Monday, December 2, 2013

Review: North of Need by Laura Kaye

*This is not YA

I took one look at the premise of this book and started squeeing like a lovesick fangirl. A Snow God using a snowman as a means to come to life and attempt to comfort a young, grieving widow? Sounded too freaking cool, if you ask me--or perhaps ASKED me a couple days ago...

I guess I'd be lying if I didn't admit up front that I had HUGE hopes for this one. Stories about Gods falling in love with mortals are something I tend to really love--or really hate. I'm always looking for the love, I swear! But alas, they don't always deliver.

I also came across this book because I'm mixing in some festive reads with the Get Read-y thing I'm taking part in next month. And this just seemed like it would be the perfect fit. Read on and I'll tell you where North of Need melted my heart...and where it left me totally cold.
(Summary from GoodReads)
While attempting to escape the agonizing memories she associates with Christmas, twenty-nine-year-old widow Megan Snow builds a snow family outside the mountain cabin she once shared with her husband-and collapses in tears against the snowman at the sight of what she'll never have.

Called to life by the power of Megan's tears, snow god Owen Winters appears unconscious on her doorstep in the midst of a raging blizzard. As she nurses him to health, Owen finds unexpected solace in her company and unimagined pleasure in the warmth of her body, and vows to win her heart for a chance at humanity.

Megan is drawn to Owen's mismatched eyes, otherworldly masculinity, and enthusiasm for the littlest things, and her heart opens enough to believe he's a Christmas miracle. But this miracle comes with an expiration-before the snow melts and the temperature rises, Megan must let go of her widow's grief and learn to trust love again, or she'll lose Owen forever.
I often feel like I am a black sheep in the blogging and writing community, because I'm often the devil's advocate, the defender of things that make many people seem to want to wall toss their Kindles. Take insta-love, for example. When it comes to paranormal and fantasy stories, I'm normally totally game for it. I usually find it cute, because I liken those stories, more often to not, as myths or fairytales for grown ups.

But even I have my limit, and North of Need seemed ready and willing to do everything it could to push my buttons and make me look like a total holiday Scrooge. The book actually spells it out for readers that the heroine will have FOUR DAYS to fall in love with the hero. Oh, and did you catch the part in the summary where we learned she lost her husband two years ago in a car crash? Alright-y, then. I can so buy that she'll be ready to give someone--even an Immortal Snow God--her heart in that time frame. NOT. 

But wait, it gets better. Surely, you're asking me, there must be some great and crucially life threatening reason that could throw them over the edge. Some terrible evil chasing them? Some great catastrophe that must be thwarted? NOPE. Another God, who controls the onset of spring, is doing things (that do not relate to our couple--this character isn't out to get them or a villain / antagonist--he's purely an elemental force within the context of this book) that are going to make the hero melt. And he can only avoid melting if the heroine can get past her dead husband and declare her love for him...within four days.

And just how will these two fine souls become acquainted? Why, through food, sex, an igloo, more food, more sex, skiing, and sex, sex, and did I mention SEX. Sweet mother of Zeus, I think this book had more sex scenes than Backstage Pass! (Only those were GOOD sex scenes, just to keep things clear.) There were two really big problems with the sex in North of Need. (1) It was sex for sex's sake. It didn't really do anything but pad the book out. (2) and when we're talking six to eight scenes in 230 pages that's way too much boring, generic sex. It got to a point where I would skim the sex scenes because ab-so-freaking-lutely nothing was going on there. (Might make a good sleep aid?)

The hero and heroine were okay at best. The hero, Owen, was perfect to the point of being as tasteless as--you guessed it--snow. Laura Kaye gave him some pretty cool powers here and there, and I did like the lore that surrounded his background...but he was too damn nice. As for Megan, I think I've found a new way to use TSTL. You've heard of "too stupid to live", right? Well...Megan was "Too Stupid To Love"--a condition where our heroine is too stupid to act on her feelings when it's vital and then, in turn, is so stupid we don't feel she should even get her happily ever after. >.< 

Aside from the mythology I just mentioned, the only other saving grace this book had was the Supreme Snow God, Boreas. I really wish we'd gotten to see him as a younger character and that he'd been the lead, because he was freakin' hilarious. He showed up a couple times and totally had me laughing by the end of the story. 
I'm honestly at a loss on this one. The best I can say is to take a look at the things I complained about: (1) super, duper, OMFG Kat thought it was insta-love and didn't like it; (2) Where's the plot, man! (3) Sex-o-palooza (boring, generic sex at that...) and (4) a hero who is pretty much as bland as the snow that sustains him. I don't want to write this series off completely because Laura Kaye's writing was good, I've heard the series gets a bit more momentum as it progresses, and I loved the mythology. But I'm not going to be racing to get book two like my butt's on fire. 



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