“Ice Islands” By Humphrey Hawksley

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After a full year, and some extra months, we have the utter pleasure of having into our “house” another book from Humphrey Hawksley, and not only that, BUT, it’s the follow-up book of the incredibly well-written “Man on Fire” of the Rake Ozenna Series! So, IF you haven’t read the review, or the previous book, I urge you to do so, and get that book, because it’s something that you don’t want to miss, (and, of course, this is a series, lol). One of the reasons we loved that book so much was the villain, that was a TOTAL badass, a man of steel, relentless in his focus! Oh, what a villain, yes! But, he won’t be present in this book, which is just too bad. We do miss him a lot.

SO! Come the unexpected follow-up, Ice Islands, and we ask ourselves: What can this possibly be about, and on the first lines of the prologue, we get an exciting piece of info: Japan!!!! We even have a cool map too. So this will be interesting… very interesting, so we dive into it right away, and just as quickly we are captured by the narrative prowess of Humphrey Hawksley, that starts telling us about a horror house, and a woman that is trying to escape her own brother? Now that’s a way to get the readers attention. NICE! And from the looks of it, she is no small fry in the game. Mafia? High Government family? We must know. What a start!

Ice Islands has a very cool. A VEEERY cool premise indeed. You know that in the last review, I did complain about the ol’ American-beats-the-“evil”-Russian plot, although the book was fantastic, and the villain super cool, right? Ok, so, here, in this book, the villains are JAPANESE, but here’s the thing, the author, cannot simply put a Japanese character, specially when it comes to Mafia, in the easy to beat section, because the Japanese are smart, disciplined, war-like and technologically more advanced than the US, so… there is a lot to be cautious about and a lot to expect from this new villain that from the beginning gets our full attention. Not to spoil anything, as you know that I won’t, but this guy, Kaito, is a badass! Cruel, cold, and always one step ahead of the game. OH YES! LOVE HIM already!

The team is back? We have Rake, of course, Harry, yes, and Carrie? Hm….. Maybe… Maybe. And that romance between Rake and Carrie…. uh…. Hahahahahaha.

I think that finally, we have the perfect description of Rake Ozenna as a character: “He was dark, not blond, short not tall, his skin was not smooth but creased and leathered, his eyes were not blue and clear. They were dark, hooded and unintrusive. A stare from Rake Ozenna might not even be detected.Yep! That’s it. Our Mc, Rake, comes off as a blunt knife that sharpens before it touches you. Yeah. That’s it.

Once again we get a full-pack novel. Yes, this is part of the Rake Ozenna series, but it’s something completely new. I say packed, because Humphrey Hawksley once again is able to construct a full set of problems, scenarios and political interests that are so interconnected that it feels like it’s a completely different book from the previous, to the point that we have to rethink everything, as the author did with this book.

It’s a thriller, involving lots of murders, countries, intentions, and goals from different set of individuals. A mystery? No, although it at times feels like one but it’s mostly a thriller, a very complex one at that. Why this is relevant? Because the author is able to make you, the reader, completely interested into the book and keep you interested into it as the story goes by. So many plots and subplots that one will, in fact, be forced to keep full attention into the details of this novel. Awesome work by Humphrey Hawksley.


Answers? Well, that is something you won’t have much of in here for the first…. 50 or so pages, but one thing is for sure, the author WILL increase questions as if he was trying to build a housing complex with them, ha!
Another thing, hahahah, you will love this: You won’t be able to predict this plot. HAHAHHAHAH, it’s not confusing, but it has so many layers, so many people calling the shots, so much interest in hand, that you will, along with the characters, run through this book completely blind to what is happening and why, hahahhaah, which, will keep you engaged all the way. HA! People die, and we don’t know why, decisions are taken, but without an apparent reason, everything that we think is correct, is defied in the next scene, and we have to think everything over again, which is something that will keep you rocking on the balls of your feet. HA! Talk about a thriller eh?

The author, created not only a complex plot landscape, but also was able to put incredible depth to each character, the old ones with consistency, and the new ones, with a surprising new approach that revealed extended research into anxiety and the mental working of someone in the condition of such character, Sara, to the point that she became, VERY believable indeed.

In this whole book, with a good complex villain, a middle-ally, and a team of American military operatives, that was gripping and fascinating, there was only one thing that I, personally found a little cliché. The nuclear part. I mean, yes, indeed, this is high-government/military, secret ops kind of mission and there are many problems into it that do involve major government movements, yes. YET, it could have been worked around another issue that could potentially deserve this, and the fact that the US is put again as the victim on the whole situation, took some of the edge to the book. But this is simply my opinion, and many readers will like the book totally as it is, I’m sure.


I loved the way Humphrey Hawksley kept the plot unpredictable all the way, in both sides, in the “villain” and the “hero” side, and we may be seeing, may be seeing the start of another great part of this series, because there is still a lot to find out and much to develop in the book.

Michio is a great villain, that we as readers, even though reading the words, could not clearly create an idea about. He’s fascinating!
There are plenty of action scenes, lots of thriller, many missed bullets and tension all the way. Humphrey Hawksley did a great job with Ice Islands, and readers will be pleased with the return of the series, and even surprised by some of the new attitudes of our MC, Rake in the last chapters, which is always cool. Great book.

Pros:

  • Excellent research, simply excellent. You can clearly see the efforts put in this book about the it.
  • Gripping narrative from Humphrey Hawksley that kept us on the edge all the way.
  • Unpredictable plot in every instance. It’s impossible to predict this book, so don’t try.
  • Action scenes that were well tought out, and were worth the wait.
  • A perfect continuation of the series that opens doors for more books.
  • A very good character dynamics and a shift from the usual and expected romance between Rake and Carrie.

Cons:

  • The nuclear part. It was well handled, and it makes sense, yet, personally, it dulled my expectations. This is personal. You will like the book, lol. After this, there is nothing I can complain about.

Favourite Character: Michio

Lesson of the book: Presidents screw things up.

Cover Score: 9.0/10

Book Score: 8.6/10

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