BOOK REVIEW: Ice Like Fire – by Sara Raasch

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Title: Ice Like Fire
(Snow Like Ashes #2)
Author: Sara Raasch
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: October 13th 2015
Finished reading: April 4th 2016
Pages: 479
Rating 2,5qqq

“Magic is all about choice. Choosing to use it, choosing to surrender to it, choosing to take it from the chasm – choosing to let it break in defense of a kingdom. The most powerful magic of all is choice, and of that power, the strongest choice anyone can make is an act of sacrifice.”

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I remember feeling a bit hesitant to pick up Snow Like Ashes earlier this year, but I ended up really enjoying it despite the love triangle. The worldbuilding of this series is more than excellent and I have been wanting to read the sequel ever since to find out what happens next. Did I have too high expectations of Ice Like Fire? Maybe. But what I can honestly say is that the sequel isn’t nearly as good as Snow Like Ashes. This seems to be yet another series suffering uffering from the weak-second-book syndrom… It has a slow pace, a love triangle and main character (Meira) that are both terribly annoying and I don’t really like the new plot either… It all feels a bit chaotic, unnatural and not really believable. While I liked Meira in the first book, in Ice Like Fire she seems to have lost her charm and she really started to bother me. I don’t particularly like her new ‘mission’ either and the many plot twists didn’t make a lot of sense other than being able to confuse you even further. Sure, the worldbuilding is interesting and probably still the best part of this sequel, but I’m not sure what to make of the rest of the story. Do I still want to read the third book? Probably yes, but I do hope things will improve drastically in Frost Like Night.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book yet. I’ll keep the summary short but it’s almost impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Meira had to ask for the help of Cordell in order to free her Winterians and she is about to realize the full extent of this decision. Sure, it has been three months since the Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared, but she is not sure Winter is actually safer for it… She just wants her people to be safe, but it looks like Cordell isn’t going to ease its pressure until her debt is fully paid for. The still weak Winterians are forced to dig their mines for payment, but that is not the only thing they are looking for… As Cordell wants them to try to find Primoria’s lost chasm of magic as well. Theron sees the chasm as an opportunity to finally stand against threats like Angra, but Meira fears this much power would be dangerous. The last time the world has access to that much magic, it spawned the Decay… And while Theron wants to find a way to open the chasm, Meira secretly wants to gather support to keep the chasm shut. They all seem to be fighting for different reasons; what consequences will their actions have?

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In a way I wish Snow Like Ashes would have been a stand-alone and I would never read the sequel, because it kind of spoiled the series for me. While I really enjoyed the first book and even tolerated the love triangle (which is a miracle on its own), I can’t say I particularly liked Ice Like Fire. The ‘new’ plot is mostly chaotic and doesn’t make a lot of sense after one too many plot twist, the love triangle becomes more important than ever (and thus annoying) and I didn’t like how the main characters behaved either. The worldbuilding is still good and I liked the descriptions of the different Primoria kingdoms, but unfortunately the rest of it just didn’t convince me.

BOOK REVIEW: Snow Like Ashes – by Sara Raasch

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Title: Snow Like Ashes
(Snow Like Ashes #1)
Author: Sara Raasch
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: October 14th 2014
Finished reading: February 4th 2016
Pages: 416
Rating 4qqq

“That’s why literature is so fascinating. It’s always up for interpretation, and could be a hundred different things to a hundred different people. It’s never the same thing twice.”

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I have been wanting to start this series ever since I first saw the gorgeous cover and read the blurb, but somehow I was afraid to actually pick it up. There has been quite a hype around Snow Like Ashes and I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews, but luckily I ended up enjoying it better than I thought I would. First of all, the worldbuilding is more than excellent and it really made me wish I could visit the fictional world myself. Sara Raasch created a magical world of different seasons where Winter is trying to get their kingdom back by defeating powerful Spring. I liked the characters in general, especially Meira, and I really enjoyed seeing her character develop along with the story. I experienced a minor setback about a third into the story when a love triangle was introduced, but luckily Snow Like Ashes didn’t turn out to be one of those YA fantasy series where the sappy romance scenes are the main focus. It is actually the exact opposite: the story follows the last Winterians in their struggle to survive, protect the King and win back their kingdom… A lot of action, a lot of suffering and a very interesting story to read. It might not be my all time favorite YA fantasy series, but that doesn’t take away that I’m really looking forward to read the sequel.

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Only a handful Winterians are left to try and win back their Kingdom of Winter. Sixteen years ago their kingdom was conquered by Spring and most citizens enslaved, but the future King, baby Meira and their companions managed to escape. They have been training all their lives to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild Winter, but things are not easy. Without their magic it is hard to fight against the powerful Spring kingdom, and there are only a few Winterians left… Meira is determined to help the cause, but Winterians’ general Sir doesn’t want to risk her life. Her best friend, future king and the boy she is hopelessly in love with, Mather, helps Meira convince Sir to let her go on a mission, and things get more complicated from there… And soon they are forced to enter the world of dangerous and treacherous politics to help their cause. Will they succeed?

