Review: August Ice by Dev Bentham

Publisher: Loose ID
Where did you get the book: e-ARC from author
Release date: Out now

It takes a special kind of person to work in Antarctica. Max Conway, an ex-Navy Seal, loves working at the bottom of the world. Like any other diver, he’s tough and hard drinking. Half the year he’s stuck in the States traveling the commercial dive circuit and hitting gay bars every night. The other six months he’s lead safety diver at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, reveling in the cold blue Antarctic Sea. The only drawback to life way down under is that Max feels like he has to tuck his libido into storage while he’s on station, stashing all those free condoms for use back up north.

That is until Andre Dubois, a gorgeous French scientist, shakes up his world. Not only is Andre out and proud, he’s sober as the day is long. And the days are long during an Antarctic summer. Max must choose between his comfortable inebriated closet and a life in the sun with Andre.

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

August Ice makes for a great change in setting from what I’ve been reading lately. Max Conway is a former Navy SEAL, and is working as a diver in the Antarctic. Max is an alcoholic, and his drinking is getting out of control. Before he leaves for his 6 month trip to Antarctica, he gets drunk one night and wakes up not remembering anything. Max wakes up beside a stranger, Andre Dubois. Max can’t remember anything from the night before, and the two part ways in the morning, with Andre realising Max is a drunk. Andre dismisses Max’s ‘offer’ and Max leaves with the familiar feel of shame.

Max is ready for the plane trip to take him to his job when he sees, ‘The Guy’, Andre. Andre looks on at Max with distaste, and a mutual antagonism flares between them. Andre turns out to be a scientist that is traveling to the Antarctic for work, and Max knows that things have got to stay professional between them. The rest of the divers are homophobic, and Max has kept the fact he’s gay quiet. With the attraction he feels for Andre not dissipating, and his drinking getting out of control, the summer for Max is going to be hell on wheels for him.

I’ve a big fan of Dev’s writing, and though I didn’t like her last release, I liked August Ice a lot more. Max is a dark character, and this book is quite dark in tone which fits in with the icy setting. Max is an alcoholic in denial, and he doesn’t realise the danger he’s putting others and himself in with his drinking. He keeps telling himself that he likes the odd drink. His best friend, Annie, knows he’s a drunk, and the two of them had a toxic relationship. She puts up a front pretending to be his ‘girlfriend’ whilst Max keeps others away from her. Also, Annie would supply Max with bottles of alcohol, and in return, Max would supply her with LCD. On the days that Annie would go on an acid trip, Max would watch over her to make sure she was safe. I was horrified by their relationship and what they would do for each other.

The romance is not the strongest in August Ice. Andre is not as in-depth as Max is, and we don’t learn a lot about him or his personality. Andre is an ex-heroin user, and notices that Max is in deep trouble. At first I could understand why Andre was judging him. When the two of them became closer, I didn’t quite believe in the attraction between them. That was partly because of Max’s alcoholism because it took over the entire book. It was the third person in the relationship, and I was waiting on tenterhooks wondering when would it all come crashing down on Max.

It did all come crashing down, but how it did annoyed me. Max’s drinking becomes out of control. During one of Annie’s acid trips, Max drinks and falls asleep. Annie is found out of her head by the other teammates, and Annie afterwards blames and puts all the responsibility of her acid trip going wrong on Max. I was like, woah, wait a minute. You took drugs on your own responsibility, and you trusted a known alcoholic to keep you safe? I thought there was a terrible lack of responsibility with Annie, and she should have been fired. I didn’t understand why Andre helped with the disposition of the LCD’s. Annie deserved to lose her job, but Max ended up being the one taking the brunt.

This is the biggest downfall of Max, and it’s there that Andre helps him become sober. This isn’t shown, but we start off on the next chapter with Max a different man and ready to become a diver again. He’s now open with his relationship with Andre, and I wanted to more of Max being sober. August Ice makes for a different read, and I did enjoy it a lot more than Learning from Isaac. It doesn’t have a strong and emotive romance, but Max is a dark and flawed character that made August Ice a very interesting read. I give it a C+

Kindle eBook

3 thoughts on “Review: August Ice by Dev Bentham”

  1. I had much the same reaction. I felt the sad depressing part was so well done, it was a little hard to buy the happy ending. Loved the antarctic setting though 🙂

  2. Yeah, the ending was very rushed and I would have liked to have seen the relationship deepen. The Antarctica setting was very cool. Heh, get it? Cool? 😀

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