Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch (Snow Like Ashes #2)
Published October 13, 2015 by Balzer + Bray, 479 pp.
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.
Ice Like Fire is the broody, sulky sibling. The one that internalises everything because they feel that the burden is theirs alone, and they alone can solve the problems of the world.
Actually the latter statement is applicable to all the characters in Ice Like Fire, it’s like everyone is infected with a healthy dose of Noble Idiocy so everyone thinks they can solve Primoria’s problems by themselves. I know this is supposed to be Meira’s journey of self-discovery and reflection as she transitions from being warrior to queen, but I keep on thinking back to Invasion of the Tearling. Kelsea went through the same thing, of going from a place of having no responsibility but suddenly you’re thrust in the middle of it all and everyone expects you to fail but at the same time hopes you succeed. In equal measure. The difference is that I didn’t skim over the pages as I read and I didn’t find it so slow.
Ice Like Fire picks up where Snow Like Ashes ended – Winterians are trying to pick up the pieces of their kingdom. Half of them are trying to move on, half of them still can’t quite believe that since they’re indebted to Cordell, who provided them with aid while they were battling Spring. While Meira is trying to navigate the politics that comes with being queen, she’s also trying to find a way to end magic because she knows Angra is still out there, despite what everyone tells her. There are a lot of things competing for her attention though – Mather and his feelings of being abandoned and left behind, and Theron and his apparent personality transplant.
You guys Ice Like Fire could’ve been so great, if there was more action – not just literally, but also more of Meira taking charge. I kind of miss headstrong Meira thanks to this. Here she was more… passive, and even when she did something after “thinking it through,” it still manages to blow up in her face. So yes, I’d like headstrong Meira back.
This was also painfully slow. I am all for introspection but sometimes Meira’s thoughts felt so repetitive and circular, that even I felt that she was so inside her head that she couldn’t understand what everyone was saying or doing. The last hundred pages of this were good, because finally, the plot moves forward! But was it worth the sluggish almost-350 pages?? Not so much.
I feel like despite liking the last parts of this I could’ve done without the needless bloodshed. So many people dying, and for what? Like they were just slashed off to prove a point. It didn’t even add to what was happening, it just felt like someone needed to die – unfortunately this or that character was in the vicinity. Way to go, Plot.
I’m going to be honest: I didn’t like this mostly because of Mather’s POV. I swear to god, if there were ever a guy that could be labeled as “weepy” it would be Mather in Ice Like Fire. Here’s Meira, drowning in everything that needs to be done and what everyone expects her to be and here comes Mather to add to her problems. Man, come on, Meira is doing her best, don’t add to the stress! Does the author expect me to root for the guy who leaves her hanging when she needed him to support her? When she needed someone to be a friend?
[…] All these threats, they should be my problems. I hate that they’re yours now, but I can’t take it all back so you’re safe. I can’t do anything, Meira. There’s a reason it’s been three months since we’ve talked, and I need to force myself to see that reason. I’ll still do what I can for Winter. But I can’t live like this. I need you to know that I’m done. I’m not waiting for you to come back into my life.
Fuck that. No. Even Theron did a better job protecting Meira in the end despite what happened to himself. The thing that gets me about Mather is that he’s the one waiting for Meira to come to him. Like he isn’t able to bridge the distance when he very well knows he can. In every POV that he has, it’s the same thing: bemoaning the distance between them, placing blame on Theron just for existing and snatching Meira away, and no, just no. I am not here for this, Mather!!
Can we also talk about how Theron got a personality transplant? This is not the Theron from Snow Like Ashes. I get that Angra had managed to corrupt him, but this is literally not the same person. No more of the boy who would rather be surrounded by books, instead he’s now out negotiating treaties left and right.
Whatever. *wraps self in Team Theron flag not unlike a burrito*
This to me also means the romance is dead. Kidding, not really. There are numerous Attempts to get the reader on-board the Mather and Meira ship but I am not one of them. I don’t see the spark. I don’t see the connection.
Overall I have to say Ice Like Fire frustrated the hell out of me. I keep on waiting for that moment I say to myself, yeah you know what, you did like that, and it isn’t coming. While the last part did manage to propel the plot forward, it was too little too late, and even with that the book ended with a cliffhanger. A huge cliffhanger.
I LOVED SNOW LIKE ASHES, SO IT PAINS ME TO SAY: 2 STARS!! I wanted so bad to like this, and I tried convincing myself but no, okay, no. A slow start that doesn’t pick up until the end, and even then I feel unsatisfied. I’m holding out hope for the third book, that it’ll be better. I also know when a ship has sunk, and definitely Theron and Meira are done.
Slow, sluggish, basically did not go anywhere for most of the book.
I’m giving one extra star for Theron. Let me mourn my formerly-sweet Cordellan prince, please.