A big welcome to G.R. Lyons as part of his review tour with Signal Boost Promotions for Ice on Fire.
Although this story takes place in another world I wouldn’t class the story itself as fantasy as there were no fantasy elements in the story, apart from the suspicion that another character might be a mage—so I suspect others in the series might be more fantasy driven—and the setting of another world. I thought setting what would have worked well as a contemporary in another world was a brilliant idea as it meant the author was free to world build and use settings and a history that isn’t ours.
Zac and Adrian are opposites in personality and backgrounds, yet complement each other well. I always enjoy stories in which one of the characters is a musician, and I thought the author did a great job in describing the differences between Treble, who play fusion, and Inferno, as well as the ‘persona’ Zac takes on when swapping instruments from violin to guitar. I really felt for both Zac and Adrian, and as the story progressed realised that although they are different, in many ways they are similar too. At several instances through the story I wanted to hi-five Adrian for some of the difficult decisions he made. At first glances it might seem as though Adrian is the one who needs Zac, but I thought they needed each other, as Zac could not have made the strides forward in being really true to himself by the end of the story if Adrian had not been in his life. Both men have a lot of things thrown at them, and although some of the decisions made are not great, they’re all part of a learning curve, and I think they come out as more rounded individuals for having gone through them. At one point Adrian tells Zac a few home truths and they were exactly what I’d been thinking someone needed to say to him. That scene made me very happy and I liked the realism in their relationship, and how they had to work through their different issues in order to have a chance at a happy ending.
I thought the theme of this story was really about being true to yourself despite the cost. Although Adrian has been trapped in a gilded cage for most of his life, Zac is stuck in a prison of his own making. He sticks to his principles when Treble is asked to be something they’re not, yet he struggles to admit to his family and friends that he is gay. The author does a great job in showing the growth in both Adrian and Zac as the story progresses, and I enjoyed reading about their journey immensely. A word of warning though: as the blurb says there are very graphic scenes of self-harm, although I didn’t think any of it was gratuitous. I thought the author handled Adrian’s issues very realistically, and I liked that he had to sink down to bottom before turning himself around, rather than his relationship with Zac being the only reason he is able to move forward.
The supporting cast in this story is very well drawn. Adrian’s father is a controlling piece of work. I wanted to smack the guy on several occasions for the way he treated Adrian. I hope he gets what he deserves at some point. Grrr. Zac’s so-called friends from Inferno were shallow and bigoted, and I thought the author did a great job in portraying them without resorting to stereotypes. On the flip side, I loved Vic and Ryley and I was very excited to learn that Ryley is one of the MCs in the next book in the series! Zac’s family are interesting characters, and I loved reading about the banter at their regular dinners.
I’d recommend Ice on Fire to readers who enjoy a story set in another world with likeable flawed characters on a journey to be true to themselves, an interesting supporting cast, and a plot that kept me reading far too late at night because I had to know what happened next. 5 out of 5 stars.
Zac Cinder is on the verge of making his dream come true. His punk rock band, Inferno, might have a shot at an audition for a record deal. Fame and fortune would mean he could finally help his parents. They’d raised eight kids in a loving household while barely scraping by, so Zac is determined to give back in any way he can.
Keeping Inferno together, though, means keeping his biggest secret. His bigoted bandmates would drop him in an instant if they found out Zac was gay.
Then he meets Adrian Frost, and Zac can’t resist the shy man. Adrian gives up everything to be with Zac, but Zac can’t bring himself to do the same. He doesn’t want to lose Adrian, but he can’t give up Inferno, either. Not when he’s so close to realizing his dream.
When one cruel decision rips Adrian from his life, Zac will have to decide if ambition is worth the price of the greatest happiness he’s ever known.
(Note: This story takes place in a fictional world, the same as in the Shifting Isles Series. There are multiple gods, different names for the days of the week, etc. A glossary is included.)
WARNING: Contains scenes of self-harm that may be disturbing for some readers.
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While daylighting as office manager for the family auto repair business, G.R. Lyons can often be found working on one of multiple manuscripts or desperately trying to keep up with the TBR pile.
Anarcho-capitalist, quietly out trans guy, former belly dancer, coffee guzzler, highly-sensitive introvert, CrossFit enthusiast, and lover of m/m romantic fiction.