3.75 stars--CURSED BY ICE is the second installment in Jacquelyn Frank’s adult Immortal Brothers fantasy series focusing on four brothers cursed, by the gods and goddesses, in their search for immortality. This is Garreth and Sarielle’s storyline. Although CURSED BY ICE is the second in the series, it can be read as a stand alone but I suggest reading the series in order as background information and world building continues to develop throughout each successive storyline.
Two hundred years earlier, four brothers went in search of the waters of Immortality and upon the discovery drank from the forbidden streams. The gods and goddesses were angered and cursed each brother to suffer eternal damnation and pain. Garreth’s punishment was to suffer the endless cycle of freezing and defrosting, and the accompanying pain that follows. When Garreth’s brother Dethan found love and was forgiven, Garreth was released from bondage to take over the command of the army of the gods. Although free during the daylight hours, Garreth would return to the same suffering each sundown only to be granted the same freedom several hours later.
Weysa, the goddess of conflict, continues to demand obedience from Dethan and Garreth, and as such the brothers are commanded to continue their battle against an enemy of the gods. Conquering the city of Kith, the brothers discover a town dependent upon slavery and a woman who controls a dangerous beast. Enter Sarielle, a young woman who is soul-bonded to a wyvern and the woman who will melt Garreth’s frozen heart.
The slow building storyline is similar in context to Jacquelyn’s CURSED BY FIRE. Weysa, the goddess of conflict, has commanded Garreth to enter into battle and secure the outlying cities, towns and villages in her name. As it pertains to Garreth's never ending curse, it was not as large of a plot point as was Dethan's fiery burn in CURSED BY FIRE. Garreth's nightly pain and suffering was almost an afterthought in the storyline. Sarielle, a former slave, will become Garreth’s captive; her soul-bond with the wyvern reveals an intimate connection at a physical and visceral level. Garreth is ever the protector; his attraction and need for Sarielle continues to build throughout the story. He is a cursed man, who has fallen in love, but knows that he will not claim Sarielle when he is tied to the gods for all time. The $ex scenes are intimate and revealing.
The secondary characters include Davine, a young house maiden who will both befriend and betray Garreth and Sarielle. Dethan, Garreth’s eldest brother, returns as Garreth’s companion in battle but also becomes Garreth’s greatest threat to his relationship with Sarielle. I had a difficult time liking Dethan in his own storyline CURSED BY FIRE because of his attitude and cold demeanor, and with Garreth’s tale my animosity towards Dethan increases with his ill-conceived notions about Sarielle and his brother. Dethan is a threat to his brother’s happiness and is determined to destroy Garreth’s relationship with Sarielle, hurting his own brother in the process.
Jacquelyn Frank’s mythological world building continues as the all powerful and all knowing gods and goddesses battle for the rights to control the humans, and in doing so, punish those responsible for defying the gods. As Garreth honors his debt to the goddess of conflict, yet another brother, will be freed from perpetual bondage only to return each evening to suffer the same fate as his brothers’ before. CURSED BY ICE introduces a series of mythological creatures including mages, wyverns, were-dragons and the Fae.
CURSED BY ICE is an interesting and detailed storyline of fantasy and myth, the supernatural, and a happily ever after-for now. As each brother is granted a temporary freedom to serve and protect, he will come face to face with his future in yet another battle to prove allegiance to the gods.