Book Review: Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon

Why a book review of IPB by Ruby Dixon? I’ll admit it’s not my go-to genre. Last September, BookTok (the book community of TikTok) was all about Smuttember. Few things make sense on BookTok, but if someone’s shaming girls for reading smutty books, be sure I’ll be reading lots of smut. Anyway, Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon is an erotica series set in a sci-fi setting. I’ve read five books in this series, and I’ll be reviewing them all in this post.

(The following reviews may contain spoilers.)

Book review IPC by Ruby Dixon

Ice Planet Barbarians official cover art
Ice Planet Barbarians official cover art

My rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Summary: Georgie wakes up getting abducted by little green men. The spaceship crashes, and Georgie and the remaining survivors must fend for themselves. Georgie soon meets Vektal, an alien of the frozen planet she landed on. Is this salvation for her and her friends, or will Vektal’s tribe try to sell her off too?

Genre: Sci-fi, Romance

Audience: Adult

Themes/potential trigger warnings: dubious consent, gore

Pleasantly Surprised!

I expected this book to be a What-in-the-Wattpad read for me. I surely didn’t expect a well-written, well-edited novel. The main character, Georgie, is full of humor, and I thought the plot came with a decent structure. This book is fairly short, but it was a fun read.

I’m not big on the mate trope, but what’s great here is that the characters actually talk about consent.

Book Review: Barbarian Alien by Ruby Dixon

Book review IPB by Ruby Dixon

Barbarian Alien official cover art
Barbarian Alien official cover art

My rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Summary: The girls rescued by Vektal’s tribe need to get their “cootie” to survive on the frozen planet. When Liz refuses to get the symbiont, Raahosh forces her to, and abducts her. The two must learn to live with each other, but Liz refuses to be Raahosh’s mate.

Genre: Sci-fi, Romance

Audience: Adult

Themes/potential trigger warnings: dubious consent, captivity

Probably the best of all IPB books.

Liz keeps ranting in slang and Raahosh felt more three-dimensional than Vektal from the first book. I’m again surprised that this book’s got some good plot going on and a layer of trauma that has the characters’ personalities grow realistically.

While I think the book could’ve used an extra round of proofreading, it was overall good. Again, I appreciated the focus the author put on the consent related to the whole mating-for-survival thing, and the way Liz and Raahosh ended up was very in-character. It also added more depth to Vektal’s character as a tribe chief.

Book Review: Barbarian Lover by Ruby Dixon

Book review IPB by Ruby Dixon

Barbarian Lover official cover art
Barbarian Lover official cover art

My rating: ★★★ (3/5)

Summary: Kira is one of the few remaining humans who didn’t resonate with anyone. The truth is, she may not procreate, which goes against what the symbiont and survival command. But she likes Aehako and his flirtatious nature. However, while she dwells on it, the Little Green Men are back, and Kira still has the translating device in her ear. She must get rid of it before they find Vektal’s tribe.

Genre: Sci-fi, Romance

Audience: Adult

Themes/potential trigger warnings: ableist reproduction. Too much of it.

Strong main character, horrible plot devices

This book wasn’t as entertaining as the previous ones. It’s weird, because at first, I enjoyed finding more plot than the whole aliens-get-with-humans thing, and Kira differed from Georgie and Liz. She felt more relatable, what with her feeling of inadequateness and worries of not fitting into a primal world where survival and procreation are basically what drives the tribe. I also liked the idea of perhaps having her free will bypass the whole khui/mate business.

But my God, did the author overuse the word mate in this book and solved Kira’s being sterile with the little parasite that lives inside her with little to no explanation. Apparently, this translucent worm not only finds you a male who can “make your belly swell” but also heal many things, even if what damaged the body happened decades ago. It makes me wonder how the half the tribe died to “khui sickness” if this symbiont is this strong.

I liked the way Kira handled stuff versus the Little Green Men who tried to come back for their “cargo.” Honestly, this book had great potential, but Aehako made me cringe a lot with his Hallmark lines. Plus, the rushed HEA with the random “resonance” kind of nullified what was supposed to be at stake at the beginning.

