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.
Rating: 4 Stars
Book Title: Ice Like Fire
Author: Sara Raasch
Release Date: October 13th, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
In the acknowledgements portion of Ice Like Fire Sara Raasch writes, “Sequels are hard. I swear they suffer from some bookish form of middle-child syndrome…”
It’s like she hit the nail right on the head.
So many series are completely ruined for me when I hit book 2. I don’t know what it is (call it the middle child syndrome like Raasch, call it whatever you like) but it’s inevitable I read book 1, fall in love with said series, then get to book 2 and it’s game over for me. More times than not I’ll read the third book in hope of a turn around (which often happens) but if I ever decide to reread the series I’ll completely skip past book 2.
As I started to read Ice Like Fire, I was worried this was another repeat of said incident. I was irritated that Meira was leaving the Kingdom of Winter behind to go on a trip with Theron and some of their soldiers because it meant leaving Mather behind. As if the poor bloke didn’t get left behind enough in book 1! I was probably being selfish though because Mather is one of my favorite characters in the series and I was rooting for him and Meira to end up together all along (despite my love for Theron and his bookish tendencies). I knew time away from Mather meant more time with Theron and I wasn’t ready to deal with that just yet.
Their trip was actually really fascinating though, because the reader finally gets to see the surrounding kingdoms they’ve referenced so often in the series. Rather than through heresy though, Meira finally gets to see each kingdom for herself. I think the trip wasn’t just an means to an end (can’t spoil it, but if you read the blurb you likely already know part of it) in order for Meira to save her kingdom. I think it was also an eye-opener for her. In Snow Like Ashes all we hear about is the problems Winter was facing and in Ice Like Fire, the reader, along with Meira, finds out more of the kingdoms are dealing with problems as well.
o The Thaw: A group of Winterians trained by Mather as soldiers to fight and defend themselves, this group reminded me of Dumbledore’s Army. I think Harry Potter fans will love Ice Like Fire for this aspect alone, because the Thaw is exactly like the DA, friends who are training in secret (in the absence of Meira Noam has stepped in and banned any Winterians from training with weapons) and preparing themselves. With Meira gone, it reminded me of Harry’s absence to find the horcruxes and the Thaw practicing for battle was just like the DA practicing defense spells in the Room of Requirement.
o New Friendships: Not only have Nessa and Meira grown closer, but travelling to the Kingdom of Summer also resulted in an unlikely friendship for Meira, one I couldn’t help but compare to a friendship from another favorite series of mine, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (I’ll let you guess who so as not to spoil the surprise:) )
So while Ice Like Fire ended up avoiding the middle-child syndrome, so to speak, it still wasn’t as good as Snow Like Ashes. I enjoyed book 2 of the series and the ending was quite traumatic and hard to stop reading once I got to it, but I’m still crossing my fingers that the next book in this series by Raasch is just as rewarding to read as Snow Like Ashes was for me. Anyone else experience the middle-child syndrome in a favorite book series? If so, which ones?