About the Book
- Ruby Dixon
Sub-Genres: Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Erotica
What’s Your Type: aliens, dual POV, language barriers, tails, baby fever, mysterious loner
Welcome back, lovers, to FYA’s Grown-Up Guide to Romance Novels. We are kicking off YEAR FOUR of our GuG2RN (a very unsexy acronym for a very sexy series) today, with a weekly post featuring a must-read romance series, plus a few bonus romance TV and movie reviews!
Today, I’m tackling the TikTok behemoth that is the Ice Planet Barbarians series. For the uninitiated, this little-known, self-published series went viral on BookTok last summer, nearly five years after it was written. It became so popular, that author Ruby Dixon was given a book deal to publish in print later that year, and even had CNN writing articles about it.
So what is it about this book series that took TikTok by storm? I decided it was time to find out.
Ice Planet Barbarians series by Ruby Dixon
An alien spaceship abducts a dozen or so twenty-something hotties, for purposes unknown* but probably nefarious. Aboard the ship, the girls band together to survive brutal treatment from their Bad Alien captors. But when the ship crash lands on an uninhabitable ice planet, the Bad Aliens leave the girls in the wreckage until they can return to collect the hostages.
Left alone, the humans send their leader into the icy wilderness, where she discovers a completely different alien species. The dudely inhabitants of Not-Hoth (the nickname the girls have given the ice planet) are built like seven foot tall sex toys and SUPER horny, since women are scarce ‘round these parts. So it’s basically a stroke of luck that all these babes just landed on their planet. These guys are willing and ready to worship them with their ridged penises and fill them with alien babies.
The only problem? In order to survive on an inhospitable planet, the women will have to accept a “khui” – which is sort of like a tapeworm that forms a symbiotic relationship with its host and allows them to survive on the ice planet. The Earth girls have a choice to make: they’ve got a little over a week before they die without a khui, and once they accept one, they’ll die without it and be forced to stay on the planet. Ruh roh!
*It is possible this was explained in one of the twenty books in this series I did not get to.
From Fancy Dress to Fabio:
The original covers feature scantily dressed women with their heads thrown back in ecstasy, rubbing up on blue six-pack abs. Of these, the covers that show the alien’s face do little to hide the fact that they are just….dudes. Some Photoshopped horns and blue-tinted skin are about as alien as the creative department got on these.
However, this series, originally self-published, became so popular on Tiktok that Dixon got a paperback deal with Berkley last year, and the covers are getting a makeover for print. I much prefer the new illustrated covers. What do you think?
Mrs. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose:
“I see the shaggy white furs hanging from his shoulders and I realize I saw them from hanging upside down. It wasn’t a monster come to eat me, it was THIS monster, who’s come to eat me out.”
Ice Planet Barbarians (Ice Planet Barbarians #1)
Content Warning: The first chapter of this book contains a brutal rape scene (before the girls crash land on the Ice Planet). There are also instances of abduction, murder, and dubious consent. Proceed with caution!
As mentioned above, after the Bad Aliens leave the girls on Not-Hoth, their unofficial leader Georgie is sent out into the cold to inspect the place. She quickly finds herself falling victim to predators and loses consciousness. When she awakes…well, the actual meet cute in this book is Georgie waking to a big blue alien’s head between her legs.
The Leading Woman:
Georgie was abducted from her apartment in Orlando, where she had a desk job, no boyfriend, and seemingly not much in the way of friends or family. But Georgie is extroverted, curious, and always cracking jokes, so she quickly becomes the group’s de facto leader. She seems hilariously unbothered by the fact that she’s been abducted by aliens and crash landed on an alien planet in another solar system. Maybe this is because she doesn’t have much back on Earth to return to, or maybe that’s just her way of dealing with trauma. Who’s to say!
