Release date: October 13, 2015
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.
Ice Like Fire takes us on a tour of Primoria, with Meira struggling in her role as the new Winterian Queen, and trying to gain support for her kingdom through alliances to overthrow Cordell’s control. While they are still indebted to Autumn and Cordell, Noam wields a stronger hand, forcing Winter to almost be his, in a way. Meira chafes under it and would no sooner drive him out of her kingdom, but she does need his help. Her primary ally, Theron, also assures her that he will not let a takeover happen. But their interests clash when the magic chasm in unearthed. From then, any hope their relationship has goes flying off in the winter air. Because she is not just a Winterian pawn now; she is the Queen and has to think about her kingdom first. You can see her fighting between being Meira and being the Queen.
So, the lying and subterfuge begins; with her racing against him to find the secrets of the chasm to close up magic forever, and him trying to seduce her into compliance. Between this, Mather emerges once again as a contender for her affections, but I’m not ready to jump ship yet. The other interesting thing is politics – she is naive in that regard, and is immediately underestimated by all the royals she approaches. Theron, though smart in politics, can be so stupid with his world-peace agenda – anyone with a brain can see that’s a pipe dream. Meira learns to think beyond her kingdom when she sees other kingdoms in Primoria and how they are ruled, and her resolve grows stronger.
While the plot was pretty exciting, I couldn’t help be underwhelmed by how easily she finds the keys. Like they were supposed to be test, and even she is surprised that they are easy. The betrayal was not much of a surprise, since the clues were handed out earlier on, and by the last third of the book I was only dreading what was to come. It came and well, I was underwhelmed again. Well, not entirely – the scandal of the Ventralli royals was definitely interesting. The ending was left on sort of a cliffhanger, with things no better than they were during the first. I really wish to see how Meira gets out of this mess. Oh, and special mention – isn’t that cover just gorgeous!!
Received a free galley from Balzer + Bray; this does not influence my opinions or review.