Book Review: Barbarian Mine by Ruby Dixon

Book review IPB by Ruby Dixon

Barbarian Mine official cover art
Barbarian Mine official cover art

My rating: ★★ (2/5)

Summary: Harlow was trying to help Kira, Aehako and Haeden when someone harmed her and stole her. She wakes up in Rukh’s cave. He’s another blue alien, but he doesn’t speak Vektal’s tribe’s language. He doesn’t even wear clothes. But they resonate, and Harlow may not see the others ever again.

Genre: Sci-fi, Romance

Audience: Adult

Themes/potential trigger warnings: Stockholm Syndrome, lots of it.

Romanticized Stockholm’s Syndrome?

This book features Harlow, one human who disappeared in the previous book while she was collecting stuff to help two injured aliens and her friend Kira. It turns out she got abducted by Rukh, an alien who doesn’t live with any tribe. A real Tarzan who doesn’t speak his own language.

So, Harlow gets kidnapped because Tarzukh got scared for a moment, and because their little worms were vibrating in their chests, which means Rukh and Harlow must now help with repopulating the planet. I can get past the romanticized Stockholm Syndrome after reading about Liz and Raahosh, but something about Harlow makes me wonder if she realizes what’s going on.

Pregnancy/Codependency

I’d say half the book was promising and sort of fun until the author didn’t know what to do anymore with her plot and fast-forwarded to the following year. She takes us through a boring and painful pregnancy, with Harlow, who keeps on crying about leaving her cave by the ocean, even when Liz tells her nobody died after Rukh abducted her. Everyone’s just trying to get Harlow to see a healer. Yes, because she’s having a bad time with this inter-species pregnancy, but later on, it doesn’t even matter. All that matters is that she has Rukh, the ocean, and this baby, even when her health is in danger.

I also felt like the birth scene was a big cop out as it was written from Rukh’s POV and not Harlow’s. It was all too pretty for some inter-species thing, and birth is already ugly among humans.

Whatever happened to the other characters?

The scenes back at the main caves are a drag, and we only see all the pregnant humans. What truly felt stupid was to see Georgie reduced to a stereotypical hormonal mess. She went from this badass and adventurous leader to a cave girl, who cries over sleeves she can’t sew and lets “her mate” tell her she can’t be present during some important tribe chief conversation.

I guess the highlight of this book was to see Rukh reunite with the family he didn’t know he had. The rest? Really not for me. Especially when you find lines like, “the leakage in my breasts.”

Book Review: Barbarian’s Mate by Ruby Dixon

Book review IPB by Ruby Dixon

Barbarian's Mate official cover art
Barbarian’s Mate official cover art

My rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Summary: Josie’s one of the last humans without a mate, which means there aren’t many aliens left either. One of those is Haeden, the crankiest of them all. The one she truly doesn’t like. Lucky as she is, Josie resonates for him, but she doesn’t want to obey the khui. Josie leaves the tribe, or tries to, but Haeden doesn’t intend on letting her leave him.

Genre: Sci-fi, Romance

Audience: Adult

Themes/potential trigger warnings: captivity, captivity, cap-fucking-tivity.

Recycled Raahosh and Liz

Josie’s personality reminded me a bit of Liz, minus the whole mixed-signals trope. I liked the fact Josie was taking matters into her own hands and, despite putting herself in danger, she could take care of herself. I appreciated Haeden’s stance on it and him giving her space; he reminded me of Raahosh, minus the pushy attitude.

How something good becomes boring…

Overall an okay read, but what I didn’t like was when, near the end, we find out that another alien kidnapped a human because of resonance. This series is a huge recycled plot, and every couple ends up the same way, with the same lines and the same type of pregnancy-HEA. Perhaps that’s the whole point, but I would have enjoyed a little more nuance. Especially when there are over twenty books. I am not continuing.