Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch
**WARNING! UNAVOIDABLE SPOILERS FROM SNOW LIKE ASHES!**
Going into reading this book I wasn’t expecting much, to be honest. The first book was interesting enough that I wanted to continue on with the series but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Ice Like Fire was soooo much better than Snow Like Ashes! I think that the first book was overly bogged down with so much information and history and world building that it took away from the plot and characters leaving me bored and uninterested. But while reading Ice Like Fire, I felt the exact opposite. The plot really took over here and already knowing all the information I could possibly know about this world and these characters from book one left me set up to just sit back and enjoy the ride. And what an adventure it was!
We start off Ice Like Fire just a few months after the battle that finally freed the Winterians from enslavement under Angra and his Spring Court. In order to pay off their debt to the Cordellans for helping the Winterians free themselves, Noem has enslaved them in his own way urging them to mine more and more in search of Primoria’s lost chasm of magic in the mines of Januari. When it’s found, Theron wastes no time informing Noem of their discovery against all of Meira’s wishes. When this chasm was discovered all Meira could sense was danger and wrongness, but Theron saw this as a way to give everyone magic and make everyone equal at last. But is everyone ready for such power? Is everyone deserving of magic? This is Meira’s biggest concern, and it places her on opposite sides of Theron when it comes to how to handle this great discovery.
After discovering the chasm, they notice that in order to open it they must find three keys. The clues to finding these keys lead them on a quest across country in search of them. Meira sees this as an opportunity to gain alliances to help Winter stand against Cordell before she loses the kingdom she just fought so hard to get back. I really enjoyed getting to see more of this world through this journey. We are introduced to a few of the other main Seasons and Rhythms and their rulers. Each one had its own unique atmosphere and culture that differentiates them from each other. From the buildings to the clothing to the way of life, each had its own distinct feel that put you in the setting perfectly. I enjoy travel in books so this really drew me in and kept me interested throughout. Even with all the politics that usually are a huge buzz kill in my opinion, I found it all really easy to follow along and keep up with the pace of all the events as they unfolded.
Along the journey we are introduced to a number of other key characters that join the merry band of travelers. One of these being Ceridwen, a fiery red headed princess from the kingdom of Summer. She and Meira instantly hit it off once they discover that they have similar views on magic and how the people of their kingdoms are treated. Ceridwen quickly became one of my favorite characters with her rebel attitude and fiery nature. She brought so much depth to the characters and I feel like her story only added to the plot and made it more interesting. I love that she brought about a good side of Meira as well because aside from my dislike of Theron, Meria was probably my next least favorite character in this book.
Meira really struggled in this book. The transition to Queen was not an easy one, and now faced with all the responsibilities running a kingdom and bringing it up out of ruins has tasked her with, she is near crumbling from all the pressure. Mather has distanced himself from her as he works through his own life changes and losing the one person who has always been there for her throws her off in its own way. Theron seems to be the only person she can turn to now, but that relationship is riddled with problems as well. Because of all of this Meira begins to create this pit of self loathing within herself and begins to doubt if she can accomplish everything she needs to in order to save not only her kingdom but everyone she loves. Her back and forth on literally everything she did really started to grate on me as this book progressed. I couldn’t handle the mental whiplash that Meira put me through listening to her thoughts as she mentalled battled her demons. Thankfully she eventually comes into her own and gives us a break from her emotional roller coaster.
Mather’s chapters were a nice addition, not only do they give us a break from Meira, but we also get a peak into what’s still happening in Winter during Meira’s absence. And we also get to hear the reassuring thoughts of Mather and how he hasn’t given up on Meira no matter what she might believe. He still has faith in her and wants to help her succeed. But in dealing with his own issues from being dethroned, to finding out that he has had his parents by his side his whole life and never knew, a distance has come between him and Meira and he’s having a hard time finding a way to get past that. I just wanted him to fight for her so bad, they are obviously meant to be together!
Theron was awful in this book, I couldn’t stand him. He was possessive and controlling of Meira. He had no motive other than his own and pleasing his despicable father. No matter what Meira needed or wanted him to do in order to help everyone, he did not care unless it aligned with his plans. I kept waiting for Meira to just get over him and realize he’s not the one for her. He really lost a lot of points from me in this book. His true colors were shining bright and they weren’t good.
In the end, this book came to one big chaotic bang that left me needing to start the last book immediately. I enjoyed the pace, the plot, and the characters so much more in this book than I did Snow Like Ashes and I think this redeemed this triology a bit for me. The traveling and the search for the keys was very interesting to me and I am now so involved in this story that I am looking forward to finding out how it ends. Don’t let the first book deter you, this triology does in fact get better!!!
If You Liked This Book
There was something about the feel of Ice like fire that reminded me of Red Queen. Whether it be the coming together of unlikely allies to defeat a common enemy, or the magic system, but both follow a female character who is trying to come into her powers and learn to lead her people to freedom. Both are set in fantasy worlds where the struggle for power has resulted in the enslavement of many who don’t deserve to be held against their will just because of the way they were born. I think that Red Queen would compliment the Snow like Ashes series very well.
Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a book that you thought was going to be lackluster but ended up being pretty good!? What does it take to get you interested in a story? Do you like politics, action, romance more? Let me know in the comments below!