 2 star read for me. And thank you to the author for providing me with an ecopy of the book!
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