Title: Ice Like Fire
Author: Sara Raasch
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Publication date: October 13, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
There will be spoilers for Snow Like Ashes, so please do not read if you haven’t finished the first book.
Snow like Ashes was one of my Top 10 books last year – I was excitedly anticipating this sequel. I was so disappointed with Ice Like Fire. I put off this review for a month, because I’m so sad about Raasch’s second installment.
Oh, Meira. You hold a large, unexpected weight on your shoulders now, but you went from brave and daring to whiny and whiny. Meira thinks she has to change herself to be queen. Her decisions are based on a theory that the old Meira is unworthy of being a queen, so she tries to do things differently. This translates in the book to a whiny heroine who thinks she has to do everything alone and is terribly lonely because of it. I’ve seen this before in books when a heroine inherits unexpected responsibilities. She doesn’t want to burden others around her, so she takes all the responsibilities on herself – the lesson being you need community and support. Just when we see some of the old Meira back and she has an epiphany about not being alone at all, she goes off…alone. What? Frustrating.
When I finished Snow Like Ashes, I was fairly confident the love triangle was no longer a thing. Theron seemed like the obvious and best choice, and I didn’t really understand the pull to Mather. However, Raasch manages to sway her audience in this book in the exact opposite direction. Ice Like Fire is narrated by both Meira and Mather, which gives us a new perspective on the later which helped win me over to the romance. Both characters are working through their new roles in Winter, and I started to see who they would make a great team. Raasch also develops Theron in a way that makes it difficult to continue to route for him. I didn’t mind routing for a different couple in this book, even longed for their reunion. I couldn’t wait to Meira and Mather to team up again so their strengths and history could compliment one another. But no. It was too brief and unsatisfying. I really hope Meira’s journey in the third book brings her home quickly so the original Winter crew can work together again.
There were one or two interesting new characters in this installment, but in this 496 page book Meira is mostly visiting kingdoms and finding clues to help them solve a magic problem. I didn’t really care about the other kingdoms very much, and these clues Meira is looking for turned out to be a little pointless. I just wasn’t into this story arch, but I’m curious how this series will conclude.
Would I let my teen read this book?
This is still a good fantasy series for younger teens. Though I didn’t like her turn in personality, Meira is a worthy heroine. She’s still caring, brave, and courageous. Her responsibilities just overwhelmed her for a time. This series continues to ask questions about power, class, enslavement, trust, and working together. I recommend Ice Like Fire for everyone 14 and up.
Age recommendation: 14
Language – none
Drugs & Alcohol – One character is often drunk, partying and whoring
Sex – See above; several kisses
Violence – Some: a few people are killed by getting their throats slit, others are stabbed and injured by magic
My Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I read a lot. I'm a Mom. I'm officially in my 30s, but strangers often don't believe I'm old enough to drink. I love Young Adult fiction, and thought it was worthwhile to help teens and adults find age-appropriate options.