I insist a lot of the time that I don’t read romance, but that’s not true. I can be tempted into romance books – I just frequently don’t find them the kind of thing I can identify with.
But damn, when romance is good, it is good. Frostbite is a novella (40,000 words total) but it doesn’t feel too fast or too slow – Morgan and Ezra’s relationship develops naturally and gorgeously.
Frostbite follows two unlikely protagonists – Morgan, a man who’s just told his family he doesn’t want to be a monster hunter, and Ezra, a sultry, spoiled and sequestered vampire who’s snuck out from my family compound for a night of fun only to be kidnapped by a rival clan. Ezra breaks away from his kidnappers and falls asleep in a cabin in the middle of the snowy woods; Morgan arrives a few hours later, trying to get away from his family. The rest follows pretty much the path you’d expect – but with a gentle touch that makes it comfortable rather than well-trodden.
First off. Ezra. EZRA. What an EXCELLENT character. He’s a little spoiled, definitely a sub, and emotional in a way that I don’t often see boys get to be even in m/m. He also has an impeccable sense of fashion and flirting abilities to make the gods blush. Morgan is a great character, but Ezra is the standout – from the first moment that he’s stumbling through the snow in heels and nightclub clothes to the final moment of the book where he’s being a cute whiny puppy about wanting sex.
Second of all, the dialogue is so natural that I read the entirety of this in one go without so much as a moment of pause. For me, what elevates a book from a collection of tropes to a fresh story is how the characters interact with each other and the world. Ezra and Morgan’s flirting feels straight out of a day at the queer center, and making it even sweeter is how there’s not even the slightest moment of time wasted on asserting their sexualities or the existence of homophobia. The closest is that the opening echoes homophobic violence in a few ways, but it’s just enough of an echo to make its impact without becoming a full-on trigger. (Also: this book has trigger warnings at the front and I’m SO THANKFUL. Sex scenes always throw me for a loop when I’m not expecting them.)