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I was a bit hesitant to read Snow Like Ashes after all those mixed reviews, but I ended up enjoying it a lot better than I thought I would. The story does have a love triangle which is a minor setback, but fortunately it doesn’t play too big of a role in the novel. I loved the worldbuilding and Meira is a great character; I will definitely try to read the sequel Ice Like Fire soon to see how the story continues.

WWW Wednesdays #77 – February 10th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m still not that far into Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, but I plan to change that today. Hopefully I will like it as much as everyone that has recommended this novel to me! I’m also still decided whether to DNF Eve by Iris Johansen or not. I have put it on hold for now, but the combination of a misleading blurb (it was supposed to be the first in a trilogy, but ended up being book number twelve in a series, so a lot of background is missing) and sexual attraction/romance scenes that make me cringe really make me not want to continue reading it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch, a book I ended up enjoying despite my initial reservations about the love triangle. I loved the worldbuilding, plot and action and will be picking up the sequel soon.
* I then picked up Never Never Part Three by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher to finally find out how the story ends, and I ended up being VERY disappointed with how they decided to conclude the story.
* I was actually going to DNF the last read, Death Of Secrets by Bowen Greenwood and in a way I wish I did, because it really was a bad read. Lousy characters, chaotic plot and I didn’t like the prose either… I just couldn’t concentrate on the story even though the general idea of the story does have potential.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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As soon as I finish Me Before You, I will pick up All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I was actually planning on picking it up during the weekend but I didn’t have a lot of time to read… I also want to make a start with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon so I can finally begin with this series I have been wanting to read for ages. And I want to give Gillian Flynn another go and read her other novel Sharp Objects as well. My latest TBR jar pick is still Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider.

WWW Wednesdays #76 – February 3rd

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m close to finishing Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch… It took me long enough! I still love the worldbuilding and the story is quite interesting, although I’m not completely blown away by it either. I also picked up my copy of Eve by Iris Johansen during my days away camping, but I don’t really like it so far. The case sounds interesting, but I feel I miss a lot of background information and the whole sexual attraction/romance scenes are cringe worthy. Fingers crossed things will improve later on!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Only one book finished this week: Confessions by Kanae Minato. It took me a little while to get used to the writing style, but as soon as I started reading the second confession (chapter), I was hooked. A very dark, disturbing but intriguing read!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I finally have a copy of All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, so I’m planning to pick it up soon. I might read Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas first though, since I really loved the first book in the series… And I want to give Gillian Flynn another go and read her other novel Sharp Objects as well. My latest TBR jar pick is still Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider.

Teaser Tuesdays #79 – February 2nd: Snow Like Ashes

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at A Daily Rhythm. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I still haven’t finished Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch… It’s taking me a long time to finish this one, although part of the ‘problem’ is that I was away camping for the last three days. It’s quite an interesting read and I really like the worldbuilding. The love triangle is a setback, but fortunately enough so far it hasn’t been as annoying as I initially thought.

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My teaser (57%):

“No one says a word, no one shouts orders, no one even breathes too loudly. We’re all just waiting in the heart-shattering anticipation of death marching toward us.”

What are you reading right now?

WWW Wednesdays #75 – January 27th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’ve started reading Confessions by Kanae Minato earlier this week, and although it’s an intruiging read I’m not sure if I actually like the writing style so far. I’ve also finally picked up my last TBR jar pick, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. So far it looks really promising!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings, which means I’ve finished my first series this year! I enjoyed this sequel just as much as the first book and I would really recommend it.
* I then finally picked up I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios, a book I absolutely loved. Kudos to the author for raising awareness to what war veterans are going through and doing that by writing this beautiful story in the process!
* The last book I managed to finish was my pending ARC Eternal War Armies Of Saints by Livio Gambarini. I loved the general plot and worldbuilding behind this story and it was really interesting, but it was quite a slow read and I did have some minor problems with it. More in the review!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I loved the first book in the Veronica Mars series, so I’m probably going to read the sequel Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas next. I have also been thinking of finally picking up The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken… Although I might read Defending Jacob by William Landay first. Last but not least, Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider is my new TBR jar pick.

WWW Wednesdays #74 – January 20th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’ve started reading my pending ARC, Eternal War: Armies Of Saints by Livio Gambarini yesterday. It’s a historical fiction/fantasy read and I’m really enjoying it so far! I’ve also finally picked up The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings… I have been wanting to read this sequel for too long now so I’m glad I finally did.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished is Illuminae by Amie Kaufman. People kept recommending this book to me and I have to say it was just as good as I thought it would be. Minor complaint: I NEED a physical version because the creative layout doesn’t look nearly as good on my kindle. 😦
* I then finished Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, which turned out to be quite a slow read and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I though I would. It’s more about the family history than it is about the missing girl… And somehow it didn’t manage to convince me completely.
* The last book I managed to finish (I DNFed Death Of Secrets by Bowen Greenwood) was The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas. Finally a good mystery read and a new series I can add to my favorites list!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I might try to read I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios next, although I’ve heard mixed things about it… Confessions by Kanae Minato is also still on my list as well, but I might read Defending Jacob by William Landay first since I’m in the mood for mystery/thriller reads. Last but not least, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch is still my newest TBR jar pick…