by Adriana Anders
Series: Survival Instincts #1
Also in this series: Uncharted
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Angel Smith is ready to leave Antarctica for a second chance at life. But on what was meant to be her final day, the research station is attacked. Hunted and scared, she and glaciologist Ford Cooper barely make it out with their lives…only to realize that in a place this remote, there's nowhere left to run.
Isolated in the middle of a long, frozen winter with a madman at their heels, they must fight to survive in the most inhospitable—and beautiful—place on earth. But the outside world depends on what Ford and Angel know and, as their pursuers close in and their new partnership burns bright and hot, they will stop at nothing to make it out of the cold alive.
Romantic suspense can be something of a mixed bag for me. Some of the tropes seem very silly to me (“We’re in immediate peril! Let’s stop to make out!”) but every once in a while I’ll find some that are, well, absolutely amazing, and Whiteout definitely deserves that praise.
“Cooking’s like making music.” She threw him a smile. “It’s the perfect storm of smell and touch and taste and even sound, you know? That sizzle in the pan, the pop of spices. The moment you turn the heat off and there, right there, the ingredients let off a warm, enveloping steam.”
One of my absolute favorite things is the grumpy/sunny opposites attract trope, and in this case the hero is literally an Ice Man with a sunshiney cook heroine. At the start of the book, Angel is convinced that Coop hates her due to his gruff treatment of her, while Coop acts that way because he’s overwhelmed by Angel’s excessively everythingness, to paraphrase the book. Both are trying to deal with an unwanted attraction to the other, and it looks like nothing will come with it on the day Angel is due to leave the Antarctic research station with the rest of the summer hires. But a last-minute trip to the storage room leads to her witnessing a murder, and soon she and Coop are the only people at the abandoned base. Forced to trek across the unforgiving Antarctic landscape, they must face not only pursuit from the murderers but the dangers of the Antarctic winter as well.
“And suddenly, he understood why he couldn’t have her back then, or now. Or ever.
He was a starving man and she was an oasis, a hallucination, a single sparkling drop of water in his desiccated world. And the problem with giving in, drinking that water, getting just one little taste, was that he’d know exactly what he’d been missing. And he’d never, ever be able to go back.”
A reoccurring theme throughout the book is control. Coop is an absolute control freak, happiest out on the ice where he can avoid any of those pesky emotions. Part of it is that Coop has a sensory processing disorder and hyperfocuses on things, part of it stems from some childhood trauma. Angel, on the other hand, jokes that she never had any control to begin with, and that she jumps into things headfirst without thinking. Those rash decisions – and their consequences – ended up with her taking the post as cook at the research station as a way to escape her past and rebuild herself. Even the main villain is searching to regain control after a devastating loss. Beyond the characters, though, there’s also the very “high school English class”-esque man versus nature going on. One of my favorite touches was the chapter headings listing how many miles remained to their destination and the amount of food left. It’s such a minor thing, but it highlighted exactly how little control Angel and Coop had over their journey.
Despite the fact that most of the book takes place in an environment where taking your clothes off for a little making out would kill you, the sexual tension is ridiculous. From being forced to link their sleeping bags together to share body heat, to each character’s insistence on not leaving the other behind, it paired perfectly with the thriller plot’s tension. And this book was so suspenseful that I had to put the book down because I was too worried about the characters! One of my main gripes with suspense/thrillers is the villain’s POV: I’m usually completely uninterested by them and find that they take away from the building suspense rather than add to it. In this case, however, I honestly enjoyed them, especially the female villain’s, and thought it added to the suspense.
Overall this was an extremely enjoyable read, and I’ve already grabbed the anthology with the series prequel. I will definitely be looking for the next book in the series! 4.5 stars!