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Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch

As the final battle of the world of Primoria versus Angra and his Decay comes to a close, can Meira risk her heart and her life to save everything and everyone she cares for?

TitleFrost Like Night
Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes, Book 3
Publish Date: September 20, 2016
Genre: YA High fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Angra is alive, his Decay is spreading—and no one is safe.

Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the leader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, she jumps at the chance. But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to control—and make the biggest sacrifice of all.

Mather will do anything to save his queen. He needs to rally the Children of the Thaw, find Meira—and finally tell her how he really feels. But with a plan of attack that leaves no kingdom unscathed and a major betrayal within their ranks, winning the war—and protecting Meira—slips farther and farther out of reach.

Ceridwen will do anything to save her people. Angra had her brother killed, stole her kingdom, and made her a prisoner. But when she’s freed by an unexpected ally who reveals a shocking truth behind Summer’s slave trade, Ceridwen must take action to save her true love and her kingdom, even if it costs her what little she has left.

As Angra unleashes the Decay on the world, Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen must bring the kingdoms of Primoria together…or lose everything.

 


Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: The world building is still amazing! The magical system is still intriguing as well. The characters are the strong suit in this novel. I love that Meria is more confident and has found a balance between being queen and being herself. I love that she has found peace with herself and her magic. The romance between Meria and Mather is perfect! I also loved that we got Ceridwen’s POV in this novel.

Dislikes: I had a hard time making it through this book. The excitement that was present in the first two slowly waned for me. It did pick up, but I slowly lost interest. This is one of those novels that makes you fall for characters and then the author rips them away! SO. MUCH. DEATH. The ending wasn’t particularly satisfying, it wasn’t horrible but it just wasn’t satisfying for me.

Because I lost interest, I have to give this book three swords. I was able to finish, and it did pick up towards the end but it just wasn’t a satisfying read for me.

Kat Mandu says…

Frost Like Night draws out all the main good guys versus the bad guys for one final epic showdown. In this book, Meira, Mather, and Cerridwen all narrate the story, bringing all new ideas to the book while giving you new perspectives into different worlds. Meira must come to grips with the sacrifice she must make to save her world and everyone she loves within it. Mather must lead his friends into a battle and learn to protect, love, and let go of the queen he adores. And Cerridwen, the feisty princess of Summer, must garner her military forces together while fighting a battle within her heart.

Sadly, with the exception of the very beginning and close to the end, this last book is lacking a lot of action. It’s a fact I rather miss to be honest. I’m not saying that the character embracing her destiny isn’t necessary. I’m just used to the final book in a trilogy to be packed full of action and battle. Maybe it’s weird to say, but every other high fantasy I’ve read has, so I wasn’t expecting the slow down. In fact, it took me so much by surprise that it dragged it down for me and I had a hard time staying interested during certain parts.

Don’t get me wrong. The things that happened were critical to the plot line: Meira semi-learning how to control her magic, learning to let herself love Mather; even the wedding between Cerridwen and Jesse was great. But the sudden slowing of pace really threw me for a loop because I was craving that action that the first book carried so much of, that I found myself unable to really get into what was happening. 

But boy, when the action does come back around, it’s wonderful. However, because it’s the ending of a trilogy, no more spoilers here. Either way, this was a good end to a great series and I give its final installment a three.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

If you like young adult high fantasy series featuring fierce heroines…you might try Susan Dennard, Sara B Larson, Rosamund Hodge, or Jodi Meadows.

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?

TitleIce Like Fire
AuthorSara Raasch
SeriesSnow Like Ashes, Book 02
Publish Date: October 15, 2015
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionIt’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.

Other recommendations…

You might like Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins, Ruined by Amy Tintera, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.

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Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

In a high fantasy world based on the Seasons, Meira, a young refugee from the Winter kingdom, is thirsty to prove just how worthy she is. But taking on the big bad guys means she’ll have to step up her game – but as she ventures through a series of political mind games, can her heart handle all the secrets she learns along the way?

