Buddy Review | Ice Like Fire – Sara Raasch

Both of us really want to get in charge of our backlist books and series we need to finish. To help us start, we decided to do a buddy read of Ice Like Fire with our friend Melissa, from Melissa’s Fandom World (you can find here review here!). Today we’re posting our review of this book. Since this is the sequel to Snow Like Ashes, there will be some spoilers for that first book. Read on at your own risk!

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.

If stubbornness were all that was needed to be a good queen, I’d rule the world.

Cover

Candyce: The covers are one of my favorite things about this trilogy, because they’re stunning! I love that the three seasons are on the cover and how they blend together so well! Owning the paperbacks normally doesn’t bother me, but this is one trilogy I wish I had in hardcover, haha.

Isabelle: I LOVE the covers of this trilogy and I’m so happy I own the hardcover set. The details are so stunning and every time I look at it more closely I see something new. After reading the book, the cover feels even more fitting.

Plot

Candyce: In all honesty, I really had to think about what happened in the first book. When I picked up Ice Like Fire it was two years after reading Snow Like Ashes, haha. Oops! The way this book was written though, it only took me a few chapters to start putting pieces back together. The author writes these books in a way that are easy to read and very enjoyable.

Meira still really just wants her kingdom to be safe, even if that means letting Cordell be in control a bit longer. After the chasm is found that could hold so much power, Meira goes on a mission to find the missing keys. In all honesty, this plot isn’t that original, but it’s still interesting. I loved reading about their journey and how each kindgom is being ruled!

Along the way we meet a lot of interesting characters and I loved learning more about the chasm. It felt almost too easy at times for Meira to gain the information and tools she needed. I feel that could’ve been more of a part of this book. This is what influenced my rating as well, even if the ending made up for a lot!

The ending really blew me away though. So much happened that I really didn’t expect. Some definite plot twists I didn’t see coming and character betrayal. The ending of Ice Like Fire really left me wanting more. I definitely won’t be waiting two years to read the final book in this trilogy!

The most powerful magic of all is choice.

Isabelle: I really enjoyed the first book, Snow Like Ashes, even though it wasn’t the most unique YA fantasy it was written so engaging and I liked the characters a lot. So I was super happy to finally pick up the sequel for this buddyread!

I remembered most of what happened in the first book, and like Candyce said, the way it was written the important details came back to me when I needed them. Some of the characters were a little bit fuzzy in my head as well, but in the end I remembered the important things about all of them I think.

I loved visiting more King- and Queendoms in this world. They were all so interesting and I loved the details that went in to the different king- and queendoms. You can easily tell them apart and they’re well developed. We meet a couple of people from the ones we visit and I have some new favorite characters!

While I really enjoyed the journey Meira went it, I did think the solutions came to her way to easy. It would’ve been interesting if this was done differently. I think this was part of why the middle of the book dragged a little bit for me. A couple of chapters before the end I put the book down for a couple of days. Turned out, that was right were stuff was going down and the story got so interesting the moment I picked it back up.

We get two POV’s in this second installment in the series and that was a great decision. Mather got his own POV and I think that added a LOT to the story. I already liked him in Snow Like Ashes, but I started to love him in Ice Like Fire. It was also great seeing what was going on in Winter when Meira was traveling.

Like I mentioned before, the ending was great. It was super action packed and I couldn’t put the book down. I was happy I was behind on the buddy read, so I could finish it all at once haha. The ending definitely upped the rating for me, in my enthusiasm I wanted to rate it even higher haha. But the middle did really drag and things came to easy to Meira in this one to rate it higher than I did now.

That’s part of freedom too— getting to dream, and knowing it could happen if I want it to.

Characters

Candyce: There are definitely some interesting characters in Ice Like Fire. Before I get into the characters, I want to talk about the romance element. In all honesty, Theron and Meira are rather annoying together. There wasn’t much communication and it took forever for them to address that. I think that dragged a bit too long and I can’t help but want to see her with someone else, haha.

It can’t be easy for Meira. Going from soldier to Queen would be hard on anyone, seeing how you get all of the responsibilites all of a sudden. After Winter has gone through so much, I can only imagine you want your people to be okay. I would have a hard time making all of those decisions when so much is riding on the choices you make. Meira grows a lot in this book though. While she learns not everyone can be trusted, she does need to learn to let a few people in. I am curious to see what she does in the final book.

Theron was a character that was hard to crack. At times he seemed like he wanted what Meira wanted, but at other times, he seemed too busy with his father’s wishes and his own dreams. I would’ve liked to maybe have a few chapters from his POV. I feel we missed things because of that. How his character developed near the end was actually shocking.

Mather is one of my favorite characters. I actually wish we would’ve gotten more chapters from his POV. Meira is still all he wants, but he realizes he can help save the kingdom. Going from thinking you’re King and finding out it’s not you at all, is quite an adjustment. He takes that better than expected and finds a way to defend his country. I felt so much during his chapters, especially near the end. I really hope that we get more of him in the final book!

What’s rare is to have a good, strong man, as opposed to a good, weak man. Those are the ones who ruin the world. Men who mean well, but buckle under others’ opinions until their good intentions destroy an untold number of lives.

Isabelle: We get to see Meira grow into her own in Ice Like Fire. She never knew she was a Queen and that wasn’t what she trained for. I really like how Sara wrote the internal struggle Meira had. It was clear she had to figure out how to navigate this new role and I liked seeing her struggle with this. I think it was very realistic how this was written.

Theron was pretty annoying in this one. While I did really like him in Snow Like Ashes, he got on my nerves pretty fast this time around. I totally get his motivations and think he was written quite well. But as a person I just wanted to kick hi butt haha. He and Meira needed to work their stuff out way earlier. Theron thinks he does right by Meira but he did some really shitty things. I’m excited to read about him in Frost Like Night though!

Mather was wonderful! I loved his POV’s and wish we had gotten more of him. Like Meira, he has to adjust to his new role and the fact that he all of a sudden does have parents. His development is beautifully done and very well deserved.

We got some great minor characters as well. It was a lot fun getting reacquainted with some of them and getting to know the new ones. Slowly, you learn their backstories and I can’t wait to read more about them. I think the characters and their developments are very strong in this series and probably the reason I enjoy these books so much.

Horrible things have happened to us, are still happening to us, will happen every day for the rest of our lives, probably. What defines us is not our ability to never let them break us— what defines us is not letting them own us.

Candyce:

Isabelle:

Now that we finally read this sequel, we won’t be waiting years again to read the third and final book. You can expect our review for that one in the next couple of months! Have you read Ice Like Fire? What did you think?

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