by Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes #2
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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.
I was excited to dive back into the world Sara Raasch has created with her Snow Like Ashes series. Ice Like Fire is the second novel, and I am thankful to report that despite not being as strong as Snow Like Ashes, it did not fall victim to second book syndrome. Told in alternate perspectives of those of Meira and Mather we see what has befallen Winter and begin a quest to save their people and perhaps all the kingdoms of Primoria.
Ice Like Fire picks up three months after Snow Like Ashes ended. Meira and those in Winter are free but deeply in debt to the ruthless King of Cordell. He has ordered them to dig their mines and they unearth a chasm with four locked doors. You can feel the magic behind them, but no one can approach them. Cordell orders send them on a quest throughout Primoria in search of answers to unlocking the chasm. Meira is hoping to gain alliances and hopes to keep the chasm closed forever. Her relationship with Theron becomes strained as he has other ideas.
The story is told in alternate perspectives. We have Meira’s as she struggles to control her magic and become comfortable in her new role. Her feelings for Theron are conflicted and she is unsure if she can trust him. We see tremendous growth in Meira as she accepts, opens up and steps into her role. One of the things that I admire about this strong heroine is her unwavering love of Winter and its people. Meira also sees the bigger picture and worries about more than just her people. She is concerned for all of Primoria. Some of her actions annoyed me as she struggled to grow, but by the end, I was rooting for her.
Mathers is the second perspective we witness struggle. He feels misplaced, unneeded and resents Cordell’s oppressive intrusion. Mathers also undergoes a transformation, but first we have to see him sink before until he finds his purpose. Mathers remains behind in Winter as Meira and the others travel the countryside. I really want to adore Mathers and struggled in the beginning, but towards the end he becomes a worth hero.
Raasch continues to flesh out the world of Primoria and its different kingdoms. The questions regarding magic, and the Decay held me captive. I enjoyed visiting the kingdoms and seeing what each held dear. The author did a wonderful job of bringing each kingdom to life and introducing us to colorful characters within. Meira begins to confide to those within her inner circle and I am seeing a strong alliance build. The quest involving the chasm felt a little too easily solved, but did not bother me enough to hinder my enjoyment.
Those looking for romance will be sorely disappointed, as the thread is minimal at best, as Raasch focuses on the quest and growth of these characters.
The last one hundred pages of Ice Like Fire were intense and action–packed as the author prepared us for what lies ahead in the last book. The ending is climatic with death, danger and betrayal. The story closes with an answer and a cliffhanger to keep us looking for the final release in 2016.