Review: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

Title: Ice Like Fire 
Author: Sara Raasch 
Series: Snow Like Ashes #2 
Genre: Fantasy, YA 
Publication date: October 13, 2015 
Rating: ★★★ 

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?

The most powerful magic of all is choice.

This book was a bit of a disappointment to be honest. I really loved Snow Like Ashes so I had high hopes for this one and… It didn’t deliver. Pity. It wasn’t entirely bad either (hence the three star rating) but there were three huge points I couldn’t get over and everything that was good, kind of got a bit lost in their shadow.

1. Meira
She was so very, very annoying. It started with her being an Instaqueen. Never mind that before this book she was just a sixteen-year-old. Somehow, just like that, she is fit to rule the kingdom on her own with no help needed. Right. But it was more than that. Meira is a child and a pretty foolish one at that. She’s naive, she’s impulsive and immature, she’s selfish, judgemental and she. doesn’t. think. things. through. ever. Always doing more harm than good in the end. She is struggling ‘to find herself’. To find a balance between the ‘orphaned soldier girl’ and ‘the queen of Winter’. But she was neither in my opinion. Her ideas for her kingdom weren’t bad in their own, but they were so unfounded and pathetic it made me role my eyes. Again and again. Also her internal struggle felt really cheap – which brings me to my next point.

2. The writing is off.
I don’t know if it’s lack of talent or just written in a rush or bad editing, but the point is that everything felt awfully staged. I could read the intention behind every single line. You’re not supposed to be this aware of it. You’re supposed to be so involved in the story you don’t really notice. The book also suffered from endless repetition. Meira constanly thinking the same things. How she feels about Theron, how she doesn’t want magic, how she is really not thinking about Mather anymore etc. *sigh* On top of that the characters were very inconsistent. Not at all the way I remembered them from the first book. Mostly weak and interchangeable if I have to be honest. I also honestly don’t understand why the author would choose to use two different narrative POVs. Meira’s POV was first person, but Mather’s was third person.

3. Nothing really happens before page 400
Page after page after page after page of ‘filling’ material. Ice Like Fire tells the story of Meira going on a quest to find allies for her kingdom and three keys to help open the magic chasm she’s found. Okay. But her entire journey was… boring. She visited a kingdom, didn’t like the way it was ruled, acted real immature ant threw some tantrum, FOUND THE KEY – YAY, and then left for another. There’s barely any real action. The story is supposed to be thriving on political intrigues. Which I usually love! Just not here apparently. Because clearly Sara Raasch doesn’t have a clue about politics between kingdoms (even fictional ones). The different characters were underdeveloped and everything was way too black-white. Opinions were unfounded, there was no real exploration of intentions besides Meira’s own foolish observations.

So what made this book worthwhile and apparently still worthy of three stars? What kept me turning the pages (even though I had to really force myself at some points)? Mather, mainly. I wasn’t crazy about him in the first book. I mean, I liked him just fine – but he didn’t make my heart beat any faster. But he’s the only one who actually got interesting in this book. The only one whose character development felt real and founded and realistic. Ironically he’s also one of the characters with the least action. But Mather’s storyline is the only one that’s not pretentious. And the simplicity of it and the true character of his feelings made me eagerly suck in every word. Every time I finished one of his chapters I went searching for the next one (only to be disappointed that I had to read another four of Meira’s before I could get back to him).

The Winter we know has always been one of our own creation, a kingdom built on dreams. So you’re right, Feige. We’re all Children of the Thaw. Our own hybrid of the past and the future.

So Mather and the final 100 pages. Because clearly that’s what the entire boring build-up was leading to. Just like that there’s action and the story actually gets going again instead of just muddle on. But I can’t really elaborate on these final chapters because I’d spoil too much. You’ll have to take my word for it.

I sincerely hope Sara Raasch has enough material for the third book and that it will take after the first one – not the second. I guess you should still read this though, I personally think that a series is always worth finishing – even if it gets bad.

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  1. Oh nooo, I'm so sad to hear you didn't like it that much ... what you wrote makes sense though. I've heard from a few other people that the second book isn't as good as the first and only gets better in the end (ugh). I absolutely LOVED Theron in the first book and now I'm worried ... noooo.

    Also, that last quote?! "FEIGE"? Is that supposed to be a name? That would be weird. In german "feige" is an adjective and means you're a coward. Oh man.

    Loved your review! It definitely lowered my expectations, so I HOOOPE that I'll still like the book. :D

    1. Yes, it's a name. I thought I'd heard that word before. And what you say it means doesn't make a whole lot of sense here, because Feige wasn't a coward. So I don't know where she got the name from. She was pretty awesome actually! ;D

      Honestly, I feel bad that I didn't like it. I had the same with not liking 'Winter'. But here I am and I actually really tried. And I am so not going to talk about Theron because I wouldn't be able to keep myself from spoiling. But I still care about him, even after reading the book, if that makes you feel any better? :)

      I hope I haven't ruined the book for you (a)


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