Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

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Title: Ice Like Fire

Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes #2
Published: October 13, 2015
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased

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 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.

 Ice Like Fire is Sara Raasch’s followup to her debut novel Snow Like Ashes (read my review here).
I’ll start off by saying that Snow Like Ashes left some pretty big shoes to fill, and although I liked Ice Like Fire, it didn’t exactly live up to the precedent that was set.
After sixteen years of struggling to find herself among the Winterian refugees, Meira has retaken her homeland and claimed her rightful throne as the Queen of Winter. But while the Winterians have reclaimed their homeland, they aren’t back on their feet yet. King Noam is demanding repayment for the support Cordell provided Winter against Spring.
While delving into Winter’s mines for resources to pay Cordell, the Winterians accidentally unearth an ancient magic chasm. Theron tries to convince Meira that this is an opportunity to unleash the ancient magic and give everyone in Primoria equal access to use magic, but Meira only sees power that can be abused by someone like Angra again.
One of the things I loved most about Snow Like Ashes was the rich background and cultural context that she built into Meira’s world. In that aspect, Ice Like Fire did not disappoint. The plot was a little slow to start up, but once it got going, I couldn’t put this book down.
However, I did find the characters to be somewhat lacking in their continued development. One of the things I loved so much about Meira in Snow Like Ashes was how fierce she is. She is unapologetically herself, no matter how unladylike that may be.
In Ice Like Fire, I feel like I’m reading about a completely different person. Now that she’s discovered that she’s the Queen of Winter, Meira is suddenly concerned with propriety and overly burdened with everyone else’s safety. It seems like a forced and disingenuous transition, and I’m left wondering what happened to the character I grew to love.
I actually enjoyed reading from Mather’s perspective; I’m interested to see what Raasch does with the Children of the Thaw in the next book. I was a bit confused as to why Raasch chose to use third person when writing from Mather’s perspective and first person when writing from Meira’s perspective.
My last real issue with this book is that a lot of the major plot twists felt overly foreshadowed to the point where the book was a tad bit predictable.
While it didn’t quite live up to its predecessor, Ice Like Fire was still a solid followup to Snow Like Ashes. Raasch is a great writer, and I’m really looking forward to the next installment of this series. I’d give Ice Like Fire four out of five stars, and I would recommend it to high fantasy readers of all ages!

4 Stars

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