REVIEW: Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon

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. And the only native inhabitant I’ve met? He’s big, horned, blue, and really, really has a thing for me…

Warnings: dubcon, mentions of abuse/rape, pregnancy, biological imperatives

Category: M/F

Ice Planet Barbarians is a series of science fiction romance novellas, with the first book in the series baring the series title. Set on an ice planet affectionately referred to by the characters by the tongue in cheek moniker ‘Not-Hoth’, our main character Tala and a group of other women are captured by aliens, and crash land on a planet where they will need to rely on the goodwill of a group of barbarian aliens who want nothing more than to find true love. It’s a little cheesy and silly but a whole lot of fun and a whole lot of steamy.

For being written in first person and present tense, I was very pleasantly surprised that the prose was a lot of fun to read. Georgie never came off as obnoxious or overbearing, but she was also not a complete pushover. Her reactions to the situations she found herself in struck me as both courageous and believable, and I really enjoyed going on this journey with her. Vektal, our beefy barbarian love interest, was also a very enjoyable perspective as well. Both of their voices were engaging, and made the rather silly plot line move at a fast pace. From the moment Georgie wakes up having been captured by aliens I was invested in the story, which while not an especially unique one was told in a way that gave me everything that I want from a story like this. The author is familiar with a lot of great tropes that hit a lot of the notes that make a story like this fun, and didn’t linger on angst or drama.

I was very emotionally invested in both of our leads. Vektal was hands down one of the sweetest love interests I’ve read in these kinds of books; despite his primitive nature, cultural expectations, and biological understanding of mating, he was at once a sympathetic and caring mate. The connection between him and Georgie can be very based in primal physical attraction, but it’s also got an aspect of biological imperative in it due to the alien symbiote that reminds a little of A/B/O which is quite compelling and adds an extra dimension to their dynamic. Georgie’s desire for Vektal is all physical and on it’s own that may have hampered the emotional aspect of the story, but Vektals intense desire to be a protector for his mate, as well as their struggles to learn how to communicate through the language barrier, made it have enough dimensions to be thoroughly enjoyable.

This is an extremely hammy sci-fi about aliens and their sex lives. As such, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from the worldbuilding, but I was very pleased with it. There are some hints to a larger world around the one in which the majority of the story takes place; aliens that kidnap humans in order to sell them in some kind of slave market, a ship full of aliens that crash landed onto the ice planet generations ago and had to find a way to survive it’s toxic atmosphere and figured out that if they took on a symbiote lifeform they could do so. A symbiotic worm that makes your body able to withstand the cold, aquire super healing, and naturally bonds you to the person who you would make the best babies with (let’s just handwave and not go into implications there about LGBT…) It’s all quite interesting and well thought through as a setting, and explored pretty well between the sex scenes. Not taking it too seriously, it’s fun and it’s escapism at it’s best.

The sex in this book is very steamy, and very well written. The author takes great care with the scenes, whether from Georgie or Vektal’s POVs, to imbue them with a lot of emotional resonance that I found absolutely charming. It’s pretty vanilla fare, but there’s a lot of tentative exploration of unfamiliar anatomy and mating customs which is always a soft spot of mine. Also, Dixon doesn’t shy away from giving us pretty darn alien aliens. The aliens check off a lot of boxes instead of just a few: they’re big, they’re blue, they have strange biological mating imperatives, they have horns, and they have weird ridged dicks to boot. I can’t complain about them at all. I loved the smut, watching the two of them overcome language and cultural barriers in order to get down was a joy.

All in all this is an incredibly cheesy little novella that despite it’s short length delivers a huge punch of steamy sex, fun space adventure, and likeable characters. It’s low on conflict and high in fun, and I loved every minute of it.

Have you read Ice Planet Barbarians? Let me know what you thought by leaving me a comment!

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