Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch
Balzer + Bray, 2015
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]
Previous Installment: Snow Like Ashes
NOTE: Summary contains spoilers for the first book in this series.
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.
I really enjoyed reading Snow Like Ashes, so when Ice Like Fire was made available on Edelweiss I jumped at the chance to read it. I enjoyed Meira’s spark in the first book, and loved the growing romance between her and Theron, and – even though the summary of this one promised some drama – I was looking forward to immersing myself once again in this fantastical world. Unfortunately, Ice Like Fire didn’t live up to my expectations, and I actually found several things that I avidly disliked this go ’round. Meira wasn’t the same girl, Mather drove me nuts, and I wanted to strangle Theron. There were actually parts that made me eye roll extremely hard, and I found the whole book to be rather depressing. It didn’t help that I saw some of the twists coming a lot sooner than the characters, either. All in all, this book – to me – wasn’t nearly as good as the first one, although I will admit that it did keep me intrigued enough to make sure I’ll read the final book.
One thing I will say that I enjoyed was a look at the other countries of Primoria. Meira (and Theron) are sent to visit the neighboring lands – Summer, Autumn, Yakim and Ventralli – and I very much enjoyed getting a look at these other territories. Each of them is unique and interesting, and I liked discovering them through Meira’s eyes. It helped that Meira was on a quest to discover some hidden secrets about the chasm of magic, which created a bit of an adventure feel as well. I also very much loved Summer’s princess, who becomes a sort of friend to Meira. Of course, no quest is complete without some danger added in, and I liked that things became darker as the book went on and the true threat was revealed (even if I did see part of it coming).
Ice Like Fire is told in alternating viewpoints, so some chapters are from Meira’s point of view, and others are from Mather’s. I have to say that I didn’t like Mather’s chapters nearly as well as Meira’s. He’s very “poor me” at times, which was annoying to read, and I hated his whole opinion on how he should now act around Meira now that she was queen. He didn’t want to be king himself, but now that he isn’t he’s sort of aimless and wandering and very much blaming Meira for the state of their relationship when he really needed to look in the mirror a bit. While it never got to the point where I skimmed his chapters, it was definitely a close thing.
For me personally, Ice Like Fire was good, but not nearly as good as Snow Like Ashes. I really felt like the characters changed too much from the first book, and while I get that all three underwent some significant events to warrant some change, I felt like all three changed for the worse. Getting to see some of the other lands in Primoria was really interesting, and I did like the way the book ended in terms of the increase in action, but overall this book was just average. Of course, your mileage may vary – and I’ve seen others who say the complete opposite of what I’ve said here, so take this with a grain of salt – so, if you liked Snow Like Ashes, you’ll definitely want to check this one out!
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.