I received this book via Edelweiss. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes,
Published by Balzer + Bray on 2015-10-13
Length: 479 pages
Reviewing eARC from Edelweiss
It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.
Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?
Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?
As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.
Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch is the follow-up to the epic fantasy Snow Like Ashes. ***Please Note that if you haven’t read the previous book in this series, there are minor spoilers in this review** Meira has done it, she freed her people, the Winterians. She’s accepted her role as their queen, but somethings will never be the same. Prince Theron is leading the Cordellans in Winter, “aiding” them as they rebuild their country and search for the magic chasm in their reopened mines. But his search for peace and unity will come at a price he never anticipated.
I’m going to be quite frank in this review….Ice Like Fire suffers second-book syndrome. At times it is boring, drawn-out, and repetitive. I HATE that I feel this way because I absolutely loved Snow Like Ashes. In fact it’s my favorite book that I’ve read this year. So why did Ice Like Fire fall so short of the mark? Let’s break it down.
First Meira…she was a strong, stubborn character in the first book. Her courage and tenacity is why I loved her! She loses this during Ice Like Fire. She’s timid, scared of her conduit-magic, and afraid to make any mistake as the queen of Winter. Yes she was held and tortured by Angra so she gets to be angsty in this book. I get it….BUT it is SO drawn out! Meira makes all the wrong decisions in this book and you would think from making those mistakes in the previous book (or witnessing Mather make those mistakes) she wouldn’t make them again. But alas she does.
Prince Theron…why Raasch why?!?! I fell in love with Prince Theron in the first book. I rooted for him from the beginning and thought he would be a better fit for our Meira. BUT his character is completely destroyed during this book. And not just a little bit either! Theron is secretive, fear-driven, and so unlike his character from the first book that you have to wonder what is wrong with him. Unfortunately (another downside to Meira’s character) it takes Meira the entire book to figure this out!
Mather…now his character was an upside for me. I’ve seen several reviews that didn’t care for his POV chapters but I really liked it. I’ll be honest that I didn’t care much for Mather in the first book. I felt he took for granted his relationship with Meira and when he realized his feelings for her it was too late, she was already with Theron. In this book however, the “Once-King” has some radically character growth. His focus has always been Winter. He was raised to believe it was his responsibility so naturally when Meira is revealed as the queen it changes his entire world-view. Except it doesn’t. This is why I like Mather. His role may have changed but his drive hasn’t. He still loves Winter as a king would and he will do whatever it takes to keep it safe, including admitting his feelings and repairing his relationship with Meira. I’ll be honest I may have jumped ships 😉
The plot of this book – I felt – was nonexistent or maybe it was just all over the place…I’m not sure. Here’s the premise: After finding the magic chasm (not a spoiler this occurs in the first few chapters), Meira sets off with Theron searching for the keys that will open it. There is one key per country in the countries of Summer, Yakim, and Ventralli. Using the excuse of introducing the Winter queen to other royalty, they travel. I’ll be honest I did like this, getting to see the other kingdoms. Now the little plot twist here is that Meira doesn’t agree with Theron. She doesn’t want the chasm opened and Theron does. This causes quite a bit of frustration on both their parts. Fear drives their actions and creates a lot of angst between the characters. My thoughts…talk!!! Conversation is essential and for these two it just doesn’t happen. Each has their own agenda and they wind up butting heads.
Overall, I just wasn’t impressed with this book. It felt like a bridge, spanning the gap between the beginning and the ending of the series. I will say that the end of the book held a lot of surprises that I wasn’t really expecting. SO this bumped my rating up a star AND kept me invested in the series as a whole. If you enjoyed Snow Like Ashes, then by all means don’t skip this book. It’s good and has a ton of info that I feel will be important come the last book in the series. But be prepared. It isn’t the thrill ride its predecessor was. Really it just falls flat 🙁