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BOOK REVIEW: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

| 21 October 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

Balzer + Bray
October 2015
Hardback, $17.99 USD
Reviewed by Aly Locatelli

5.5/10

17404295

Review for:

Snow Like Ashes

Standing in the courtyard of the palace, arms to the sky, cold numbing all other senses and wind deadening all other noises, I closed my eyes. I had never, in all my life, felt so remarkably alone. But it was a perfect king of alone, a delicate, dreamlike peace.

Unfortunately, having read and loved every moment of Snow Like Ashes, I can’t help but compare Ice Like Fire to it. The first book in the series introduced Meira, Mather, Sir and Alysson and their quest to hunt the second half of the locket — a conduit of magic that would not work if it wasn’t whole — and to then, with it, free the Kingdom of Winter from the grasps of Angra, the king of Spring.

It was action-packed, filled to the brim with heart-stopping moments and will-they-won’t-they scenes. I’d devoured it in six hours and had to write a review immediately after, because I had to talk to people who had read it too. It was fantastic!

Ice Like Fire? Not so much. It definitely suffers with a bad case of Middle Book Syndrome. The plot is flimsy yet interesting, but it didn’t deliver (at least not in the first 70% of the book, which is a long time to wait for something to happen) and the characters, mostly Meira and Mather, were so out of sorts. It was hard to see the kickass, brave, reckless characters from Snow Like Ashes turned into soft, useless ones that just didn’t do anything, really.

The book opens up a couple months after Snow Like Ashes. The Kingdom of Winter is free, with Meira having taken up the crown and her place as its queen; Mather is working closely with Sir and Alysson and the Cordellan soldiers; Noam, King of Cordell, and his son, Theron, are opening up the mines to get to the magic chasm.

And they find it.

I step closer, my boots tapping against the stone floor.
A beam of light hitting a mountaintop. Where have I seen that before?
And who is the Order of the Lustrate?
Theron hisses. “Golden leaves.” He slides forward a step. “Are those… keyholes?”

But the chasm cannot be accessed — not without three keys. Three keys that are hidden in the different kingdoms of Primoria, in two Rhythms and a Season, and it’s up to Meira to find them… before Theron does.

There is a rift between the couple, one that might end up breaking them: Meira wants the chasm for her reasons, and Theron wants it because his father needs it.

And… this is where it started to slide downhill for this reader. Unfortunately, even though the beginning practically spelled “future conflicts that will blow. Your. Mind” it just didn’t do anything for me. The travelling (and I’m one of those people who loves reading about the journeys in fantasy almost as much as the arrival) was too quick and the finding of the keys far too easy for my liking. That is, quite literally, the first fifty percent of the book right there. Travelling and finding the keys. Nothing much else happens, which I found worrying, considering Cordell is in charge of Winter in Meira’s absence — and that, on its own, does not bode well, considering King Noam’s reaction to Meira in the first book and vice versa — and royalty was travelling from one kingdom to the other. You’d think there’d be some sort of conflict or fighting on the way, but there wasn’t. Absolutely nothing happened.

So when the conflict did come, and all those juicy dramatic scenes started to happen, I found myself thinking it was too little, too late. After waiting for over 70% of the story, the end didn’t do much to make up for the entirety of the book and, in my opinion, it felt too much like it was grasping at straws to leave us on a cliffhanger, and thus leaving us wanting more.

Ice Like Fire also has a dual POV, one being Meira’s first person present tense, and the second being Mather’s third person past tense which, although confusing to begin with, added depth to the story. The reader is able to see what is happening both on Meira’s journey and back in Winter as Mather puts together a rebel group to fight the Cordellan soldiers. However, Mather’s point of view was, unfortunately, riddled with teenage woe-is-me angst in regards to his feelings towards Meira and more angst towards his parents and their broken relationship. What could’ve been an interesting switch turned out to be almost too repetitive for me to follow or be interested in.

Another exciting part that was introduced were the new characters: King Simon and his sister Ceridwen of the Kingdom of Summer. Simon, addicted to his magic conduit, gives his citizens dozes of bliss on a daily basis to keep them calm and happy. He’s also addicted to his brothels and Summer’s wine, and, overall, is a funny character — one I would’ve loved to read more about. Ceridwen, on the other hand, was the exact opposite, and constantly fought her brother’s slave trade, going as far as freeing some from his hold. However, even her character started to grate on my nerves by the end of the book — she was too wooden, too difficult to care about. I don’t mind characters that don’t show their feelings or have secret agendas (actually, those are the characters I like the most) but Ceridwen started acting out of character and it was all so, so confusing.

In Ice Like Fire, we’re once again subjected to flashbacks that are far too convenient for this reader’s liking. Where in Snow Like Ashes they had added an element of mystery to the story, the same trick didn’t work in this book. The flashbacks, rather than adding mystery, took away from the story. Whenever some action took place or something interesting began to happen, Meira would conveniently have a flashback which would lead to her (and us) finding out things that would’ve been more interesting if she’d found out some other way.

Overall, Ice Like Fire could’ve had… more. More conflict, for a start: between the characters (that didn’t involve woe-is-me teenage love problems), in finding the keys, in solving the riddle of the Order of the Lustrate, in Meira discovering what Hannah had tried to do in a way that didn’t involve constant flashbacks. It could’ve been more suspenseful, with more action, rather than leaving the latter to the last 10-15%.

 

(Ice Like Fire is Book 2 in the Snow Like Ashes series)

 

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

21. A reader, a writer, a reviewer and a full-time sloth lover. I am addicted to coffee and my laptop, and love reading especially when it's rainy outside.

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