Vektal is the village chief. He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy who happens to be out hunting when he spies Georgie. She makes his khui “resonate” – a.k.a. his tapeworm purrs – which essentially means they are soulmates because the khui recognizes Georgie as his best match for breeding and vibrates when she’s around. Dixon blesses us with a dual POV which is hilarious, because the aliens not only don’t speak English – they aren’t even human. It doesn’t make any sense!!!
Anyway, ON TO THE IMPORTANT PART. The thing that made these books an online sensation. Vektal’s physique. The ice planet barbarians are *ahem* bigger than your average man. Their bright blue skin is described as a soft suede-like texture. They have ridges all over their bodies…and I do mean ALL over. They have horns, and tails, and, most importantly, a knuckle-like bony protrusion just above their penises that we shall refer to as a clit-stimulation antler.
In other words, the men of Not-Hoth are 7-foot-tall dildos. They are ridged, vibrating, simping, Rabbit sex toys. And not only are they quite literally Ribbed For Her Pleasure™, they are so desperate for female mates that they are PRAYING to find a woman that they can worship and feed and take care of, till death do they part.
Risque Ranking: 6
How sexy you will find this book really depends on what gets you going. Personally, I’m a fan of build-up and tension. The longer the author teases, the swoonier the book. Unfortch for me, Dixon jumps right in to the sexy business with Vektal, ahhh, introducing himself to Georgie with oral sex while she’s unconscious. For this reason, I’m deducting a couple of points. However, if actual sex scenes are what you’re reading these books for, then they are a’plenty and they start early.
Because the khui is focused solely on breeding and there is an ice planet that needs repopulating, this is definitely a romance series that is all about the baby-making. Like, to the point that Dixon has written a series of short stories about the babies that come after the happily ever afters. Feast your eyes on THIS cover and title combo. Wowzers. Some people are into the old “epilogue baby” romance trope, but I’m not one of them. Another 2 point deduction!
Was It Good For You? Define Good.
Was it well-written? Not really. Character development? Nah. Was everything a bit too convenient? Extremely. Every hurdle that the characters face (language barriers, for instance) are quickly resolved with a wave of the author’s magic sci-fi wand, and for that reason, plot is thin. I desperately wish the rape scene in the first chapter had been omitted – it was completely unnecessary for a multitude of reasons.
Georgie and Vektal’s romance was not my favorite for all the reasons mentioned above. But because this first installment did all the scene-setting for me, I hoped the next books would have a bit more time for romantic build-up.
Barbarian Alien (Ice Planet Barbarians #2)
By the time Georgie and Vektal fetch the other males from his village and bring them back to rescue the girls on the ship, Liz is succumbing to khui sickness. She’s barely conscious when the rescuers arrive, but she knows she doesn’t want to accept the khui and be forced to remain on Not-Hoth. By now, the other aliens have learned English (sci-fi magic), but Raahosh, in true Mysterious Loner Alien fashion, just isn’t a big talker, so Liz assumes he didn’t learn English with the others. As soon as Liz accepts the khui despite her better judgement, Raahosh kidnaps her and takes her to an ice cave to nurse her back to health. But Liz refuses to go down without a fight.
The Leading Woman:
Liz is kind of a bitch, honestly. She has experience hunting, and she grew up a country girl, so she’s got a survivalist’s instinct. But she’s also got enough fortitude to at least attempt to refuse the cards that have been dealt to her, unlike Georgie who was fearless in a more curious way. Liz doesn’t want to accept a khui, she doesn’t want to have a mate forced on her, and she doesn’t want to return to the village to be someone’s pregnant and barefoot wife.
For the most part, I liked Liz, but she referred to the khui as her “cootie” throughout the entire book. Every. Single. Time. Her cootie vibrated. Her cootie purred. Her cootie did a lot of things that made my eye twitch every time she said it.
Raahosh is a classic MLD. He had a rough childhood, he’s covered in scars, he doesn’t talk much, and he bucks the rules set by his chief Vektal. He’s moody and broody, but duh! It’s only because he loves Liz so much and wants to protect her from the wild and crazy world of Not-Hoth.