TitleSnow Like Ashes
AuthorSara Raasch
SeriesSnow Like Ashes, Book 01
Publish Date: October 14, 2014 by Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionSixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. The Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been searching for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild their kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of half of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics, and to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna Lovebooks says…

Dislikes: I figured I’d switch it up and get my dislikes out of the way, considering there are few of them. First of all, this is not a terribly original plot. Strong heroine, royal politics, magic, stolen kingdom, and of course, a love triangle. All elements that are normally used in books of this genre. However, it seems to work. While it doesn’t make this novel particularly standout, it doesn’t take away from a good read. Secondly, this book can get a touch info-dumpy at points. Lastly, there is a love triangle! Which leads me to my…

Likes: While Meria is a strong female lead, fighting for her kingdom and refusing to back down, she is also flawed and complex. She tugs at your heartstrings. She is likable. But she isn’t the only one. Even the side characters are complex and well-developed—even the two love interests. They are both so likable and for different reasons. I just couldn’t choose who to root for. The world is another well-developed wonder. This is a seriously complex world with eight kingdoms that have their own customs and people. This information is woven into the plot fairly well for the most part, but as I stated, it can be a bit of an info dump at points.

Despite not being an entirely fresh take on the YA fantasy genre, this book has amazing character and world development that makes it a worthwhile read. I give it 4 snowflakes.

Kat Mandu says…

Meira is feisty and fierce, and the fact that she uses a chakram makes her reminiscent of a younger Xena Warrior Princess in my head. Only with very white hair and pale skin. Her fellow Winterians also have similar features, physical traits reminiscent of their former kingdom, Winter, which is a land that many of them haven’t seen in sixteen years. Meira and her companions are all refugees, driven from Winter by their rival country’s leader (Spring), Angra. Sixteen years ago, Angra forcibly took over the kingdom by imprisoning the Winterian citizens and killing anyone who resisted, including Queen Hannah.

Now, Meira and a handful of survivors – including her mentor, “Sir” (William) and Hannah’s only son, Mather. They’ve managed to stay out of Angra’s eye until now – but they’re trying to get their magical conduit back (the item that represents their power) and Meira knows they can’t wait any longer, especially once news of the conduit’s locations is brought to them.

This story has a lot of adventure and a lot of layered plots as the story unfolds. Aka, there’s a lot going on. It’s not confusing in any way, but prepared to go through a lot of multi-faceted stories within one story.

For one, there’s the fact that the Winterians are trying to get their hands on the conduit, a locket; but Mather, their supposed “king” of Winter, is male and therefore unable to use it due to magical laws set way back when the conduits were first created. This particular detail of the story eventually takes a turn later, but they manage to get the locket anyway.

Then they decide to ally with a Rhythm kingdom, Cordell, and by doing so, Meira ends up engaged to Theron, the heir of Cordell’s king, Niall. She’s not exactly thrilled about the situation, as her heart has always belonged to Mather. But at least in this book, Theron proves to be a very understanding and what more, a protective friend who grows close to Meira’s heart.

So there’s also the romance angle – a love triangle between Meira, Mather, and Theron. Meira finds herself drawn to Theron and seeing Mather as more of a friend.

There’s an entire plotline where Mather and Meira discover a new kind of magic within themselves and that they’re not who they think they are.

Then of course, there’s the final epic battle as Cordell, Winter, and Autumn join forces against the armies of Spring and Angra. And well, stuff happens (no spoilers here).

Overall this is a great book. I found the characters really drove it for me, or at least they mattered more to me than the actual plot, which although is given a unique spin, seems to have a similar theme to other high fantasies I’ve read before. The world building is pretty cool too! But as much as I enjoyed it, I found it hard to keep reading at times; it just didn’t have the same “I’ll stay up all night to finish this” feel for me.

I still give it a four!

Our reviews in this series…

Links will become active as reviews are published.

Other recommendations…

If you love high fantasy check out these other great reads! Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis, the Elemental Trilogy by Sherri Thomas, Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White.