Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Blog Tour: Ice Like Fire

Ice Like Fire
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy. ASAP if I was you. 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher 

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.

Couple things, before we get this blog tour review on the road. First off, you get the GoodReads synopsis because I'm still trying to process what I just read and my brain can't get past the WHAAAAAAT of it all to compose a synopsis that's spoiler free. Second, for my stop on the blog tour, you're getting a review yaaaaay! Obvious, I know, but pre-warning to anyone visiting my blog for this blog tour....this review is going to be me, being informal, and fangirly and freaking out about what I just read okay! THIRDLY and finally, word of warning. This book will crush you. It will destroy your feels. It will wreck your ships, and you will love every freaking moment of it. Until the end, because then it's like "WHAT?! NO! YOU CAN'T DO THIS TO ME" then you're like, love it but at the same time damn you Sara! So, we all clear on all of that? Good. 

I made the time to re-read Snow Like Ashes before I started to read this because I needed a bit of a refresher and I was just in the mood. I kinda think you should all re-read before you start Ice Like Fire because it lets you appreciate how cleanly the series continues! As well as building the anticipation for the next book, because hey...may as well right?! 

Snow Like Ashes introduced us to a fantastically unique world that we all got completely lost in as we read. It was full of twists and turns and shocking reveals that had us staring at the page trying to process everything. Most of all, it was brimming with emotion and characters you got attached to an unhealthy amount. Ice Like Fire is no exception, it has all of that and more. So much more. 

We're straight back in to the action, catching up with all the characters as the plot kicks in to motion. I love Meira so much it's ridiculous. I will literally fight anyone about her. I connected to her so easily in the first book, and in this book that connection continues and is made stronger. You can relate to Meira, you feel for her. She continues to grow as she tries to be the best Queen she can be, and as she struggles you are right there with her, feeling everything she feels. I love getting to see more and more of Meira and how she reacts to other situations and how she rules Winter and what trouble she gets in, but it has to be said...she makes me feel all the feels. 

Straight away, for instance. I felt some intense rage at Cordell and Noam. I mean, he was kind of a douche in the first book and I wanted to smack him one, but he inspired so much rage in this book. Seriously, he's such a greedy *insert swear word here*. I actually, in my notes, asked Sara a question but the end of the book made it redundant! Anyway,  he truly is a repulsive character, and I think it's a combination of connection to Meira, and therefore kinda being on her side and feeling what she does, and the author just writing Noam so well that makes you really hate him. Or maybe I just get way to emotionally involved in books, either way, I felt some intense rage. That's not even the least of it, this book makes you feel so many emotions as you follow the characters and what's happening, but be prepared to feel a lot of anger towards certain characters. 

So yes. Feels are felt. Anger, betrayal (is that a feel? Oh well), sadness, happiness, you pretty much are going to feel everything because of these characters, and you're gonna love it but it's also kind of emotionally intense and leaves you at the end kind of just sitting there like...woah. 

Moving swiftly on, before I waffle on more....Mather! We get Mather's POV as well this book to keep us up to date with what's occurring in Winter while Meira is away and it was so interesting. Without being spoilery, there's stuff going on and it's very interesting to get Mather's side of things, and it's such a well done POV. The switches are kind of perfect, even the ones that interrupt "OMG" moments for Meira and you're like "Now Mather? You want a POV NOW?". The new POV is something that enhances the book, adding a new level. You don't have to hear about what's been going on second hand and adds another level to the book, and there's no overlapping with the same scene verbatim twice in a row. I think other plans will be very pleased to get inside Mather's head! Not to mention that Mather is dealing with the whole parentage thing!

Now I've mentioned Mather, I feel like I should mention Theron. I really wanted to smack him one for the majority of the book. Like, really badly. In the first book, I found it hard to  pick a ship. I loved Theron but I also loved Mather, and even though Mather hurt her and Theron was seemingly perfect, I still couldn't quite decide on a ship. This book has drastically changed things. As I started I was still "hmmm" and undecided, but as issues where worked through and you got to see Mather's thoughts.....I decided. I am firmly Team Mather! Don't get me wrong, I wanted to smack Theron one, but at times he was still his old self, you'll see what I mean properly when I read, but Mather and Meira, despite all the hassle, are kind of perfect together, I think. But we'll see. Who knows what'll happen in the third book that'll make me change my mind...possibly! So for me, I feel like the love triangle has been resolved. 

I thought the triangle was very well done, and I loved the romance in the first book and even more so in this book, even though it takes a backseat to all the drama playing out. When I started this book, I was curious as to how it would be resolved because I just couldn't see a side, but then ya know....Mather. So problem solved for me, but I don't know what the author has up her sleeve!

While we see a lot of our favourite characters, Mather, Theron and so on. We also get to see lots more of Nessa and her brothers, and I was so excited about that because I was so intrigued by them in the first book and loved them so much and I was happy to see they weren't kind of, forgotten about or something and where rather prominent in this book! I feel we got to know them a lot better and I loved how Meira has this close knit group to help her, even if she is determined to go it alone!

