I had Ice Like Fire for a while but again, didn’t pick it up because I felt like there were other books that drew me in more. That being said, after reading Snow Like Ashes, I still wanted to see what happened to Meira, Mather and the rest of the Winterians.
Like my other reviews, there may be some spoilers because the book has come out for a while now, so I’m presuming most people would have read it – I will, of course, try to keep it to a minimum.
Ice Like Fire picks up a few months after SLA ends, with the Cordellans still occupying Winter under the thin guise of friendship. Meira is fighting against who she is and who she feels she should be for the sake of her beloved kingdom. Mather is struggling with his new identity and freedom, not fitting in with the older Winterian generation and their way of dealing with things. Theron is adamant that his ideas for a peace treaty and the release of magic will be Primoria’s salvation. In search of allies and answers, Meira leaves for Summer, Yakim and Ventralli with Theron – the constant threat of Cordell’s invasion and Angra’s disappearance at her heels.
Like most second-book-in-a-series/trilogy, the book focuses on a lot of character development. In this case, Meira and Mather both undergo hardships and internal struggle in order to become stronger people. Raasch does this by providing chapters through either Meira’s POV or Mather’s. Structurally, this was a good idea because Meira travels most of the book and we are left with only Mather to find out what is happening in Winter. The only sad part was that there wasn’t enough interaction between them.
I thought Mather’s development was good – he always had the responsibility of being king and this took a toll on him and his relationship with Sir and Alysson. Instead, he becomes ‘Once-King Mather’ as called by his new friends, a group of Winterian teenagers who do not fit in with the newly restored Winter. Forming the group Children of the Thaw, they train in secret, rebelling against Cordellan orders. I have a feeling the Thaw will become more important in the next book.
For fans of Theron, there was a lot of him and some readers might enjoy this but it was clear Meira wasn’t anymore. Although Raasch doesn’t choose the easy route by making him evil, she did make it so that their ideals were not the same anymore – and what couple can survive with such differing mindsets? Meira and Theron were just not right together anymore and personally, I was glad because I always thought Mather was better for her (despite being swayed by Theron a bit in SLA). Plotwise, I suspected Theron a few times but all was revealed and I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for him. Thankfully, Meira’s love-life was not the centre of this because she clearly had bigger things to deal with.
In terms of new characters, Ceridwen was fantastic and she was quite similar to Meira which made liking her more easy, despite her prickly nature. I’m sure we’ll see more of her in the final book.
Raasch paints a rich picture of Summer, Yakim and Ventralli, with descriptions of Paisly and Autumn weaved in through the use of tapestries. I thought the differences between the kingdoms and their people were great and definitely made Primoria more believable as a whole.
ILF ends with a muddy path for Meira to follow. On her shoulders is not only the task of protecting those she loves but the the responsibility of saving her world. Now that Frost Like Night is out, I can’t wait to read it and see if Meira successfully saves her world without destroying herself in the process.
I bought my copy on Amazon and received the US paperback edition, making it slightly different than my UK paperback version which is a bummer. It was quite floppy-feeling when I first picked it up and I didn’t like it. After reading, however, I discovered that the floppy pages and softness of the cover actually help to not crease the spine, if that makes sense. Now that FLN is out, I’ll most likely have to buy the hardcover and my trilogy will look quite mismatched. 😦
3.5 Stars – although I liked it, I found some descriptions hard to follow for some reason but I’ll re-read this if I have time and see if a second read makes the experience better.