Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch
Publisher: Balzar + Bray 
Publication Date: October 13th, 2015
Pages: 478
Song I Played While Reading: Light Years Away by Tiesto
Rating: 5 stars

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 lines for payment, they unearth something power and possibly dangerous: Primoria's lost chasm of magic. Theron is hopeful and excited- with this much magic, the world can finally stand agains threats like Angra. But Meira knows that 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 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, Meira fights for freedom- and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter but for the world. 

Holy crap, you guys. This book. This fucking book blew me away. I had obvious high hopes, since I loved Snow Like Ashes. But it blew those expectations out of the water and left me gasping for air.
I've read a lot of "middle-child syndrome" being thrown around with this book. I understand why some people could've been bored with Ice Like Fire, since a huge chunk of this book is Meira adjusting to being queen and trying to figure out who that is. What does it take to be a queen? She's constantly at war with herself, trying to find a middle ground between Meira and Queen Meria. 
I'm all for inner conflict and character arc. Nothing brings tears to my eyes faster than that. Raasch flawlessly wove Meira's inner turmoil with the world building (since we travel around Primoria), the onslaught of new characters, the questions of "What the hecky poo is this chasm of magic and how do we handle it?", the worry of the debt Winter has to Cordell and trying to find support from other kingdoms, AND, of course, the love interests. Sounds like a lot, right? That sounds like something that would crush my shoulders and my soul, but Raasch managed to make it work. KUDOS!
Now, I'm not sure exactly what causes this, but in Snow Like Ashes I had issues adjusting to the story for the first 50 pages. Nothing was clicking and I didn't really care about the characters. Once I hit page 50, it as smooth sailing. Strangely enough, I had the same problem in this story too, so I'm assuming it's her writing? I'm not 100% sure, but I was actually internally panicking because I had forgotten all the side characters (it took me FOREVER to remember William and Sir were the same person), and everything felt a little jumbled. BUT, like I said, once I hit page 50, BOOM. I was in. 
The kingdoms Meira and Theron visit were absolutely glorious. I find the whole idea of a seasoned kingdom to be SO. FREAKIN. COOL. Summer did not disappoint, and I love how everything was in orange and red tones. Their culture, though dabbling in things that I definitely did not approve of, was still enchanting and I wish with all of my being that I could visit such a fun place like that. It's a constant party. Who wouldn't want to visit?!
Yakim and Ventralli were gorgeous too, but a little more subdued since they were Rhythm kingdoms. I found it super fascinating to read about the different cultures in these places! 
Now, for the first 250ish pages, I shipped Meira with neither of our love interests. Mather was being a little whiny poo head, and I didn't trust Theron. Their goals were too different, so I couldn't see it working out between them, anyways. I was little iffy with these two in SLA as well. This a rarity, for me to ship my girl with no one. Props to you, Raasch. But then Mather found his purpose in Winter and it wasn't long until I officially announced my ship: MATHERIA. The ending had me screaming for many, many, MANY reasons, and that was definitely one of them. The other reasons are able to be summed up in two words: PLOT TWISTS. And a bunch of crying emojis. 
Raasch has this ability to me care SO DAMN MUCH for Winter. Maybe because of how broken they were, or how beaten they were in those camps, or their ability to still stand up and proudly call themselves Winterians. Or maybe it's because I picture them as fuzzy snow bunnies. NEVERTHELESS, I care about these beautiful humans so deeply, and thats why I love this story so much and connect with Meira and ship her with Mather. I'm so incredibly proud of our mc and love the direction this story went at the ending (like, right at the ending. not the other stuff. *CRIES*). I absolutely cannot wait to see Meira kick ass and defeat the Decay once and for all. LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN.

"I'll play along, you arrogant little pig. I'll pretend to be an obedient little queen until I can crush you."

"A seasons purpose? All I told him was that I wanted to see Yakim's libraries. I frown at the back of his head. sorting through the meaning of his words, and roll my eyes when it hits me.
He doesn't think I'm interested in the books for study and use. Which I believe is a lofty Yakimian way of calling me stupid.
"Oh, quite," I return. " I just love looking at books. Sometimes I can even make out a word or two."

""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. We are the Thaw, and we will not be defeated by memories or evil men."

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