Set three months after the events of Snow Like Ashes, Ice Like Fire finds the newly freed Winterians trying to rebuild their kingdom and pay back their debt to Cordell for their help in defeating Spring. All Meira wants is for her people to be free and safe, and that means paying off Cordell by digging in Winters mines. While digging, they unearth the lost chasm of magic and suddenly everyone has different ideas on how to proceed. Theron wants to use it for peace, Meira is worried that it’s too much to control, Cordell’s king just wants it. This sends Theron and Meira on a trip to discover the chasm’s secrets but will their opposing views on what to do spell trouble for them? Mather is taking Winter’s safety in his own hands, even if it means putting himself at risk. They’re all fighting for something.
This book was just as addicting to read as Snow Like Ashes. There was everything I would have expected in a follow up to a favourite novel. There was growth, there was more world-building, there were new characters, there was romance, there was magic, there was political maneuvering. Everything. There was less action than the first one but I was alright with that since we got some awesome new characters, a chance to see other kingdoms, and the chance to see Meira both struggle and accept being a queen.
This time the book was told mostly in Meira’s POV but had some Mather POV chapters thrown in. This worked well to show the main journey of Meira as queen gathering allies, working to discover the chasm’s secrets, but also showed the reader what was happening back in Winter while she was away. I thought Mather’s POV was also really important to show his thought process to why he was acting the way he was. Without it, I fear I may have come to dislike him a bit but instead, I found myself empathetic toward him and really liking his eventual growth.
There were great new characters introduced in this book. My favourite was Ceridwen, Summer’s princess. She was fearless and just plain awesome. The Children of the Thaw were all great too and I look forward to seeing what kind of role they will play in the future.
It hurt a bit to see Meira and Theron at such odds with each other throughout the book. The way Theron believed in good and wanting to see peace and all the kingdoms united, the way he wanted the world to work, it reminded me a lot of Captain Dylan Hunt from Andromeda and his quest to restore the Commonwealth. Meira’s beliefs were completely the opposite in that no one should be trusted with the magic and have the chance to become like Spring’s fallen king, Angra. Without magic, there would be no decay to fear. Both wanted to keep people safe but had different ideas on how to achieve that goal.
We saw Meira struggle with now being a queen, what it meant for her now, how she had to change parts of herself for her kingdom. It was a believable struggle and, adding on the horrors of the war they had just fought, it was a wonder that she was all set to go back out and defend her people. Her main thoughts and desires were always to keep her people, the people she loved, her kingdom, safe. I admired her spirit and strength in the first book and now, I got to see her intelligence and her heart in this second one.
The book was slower paced than the first but I didn’t mind it. There was always something going on, mostly traveling and political talk instead of fighting, but it was nice to have these characters I’ve come to love not in be danger at every page’s turn. It was more like every fifth page this time around, until the last 15-20% of the book when it was all action, fast-paced, high-intensity, couldn’t breathe kind of reading. It set up the next book so perfectly and it broke me into lots of little pieces until I can be fixed with the third book. Hopefully.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.