Review: Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch10:00
Series: Snow Like Ashes #2
Author: Sara Raasch
Published October 13th 2015 by Balzer + Bray
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.
See my review of book 1, Snow Like Ashes.
Yet again, this is another case of preordering a book, and then sticking it on my shelf and leaving it. I only picked up Ice Like Fire because I received an ARC of book 3 from the publisher, and decided now was the right time to read book 2. When I read Snow Like Ashes last year, it was one of my favourite all year, and Ice Like Fire may just be one of my favourites for this year.
Picking up after the events of book 1, Meira is struggling to come to terms with the fact that she is the Queen of Winter, and not only that, but she's also the physical embodiment of Winter's magic conduit. Even though they haven't heard from Angra in months, Meira is still worried that he's out there, somewhere, biding his time. Noam and Cordell are bearing down on Meira to discover the hidden magic chasm, and when it is found, there's next to nothing she can do to stop it unleashing the Decay on Primoria. All she can do, is try and find the three keys, hidden in different kingdoms, before Noam, and ensure the chasm is kept shut.
To top it all off, there's the issue of her broken engagement with Theron, who wants nothing more than for the engagement to be very much on. Mather, too, has been ignoring Meira, and if anyone understands what she's feeling, it would be him. Meira just feels very much alone, and meeting new people and creating new friendships could be just the ticket.
Wow, I know quite a few trilogies seems to suffer from the so-called 'Sophomore Slump', but Ice Like Fire was not one of these. From the very first chapters, the action began, and we had the opportunity to see more of the amazing fantasy world that Raasch has created. The magic system, with only the rulers having access to the power via a conduit, is unlike anything I've seen before, and Sara managed to expand on the idea further, by the concept of a person becoming a conduit. Meira, having had no access to magic prior, deals with the fact she is now full of the stuff, quite well. Yeah, there's episodes where it seems to burst out, uncontrollably, but really, wouldn't that happen to anyone? Though she doesn't enjoy being queen, she understands that her duty is to her people, and when she discovers something that could fix her problems forever, and begins to seriously contemplate doing whatever she can to ensure the safety of Winter, and Primoria.
All of the characters, and not just Meira, developed in this book. For the most part, Mather is quite aloof, but by reading his PoV, we learn that Meira's not the only one struggling with the new status quo. After all, he'd been raised thinking he was the true king of Winter, and now he is pushed out of the hierarchy. His feelings for Meira, also, force him to stay away from her, especially with Theron's presence at court. This book made me question who I thought was the better fit for Meira. I really like Theron, and think he cares for her a lot, but sometimes he goes about showing it in the wrong way. With the way the book ended, I really don't know what will happen in book 3, and I'm glad I can start reading it ASAP.
The new characters, especially Ceridwen, helped carry the plot further, and there's a string of different story lines that have just started to tangle and intertwine at the end of the book. Already, I know that Frost Like Night will start strong, and have such a story line, that I might have trouble keeping up. An amazing instalment by Raasch, and I can't wait to read more from her.