Ice Massacre, by Tiana Warner


A mermaid’s supernatural beauty serves one purpose: to lure a sailor to his death. The Massacre is supposed to bring peace to Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends its warriors to battle these hostile sea demons. Every year, the warriors fail to return. Desperate for survival, the island must decide on a new strategy. Now, the fate of Eriana Kwai lies in the hands of twenty battle-trained girls and their resistance to a mermaid’s allure. Eighteen-year-old Meela has already lost her brother to the Massacre, and she has lived with a secret that’s haunted her since childhood. For any hope of survival, she must overcome the demons of her past and become a ruthless mermaid killer. For the first time, Eriana Kwai’s Massacre warriors are female, and Meela must fight for her people’s freedom on the Pacific Ocean’s deadliest battleground.

I saw Ice Massacre on NetGalley, and since fairytales are my totes magotes after bad sci-fi, I decided to give it a go. While not really a fairytale retelling, it still has that fairytale feel to it – Brothers Grimm-style, not Disney.

The Good: It’s a fun story. The characters are completely believable. I love a flawed female protagonist. Usually, when a story has a female protagonist, they’re prim and proper and have no agency. I’ve also read many female protagonists that are so badass, that they could tear down a building with their bare hands. Meela is neither of those clichés. She has her foibles. She has her issues. She (gasp!) sees that the world is not black and white, but a myriad of grays.

The Bad: Although Meela is a wonderfully written character; she is still light on agency. Normally, this would be a real turn-off for me, but since we watch her for eight years, we get to understand her personality, and I get why the character is written that way. It just seems to work. Also, since this story targets the young adult audience, they can relate to the idea that they have no control over their life. I’m sure many teens feel lost in the ocean of their lives. The only other item of note is that there is a lot of violence. It’s to be expected with a title like Ice Massacre, and some blood on the cover. It’s not overly graphic or gruesome: less than I’d expect to see on some of the popular shows on cable TV.

The Ugly: Clichéd villain & antagonist. Adaro is so comically snidely whiplash, that his motives as a character are just sad. I’d bet more back-story on him other than the (presumably) set up for book two would’ve rounded out the character more. Dani was the other comically clichéd character. I got a glimpse into the character’s motivations, but she just seemed to be a much-flawed femme fatale. I hope to see her in the sequel because I suspect she would be excellent contrast to Meela.

The Final Word: I liked Ice Massacre a lot. I wasn’t sure at first, but it is a fun, fast read. Despite my complaints about Adaro and Dani, they’re still well written characters. Since I’m an author and a human behavior student, those glimpses into what creates a person and their motivations are all up in my wheelhouse. Most readers won’t have the same qualms, and will just appreciate the characters, villain and antagonists. Ice Massacre is an easy four stars, and after I post this review, I’m gonna see about getting an ARC of Ice Crypt.

Tiana Warner

My grandma tells me I sold her my first story, The Sachmoe, for $2. I’m not sure if this makes me a born entrepreneur or just plain saucy, but my point is that I’ve been a writer for longer than I can remember. I wrote poems and short stories throughout elementary school (most of them about ponies), and wrote my first full-length novel in high school. I now spend my evenings writing about killer mermaids. I went to the University of British Columbia to study psychology and came out of it with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. I’m now a technical content creator for a software company, which means when I’m not writing about kick-ass mermaids I’m writing about kick-ass technology. I currently live in Langley, BC, and am an avid supporter of animal welfare. I have a quarter horse named Bailey, a pony sidekick named Strawberry, and an extremely naughty cat named Paisley.


About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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