Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes, #2
Released: October 13th 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Length: 479 pages
Source: Publisher for review
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.
This time last year, I was singing Sara Raasch’s praises to anyone willing to stop and listen. When Snow Like Ashes came out, I was so sure I finally found another fantasy series to worship, something I could love as much as I loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Graceling Realms and all my other favorites. (Not Lumatere, though, nothing quite compares to Lumatere.) Needless to say, when the reviews for Ice Like Fire started trickling in, I grew very concerned indeed. Slow, aimless, essentially plotless… were just some of the words thrown around by my most trusted reviewers. But do I agree, now that I’ve finally gathered the nerve to actually read it? I do, to a point, but not entirely.
I don’t mind slower pacing when the writing is good and I enjoy being in that particular world. I especially don’t mind it in fantasy, I actually enjoy having events slowly unfold while I familiarize myself with the surroundings. The pacing in Ice Like Fire was a bit slower than expected, but it never got in the way of my enjoyment. I would disagree about it being plotless as well. There is a fairly decent plot that might suffer from the middle book syndrome just a tiny bit, but that is exciting and engaging nevertheless.
My main problem with this book doesn’t stem from the writing itself, or the pacing, or even the plot. My biggest grievance is with Meira, a heroine that, for the most part, isn’t a heroine at all, but someone who stays quiet while people walk all over her. Until the very last part and her awakening of sorts, she just stands there while other people run her kingdom, while they tell her what she can and can’t do, while they allow or don’t allow her to carry weapons and act a certain way… She never for a second leaves the impression of a queen and a magic conduit, of someone powerful and aware of it. I realize that there has to be room for growth, but I would have liked her more if she didn’t start quite so low.
Do you remember those pointless love triangles that drag out and torture us for ages without any sign of remorse, and yet we know in our hearts the entire time who the heroine will end up with? Yeah, this is not one of those. We’ve been thrown back and forth already and at one point, I thought I knew how things would end up, but now I’m not sure of anything anymore. What’s more, the struggle and the changes of opinion seem well founded and realistic.
As most reviewers pointed out already, the last part more than makes up for any issues we might have had. It’s exhilarating, fast and the stakes are incredibly high. While I didn’t like Ice Like Fire nearly as much as I’d hoped to, the ending left me desperate to get my hands on the next book which promises to be the most exciting of the three. We’ll just have to wait and see.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.