Ice Like Fire – Sara Raasch – Snow Like Ashes #2 – Balzer + Bray – Published 13 October 2015
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 loved Snow Like Ashes, the first book in this trilogy. Now having had the pleasure to read book two, I found I struggled at first to engage with Ice Like Fire. Second books in trilogies are always hard reads for me – I find they are often just setting up the main events that will occur in the third book. But slowly working through this book was worth it and by half way I was once again absorbed by the suspense and action of this continuing story. Bring on book three!
Meira has saved her kingdom. Her people are now free from the tyranny of Angra and Spring. But instead of rejoicing, all Meira feels is the loss of what she couldn’t save and the nagging feeling that all is not as safe as it should be. Under the restrictive influence of Cordell, Winter’s mines are opened and the hunt for the magic chasm begins. But when it is found Meira must decide who are her true enemies and where else she might look to for support. Ordered on a journey across the kingdoms of Primoria, Meira intends to use this as a chance to garner allies and stop the spread of magic and the destruction it can bring, while Theron wants to unify the kingdoms in a bid for peace with magic for everyone. Divided by their goals, Meira’s journey is only just beginning.
Welcome back to the magical kingdoms of Primoria. I love this wonderfully imagined world whose beauty is matched only by its cruelty. That cover. That beautiful cover says all you need to know about the clever details of Meira’s world, and the familiarity of eras and places reflected in the season and rhythm kingdoms. Ice Like Fire is, at its heart, about Meira’s struggle to be Winter’s queen, while trying to balance her own desires to fix everything and march in with chakram flying.
As I mentioned, I had to work really hard get through the first half of this book. I wanted to like it. I wanted to be able read book three. I knew it would continue the story I loved from Snow Like Ashes with characters I had grown to love. I didn’t dislike it, I just struggled to connect to the ongoing storyline. But it was worth the effort, because by the halfway point I was back on the edge of my seat. Yes, this book is all about setting up the final part of this trilogy. Yes, there is chaos and tears and heartbreak. Yes, there are breakdowns in the relationships of some of your favourite characters. But there is also now the possibility of an epic finale. There are new characters, new developments and new enemies.
Ice Like Fire is predominately told by Meira, but there is also the inclusion of chapters from Mather’s point of view (yay!). These chapters kept me reading. And it didn’t take long for Mather to steal my heart. His vulnerability and his determination, and his love for his kingdom, the people around him and, most of all, Meira are so endearing. The banter and friendship between Theron and Meria is missing from this second book, made most noteably absent by the few times it does appear. Sigh. It certainly made those few times precious. After reading the first book I really liked Theron and Meira as a couple, but now I am firmly team Mather. At the end of Ice Like Fire we are given hints as to where Meira’s heart truly lies or what might eventuate, but I’m not entirely certain which way the story will go. This is a love triangle I’m loving (and I usually hate love triangles) mostly because the focus is never on relationship drama but about Meira’s choice to do the right thing for her country and people. I’m hoping the final book will allow her a time to reach for what she wants for herself. I’m excited to discover what that might be.
And so prepare yourself for a long journey that will test relationships and loyalty, but which nicely sets the scene for a final showdown I can’t wait to read.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Magic, romance, politics and alliances, slavery.
Reading Age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Some graphic violence. Sexual references.
Published: 13 October 2015 by Balzer + Bray.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 479 pages.