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Published by HarperCollins on October 13th 2015
Genres: Family, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Orphans & Foster Homes, Young Adult
Game of Thrones meets Graceling in this thrilling fantasy filled with shocking twists and heart-pounding action, the highly anticipated sequel to Snow Like Ashes. This action-packed series is perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes and A Court of Thorns and Roses.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 on using 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 Jannuari—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 is woven 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.
“’Most cathartic things are morbid,’ he amends. ‘Healing through melancholy.’”
First off, you cannot read these books out of sequence. Meira learned a lot about herself in the first book, and if you haven’t read it yet, stop reading right now. All of her life she thought she was a nobody, a citizen of a fallen Winter that would only make it in the history books as a number—but then she discovered she was queen and the conduit of Winter. In Snow Like Ashes I met a girl striving to be understood, to be loved. Ice Like Fire introduced me to a queen willing to do almost anything to protect her people, a mind fogged by what was right, who was wrong—who to trust.
When I think of this book I have two words: war strategy. I wouldn’t suggest reading this book when you mentally exhausted because it begs for your undivided attention. I would read a section, move on a couple pages, and have to flip back to relay to my mind what I was reading. It’s dense, it’s complicated, and I loved every minute of it. Alliances, enemies, dark magic, and destroying a broken order—what’s not to love? Some of the characters that I thought I had figured out would surprise me, and the last thirty pages had so many twists and turns that I couldn’t put it down for one second.
“If it were at all possible to capture a moment, tuck it safely away in my empty locket, I know that the magic it would emit would be far, far stronger than anything from that chasm.”
Mather chapters—need I say more? Unlike Meira, who spoke in first person and was the only voice in the first book, Mather’s side of things was told in third person limited. After learning that he wasn’t the true King of Winter, Mather had parents he didn’t know were his and also had to come to terms with not holding the fate of a kingdom on his shoulders. Some of the decisions that he made in the first book, the things he thought at the moment, were explained. He grew into a stronger character, one that took the twists that life had thrown his way and made them into something better—something that could help save his kingdom.
“He didn’t want to have to fight for her. He wanted her to want him, and she didn’t.”
Speaking of Mather, if you’re looking for a heavy romance, Ice Like Fire does not have one. Meira had been in love with Mather for as long as she could remember, but when she met Theron, Prince of Cordell and her betrothed for part of Snow Like Ashes, things changed. Without the Mather chapters, I would’ve missed the “Once-King,” but the few moments that they were together were intense and kept me wanting more. As far as the love triangle goes, how it plays out in the last book should be interesting. Some of the things that took place in the last few pages definitely made it more complicated than some love triangles that I’ve seen before, and this one would appeal to those that doesn’t particularly care for them in a series. The main focus of the series is to save a fallen world, and the romance added to the story instead of taking away from it.
“’That’s part of freedom too—getting to dream, and knowing it could happen if I wanted it to.’”
When you finish this book, you’ll have to sit back for a moment and take it all in. There aren’t enough words to fully describe all the emotions that are packed into this novel. It’s full of alliances, broken and new, and spiced with secrets that won’t reveal themselves until the very end.
This was the first novel that I finished reading in 2016, and it started my year off with a bang! If you haven’t invested in this series yet, it’s worth it. A strange land, fierce characters, and a story that will keep your mind busy.
“Not everyone is deserving of the same things. Not everyone is deserving of power…”