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I Belong


Review: Ice like Fire by Sara Raasch

Ice Like FireTitle: Ice like Fire

AuthorSara Raasch

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Snow like Ashes (Book #2)

Publication Date: October 13, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 496 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062286951 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062286956 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin

Synopsis:

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.

Quick & Dirty: A dense first third made it a rocky start for me going into this novel, but soon, the action and intrigue I had so enjoyed in Snow like Ashes returned.

Opening Sentence: Five enemies.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Meira did it – she freed her people, brought together a kingdom, and retrieved the Winter conduit. She now knows that she is the rightful queen of Winter, and the weight of that responsibility is hard to manage. Winter’s problems are far from over, however; Cordell, and its king Noam, has Winter under its debt after it helped them escape from Spring. They demand most of what is made in the reopened, dangerous mines as tribute, and have the weak Winterians working hard to find the magic chasm. Meira thinks this last pursuit is futile until they do discover the chasm, and all the problems it implicates.

Noam wants it open, but that will require following a trail of clues across numerous kingdoms, and Meira isn’t so sure she agrees with Noam’s plans. On their journey, she prepares to plea for help and alliances to rebel against Noam’s hold on Winter, while looking for the keys. Theron wants unity, peace, and draws up a treaty that seems like a daydream to the realistic Meira. But nothing is as it seems in any of the kingdoms, and more questions begin forming about her magic and how to truly save her people.

Anyone who followed my reviews on the blog last year, or saw my “top ten books of 2014” list, knows that Snow like Ashes was one of my favorite books of the last year. The unique idea of perpetual seasons was executed in a way that made me crave more. It was incredible enough that I raced over to my local fabulous indie Mysterious Galaxy Books to purchase their signed copy. That being said, I had pretty high expectations going into the second novel, and I was ready to be blown away once again. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what happened. This book and I got off to a really rocky start.

I found Meira’s character a little harder to enjoy this time around. She had so much stress, which was understandable, but it was also difficult watching her wrestle with the different parts of herself. One part of her, rebellious warrior Meira, wanted to take risks and be reckless. The other, Queen Meira, had to hold her tongue and be responsible, letting herself drown in harsh court politics. It wasn’t really the character I had trouble with, to tell you the truth, however. The first third of the book was just – dare I say it – boring. The politics was dense and the story was a lot more implication than action. It sped up towards the middle, and I began to enjoy it, and by the end I did want more. Nevertheless, it wasn’t the intense, action-packed sequel I had expected or hoped for.

Altogether, the book was decent, if you’re able to push through the dense first third and get to the good stuff. I did like the surprise of having a chapter narrated by Mather, who was a much more complex character than originally I had thought. I also liked how she focused more on helping her kingdom than her love interests. It seems that the love triangle wasn’t truly over, ugh, but it was by no means the primary part of the plotline. I think that lovers of the first book will enjoy this, if given enough time to get past the more boring bits and get to the exciting ones!

Notable Scene:

“My queen!” he says, and I don’t know how long he’s been calling to me.

The carriage door flies open. The servant teeters just outside, his dark eyes sweeping over me before he levels a gaze at me again – but instead of studious, its sad. Sympathetic.

Poor, broken Winter queen, the look says.

Snow Like Ashes Series:

1. Snow Like Ashes

2. Ice Like Fire

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FTC Advisory: Balzer + Bray/HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Ice like Fire. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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