Risque Ranking: 8
Unlike Vektal, Raahosh is pretty good about understanding consent for a species that doesn’t have a word for consent. At least, he’s good at asking for consent before initiating sexy business, all kidnappings aside. The enemistry, at least from Liz’s side, adds some tension to the romance, which made it sexier than the first book, IMO.
As before, there’s no lack of sex scenes. But be warned: Liz uses the ever-so-sexy “juices” and “baby batter” more than once. *eye twitch*
Was It Good For You? Or Was I Just Getting Used To It?
At this point, I was getting into the IPB flow. I had gotten used to the writing style and was no longer lol-ing at the ridiculousness of it all, so I could enjoy the story a bit more. Liz and Raahosh’s romance had more tension which amped up the sexiness, and most importantly: this book had an actual plot with a climax (ha…in more ways than one).
With Liz, it seemed like Dixon was making an attempt at giving the girls a little bit of autonomy, which is nice in theory, but the entire premise of the series negates it, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .
Barbarian Lover (Ice Planet Barbarians #3)
Content warning: This book discusses infertility, and mentions instances of rape and forced abortion. Proceed with caution!
By now, the human girls have made a home inside the caves of Not-Hoth with the members of Vektal’s village, and some have even found love. In Barbarian Alien, Liz plays a prank on nice-guy Aehako by telling him that it’s a human courting tradition to gift the girl he likes with a model of his penis made from bone or leather or wood. Basically a homemade penis so they can try before they buy. Aehako has a mad crush on quiet, withdrawn Kira, so he presents her with his courting gift.
The Leading Woman:
Kira was the first woman abducted by the bad aliens, so they surgically affixed a translator ear piece to the side of her head. But Kira was already quiet and withdrawn, and having constant chatter inside her head only makes her more so. Kira comes with a bit of emotional baggage: she’s a virgin who considers herself boring and plain, and she’s never dated because of this.
What’s worse, Kira suffered from a burst appendix as a pre-teen, which left her sterile. When she doesn’t resonate with one of the male aliens right away, she assumes it’s because her khui knows she’s unable to make alien babies. No babies means no mate. Overall, Kira is sort of sad and afraid, which – tbqh – is the natural reaction to being taken from everything you’ve ever known and dumped on an alien planet for the rest of your life.
The Leading Alien:
Aehako is a classic nice guy – an alien himbo, if you will. He’s flirtatious and laid back, and his directness had me laughing out loud more than once. He’s a perfect match for Kira because he’s gentle, patient, and kind but still encouraging. More importantly, he doesn’t care that they aren’t official khui mates. He just wants to be the big alien guy who makes Kira smile.
Risque Ranking: 7
I thought the romance here was a little sweeter. Kira is afraid to have casual sex – or sex at all, really – so Aehako has to tease things out of her. I mean, ultimately these books are really just the vehicle for as many sex scenes as possible, but I liked the dynamic between these two quite a bit.
Was It Good For You? A Marked Improvement.
Sure! Aehako was definitely my favorite of the alien males. I was disappointed in the way Kira’s infertility was handled, but overall this one had much more plot and character development than the other books. It actually felt like I was witnessing Dixon learn how to become a better writer in real time, because each book seemed to be a little better than the one before.
Overall, these books are absolutely ridiculous, but they are quick and easy reads – many of them under 200 pages long. I had no problem listening to the audiobooks in a day. And they are unintentionally laugh-out-loud funny, which made them entertaining – even when I was rolling my eyes. Dixon isn’t stingy with sex scenes, and her romantic heroes are like something out of a horny fever dream. While I chose to stop at three books for the purpose of this review, I can completely understand how someone could mindlessly binge all 20 books over the course of a month.
Have you read Ice Planet Barbarians? If so, LET’S DISCUSS. Meet me in the comments.
FTC Full Disclosure: I did not receive money or Girl Scout cookies of any kind (not even the gross cranberry ones) for writing this review. Ice Planet Barbarians is available now.