Friday, September 18, 2015

Review: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

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Review: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch
Ice Like Fire
Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes #2
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Publication date: October 13, 2015
by Balzer & Bray

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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.
-A copy was provided by Balzer + Bray for review-

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like something was… incomplete? That things dragged on more than they should have had? Like the story could’ve been tighter, could’ve had the same essential elements and plot points, AND still give a sense of completeness, as if this small story arc of a bigger story arc has been reached?

This is one of those days – those days where I felt nothing but underwhelmed.

You guys might be well-aware of my love for the first book. I flailed over it, gave it 5-fantastic-stars, and shoved the book (and its pretty cover!) pretty much to everyone’s faces, imploring them, demanding them, that they read Snow Like Ashes as soon as they could, and that I wouldn’t be accepting any flimsy excuses. It was a Young Adult fantasy with the Seasons as the theme for the four primary kingdoms out of eight, something I thought was pretty cool (and wished I had thought of before); it had a pretty kick-ass heroine who I thought was better than Celaena Sardothien; it had a premise that was, okay, unoriginal, but was written and executed in a way that made it a breath of fresh air.

So, as for the second book? I was all, BRING IT ON! MY BODY IS READY!

Only for me to end up as…

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A VERY, VERY SAD PANDA.

There are so many things in this book that simply didn’t click with me. I’ll just put them in list form, lest I go on a dragging rant (and I know for sure I’ve had enough of that today):

1.) Two POVS, two different perspectives and tenses? ME NO LIKEY. I really didn’t understand the need to do this. There are two POVs in this book – Meira’s and Mather’s. Meira is in 1st person present tense, and Mather is in 3rd person past tense and that not only confused the heck out of me, but bugged me so much that there were times I had to take a break because it was frustrating me. I get the use of this if both characters were in different timelines – like Meira was talking about things in the present, and Mather’s POVs were flashbacks, but that wasn’t the case at all. They were all in the same timeline so why use past tense in one POV? Maybe this is some sort of literary trick that I am not aware of, and that there is actually a need for it that only writers are aware of, but I just couldn’t get it… nevertheless, I know that a book is more than its verb tenses, so I tried my best to overlook it, but make no mistake, that I may or may not have rubbed my temples a dozen times because of this.

2.) What happened to the kick-ass Meira? In Snow like Ashes, this girl was my hero. She wanted to help in every way she can in order to retrieve their kingdom back. She fought and followed her heart and whatever she felt was the right thing to do, and it was so easy to stand by her and root for her and sympathize with her and her plight. Meira here is very, very different – she is overly-cautious and is very conflicted by what she wants to do and what she feels she must do. Even though she is ‘careful’ with the paths she chooses, she keeps making foolish decisions that bite her in the ass, and after these, gets conflicted again and we’re treated to her internal narrations that seem to repeat themselves over and over and over. I was just over it, really. I’m all for character development and such, but hers took its bloody damn time that by the last third of the book, I was just rolling my eyes at her inefficiency. It felt like this development of hers stalled for a long time in the middle of the book, and it just lost its magic on me. Gone were the intricate world-building that I loved in the next book, and it was filled with almost-monotonous self-loathing and self-pitying that I wanted to just bang my head onto a wall. I even skipped pages of this self-wallowing of hers and even went back to reading when the story finally moved from its periodical hibernation. Her “redemption” at the end happened far too late and at that point, I just wanted the story to get a move on already.

3.) Such a long book, but nothing was achieved, merely becoming a build-up to the third book. This is what I hate the most in this book – the fact that we were given a short-term goal in order to fulfill a long-term one, and the book ends in the middle of finishing short-term goal. This is why I am so particularly nitpicky with many trilogies/series, because there is a formula that I prefer them to follow: that every installment has a story and goals for itself, and when you put every book together, there is an even larger story in the background. This specific point is the number one reason why I feel so damn disappointed in this story, the fact that there this book is so long, and yet, it feels like it doesn’t achieve anything. They find two “keys” to a puzzle they need to solve (which they solve easily and without any difficulty, mind you), Meira spends 80% of the time wallowing in endless conflict, and then near the end, she goes back to being the Meira in the first book, we get some pretty anti-climactic revelations, and then that’s it. Did they achieve the goal they set out to do in the beginning of the second book? No, they did not. In fact, it could be said they were about to just start it at end of the book, so now I’m raging. I feel pretty cheated, to be honest, because I get that this is the sequel, but I want the sequel to feel complete, not half-assed. 

Basically, me:

Am I still going to read the third book? Yes, but I wouldn’t be anticipating it as much. Take my opinion as one of many, though. If the things above don’t bother you, then I’m sure you’d end up liking this.

2 Stars
2 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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8 Responses to “Review: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch”

  1. Hannah

    Underwhelming is the right adjective for this one. It was slow, the character development was poor, and the whole thing was essentially a glorified treasure hunt where it was so easy for Meira to find stuff that was supposed to be super-impossible to discover.

    Also, the tense changing DROVE ME NUTS!!!

  2. Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    I agree with you Faye, 110%. It’s a shame because the first book was so darn addicting and wonderful, but this felt so…dragging to me, and I felt there were so many scenes that could have been shortened or edited just a tad to make it a bit more exciting. I still really am looking forward to the series finale, though. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

  3. Kirsty-Marie Jones

    Oh no, oh no, oh no, nooooooooooooooooooo. Please don’t say it’s so.  I freaking loved Snow Like Ashes, too, read it not long after starting Throne of Glass, and just <3. I don’t know how I’ll feel about it until I read it obviously, but the present perspectives in different tenses is going to kill me. Great, self-loathing and self-pitying party going on. I-nope. At least she does go back to being her normal self towards the end, but yeah, it’s going to be a struggle to even care to get to that point. I'm underwhelmed already. Bad middle book. 