Friday, February 20, 2009

#48 - "Fire and Ice" by Julie Garwood

Fire and Ice (2008) by Julie Garwood was a nice little break from the history kick that I've been on recently. I didn't have to think and the pages just flew by, wasting some time and entertaining me. I don't know what it is about these books. I know exactly what's going to happen in the end (if not the precise means), yet I just can't put them down.

The plots of these stories are always a wee bit far-fetched and ridiculous, but this one works within the parameters of the story. To put it in its most basic terms: a small-newspaper reporter in Chicago and an FBI agent hook up and presumably live happily ever after. What keeps them apart for a very small time is the fact that he is an FBI agent and her father is a renowned white-collar thief, which has made her unappreciative of law enforcement; but this is just a small speed bump in the face of their overwhelming attraction to each other. And then there's the mystery of who is trying to kill our poor heroine and what happened to the subject of her last story who ended up dead in Alaska.

I can't help but compare Fire and Ice to Twilight. Sadly, for Stephenie Meyer, Julie Garwood wins out on writing ability and characterization. Even the minor characters had at least some kind of dimension, and they were all more likeable. I guess Meyer succeeded in having a more intractable and interesting problem keeping her lovers apart. Being an immortal "monster" and always wanting to kill your true love is a real problem. Garwood barely even bothers to make the whole FBI thing much of an issue, just gives them enough time to get attached to each other, which I kind of appreciated.

I think that I accept the predictability and unreality of these books when I otherwise wouldn't because of some kind of comfort in the wish fulfillment of the stories. I've realized I have no patience with this kind of storytelling when it's from the male perspective. One of the few books I stopped reading in the middle was some badly written novel about some guy wreaking vengeance for some reason or other and ending up with the woman. I couldn't stand it, and I assume that's how others who don't relate to the fantasy of the story would think of Fire and Ice, but I still enjoyed it.

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