Tiktok 100% made me request Ice Planet Barbarians. I read quite a lot of romance books, but I hadn’t heard of this one until I joined BookTok. So thank you social media for showing us the power of persuasion. Keep reading this book review of Ice Planet Barbarians for my full, and complex, thoughts.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: rape, sex trafficking, drugging
First of all, I am not one for the ‘mate’ trope. I know this is pretty common in a lot of SFF romances because of a lot of circumstances (vampires, paranormal creatures, large blue aliens it seems). So while that particular aspect – which is very present at the beginning – isn’t my cup of tea, the way Ice Planet Barbarians morphs towards the middle and end I enjoyed.
While I’m not sure that Dixon meant for me to stay awake at night and think about alien-human intercultural communication, the effects of language and reality, and the female gaze, that’s what I did. The science fiction setting ended up being one of my favorite – if not, favorite – element of Ice Planet Barbarians. I loved that Dixon leans into their lack of ability to communicate, to not understand what we think of as ‘essential’. How we feel about nudity or even cooking our food is part of the learning process.
(And a small thing I loved was that even though Vektal can’t understand Georgie at the beginning, in his POVs we can still see what he hears). Okay look, I had a lot of like, “wow that’s such an interesting twist of SF communication” a few times. It’s been a while since I read SF interactions with entirely alien species, but I love that while this is gaining serious traction in the romance sphere, hopefully it will also encourage some SF love!