Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch
In the follow-up to Snow Like Ashes, Meira is now Queen of Winter and back in her own kingdom, ready to rebuild. But with danger lurking in the mind games of politics and magic, will she survive long enough to see her country and its people thrive?
Publisher’s Description: 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 on using 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 Jannuari—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 is woven 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.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Luna Lovebooks says…
Likes: While most people were upset about the break with Theron, I actually enjoyed it. Mather was who Meria clearly loved all along, and the triangle wasn’t needed. But, like life, sometimes you have to be with someone else to truly know that the one is the one. I loved that we got introduced to more of this amazing world! Summer and the introduction of Ceridwen and the kingdom of Yakim and Ventralli added more depth. My favorite chapters were Mather’s. His struggle to deal with the fact that he isn’t who he thought he was and how he found how to be himself, albeit in a different capacity than before, is inspiring. The last few chapters were the most action packed and gave me the wow moments I was looking for.
Dislikes: To be honest, I missed strong Meria. For most of this book, she fights her natural instincts and whines about being Queen. I applaud her loyalty to Winter, but I kept hoping she would find a way to be both Queen and the Meria I loved from the first book, but that comes too late! This book is missing much of the action that made the first so great.
If you can make it through the dull parts of the book to the Bang! Pow! Boom! ending you won’t be disappointed. I give this book 4 chakram.
Kat Mandu says…
*Spoiler alert for the first book ahead; if you haven’t read Snow Like Ashes, you might want to.*
Dual narrated, Ice Like Fire is again action-packed as it follows the minds and stories of both Meira, who has discovered she is Hannah’s true daughter, and Mather, who is trying to find his place in the world now that he’s no longer a king.
Again, this story has many layers, especially once it separates and both characters are not only leading very different lives but are in completely different settings altogether.
Meira is dealing with her role as her country’s leader, her touch-and-go magic which seems to control her, instead of the other way around; not to mention she also has to figure out a chessboard of political and diplomatic strategies. She’s got to get out of debt with Cordell – but her every move seems to dig her in a deeper hole.
Now she’s on a cross-country trip, trying to find allies and learn everything she can about her magic and where it came from. Theron, her once betrothed, is sadly against her beliefs that magic should be returned to the chasm from which it came; instead, he thinks that it should be available for the world to use. Things aren’t going as well as planned and things take a turn for the worst, especially when she finds herself running from bad guys from places she didn’t expect.
Mather, still reeling from the events of the prior book, is back in Winter, discovering that he’s not quite sure who he is without the role of king hovering over him. He feels guilty for thrusting the position upon Meira, and useless without any way to help her. So he wrangles up a few kids his age who don’t exactly know what their roles are in the world either (as they are too young to remember a Winter in its former glory, but too old in spirit due to their time as prisoners), dubs them “the children of the Thaw” and sets out to help Meira in his own way, by protecting his people against the growing threat of Cordell.
Nothing goes according to plan and both characters have to discover who they really are. Which is why I disagree with my review partner, Luna, on this particular argument. I think Meira’s fight against her true natures was absolutely necessary to the plot. At the end of Snow Like Ashes, she had become a different person. In this second book, she learns that she’s never going to stop learning and has to decide who she’ll be – the person she was before, or the person she needs to be. When Meira realizes she can be both, it’s a beautiful thing.
Again, this is a great story with real, multi-faceted characters I enjoy. I give it a four!
Our reviews in this series…
Links will become active as reviews are published.