Besides are favourites, we also meet a whole host of other characters in this book, some not so great, some fantastic. The cast of characters in the book are just....insanely rich. There's all kinds of people, all kinds of personalities and each one comes to life as you read, whether you  like them or not, and they're all fun to read about as you try to work out how they tick, and if they're trustworthy or not. 

I've got to say, I freaking love Ceridwen. She is one of my new favourites, I kinda loved her from the beginning to be honest! She's a lot like Meira and is therefore, kind of the perfect friend for her and I spent the book so desperately hoping Meira would trust her and let her in! Aside from being a good friend to Meira, she was also incredibly interesting. There's a lot going on with Ceridwen and a lot of it you don't see until the end, and then your heart kind of aches for her, and after finishing the book I'm actually scared for her! She's a fantastic character, and it would be such a shame to kill her off...wouldn't it Sara? (Please agree!) 

Anyway, enough fingerling over Ceridwen! She has a brother, Simon, the King of Summer. I wanted to like him, but I kind of didn't. It's actually really hard to like him. I think he redeems himself a bit towards the end but still. There's Ceridwen's mate Lekan, definitely interested in his character and how he came to be buddies with Ceridwen. There's Queen Giselle of Yakim, I'm hoping she'll come in to play at some point in the next book! The rather lovely Autumnian royals who I'd like to see more of in the next book, they where a lovely bunch! We have King Jesse of Ventralli, he wasn't really what I was suspecting and I kinda liked him, even if he wasn't really all that...great, shall we say. But then maybe my faith wasn't entirely misplaced! There's seriously loads of new characters and each is created with such care and detail and just makes you want to know more about them and their backstories! I'm incredibly interested in Jesse now, it has to be said! 

The fantastic thing about Ice Like Fire is that it makes you feel so much. You feel the emotions of the characters, yes, but you also feel the atmosphere of the book. It's so incredibly atmospheric that it comes off the page and swamps you. You can feel the tension, the suspense, the slightly threatening presence of the Cordellans, the menace, everything. Each chapter brings you further in to the atmosphere of the book, further in to the atmosphere of a new place, and each place has it's own atmosphere that distinguishes one from the other. It's one of the things that makes it so easy to disappear inside the book and get completely lost. I remember looking up at one point and hours had passed and I had no idea, so enthralled was I!

One thing I loved about the first book was the world. It was unique, it was vivid, it came to life and sucked you in and left you wanting to know more, see more. Ice Like Fire allows you to do that. Like I said, you see Summer, Yakim and Ventralli. Each is different from the other. Summer is like, well Summer. Yakim kind of had some steampunk vibes, I thought. Ventralli, well the masks made me picture Venice a little bit to be honest! But each had it's own vibe, each had it's own very different setting from the other, and each enchanted you just as much as the last. I love how each Season embodies what you think of when you think of it. I love how the Rythms where different from that, but each just as different. Not just in looks, but also in the way they're run and what they value. 

I love how the author has created this hugely expansive world, with so many different kingdoms, all different and unique from the others and all so vividly brought to life by her words. She doesn't get bored, and half ass describing a kingdom, she puts the same amount of detail and effort in to each one, so you can paint a picture of it in your head and be enveloped in it. Not only does she do all this, but she does it in a concise way, without pages and pages of description, it's fantastic. You get completely transported to the different kingdoms. Although I STILL want to see more, and I'm intrigued by the mysterious final Rhythm it has to be said! Raasch really does give your imagination a workout, but I completely love it. 

The plot for this book is complex. It has quest vibes, with Meira and Theron setting out in search of knowledge about the Chasm. But it has an incredibly complex plot. There are SO many threads in the book. A dead slave in Summer, a strange librarian in Yakim, and more. All may seem like a stray thread, but they all come together with the larger plot points to create one giant, expertly woven plot that keeps you hooked. When all the pieces fall in to place and you realise what's really been going on, what's been in the works, you kind of just sit there staring at the book taking a moment to process and think back over the book and all the little clues you missed! 

There's tonnes of political plays, there's betrayal, heartbreak. There are so many plot twists, and each one completely stunned me, and blind sided me. I really, genuinely, did not see any of them coming. Seriously. It reached a point when I actually stopped even trying and just rolled with it, like riding a rollercoaster. The plot has you completely engrossed, and coupled with everything else, it makes a truly immersive read. I mean, some plot twists left me staring at the book in horror, others left me ready to throw the book in anger, and all left me wanting to keep reading. 

A lot goes on in this book, and as we come to the end, everything ramps up. The tension, the sense of something big coming. The final few chapters are heart pounding, nail biting and have you on the edge of your seat. You frantically turn pages as you try to read faster and faster, your heart sinking as you know something really, reaaaallllyyyy bad is going to happen. You can start to feel the third and final(?) book being set up, you know this book is leading in to an epic finale as the overarching plot comes in to play and you see it. The tension is nearly unbearable. And then.....


......that's it?! WHERE IS THE REST OF IT?! *flicks through pages* "No....this can't be the can't just leave me like this....WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME SARA?!". I am an actor, and I am allowed to be over dramatic, but SERIOUSLY....THAT. FREAKING. ENDING. So not okay. I so can't even. How am I supposed to endure the wait for the next book?! I can't deal with the not knowing and the state of peril we left the book in, really I can't. I mean, the reveals and then the "I'm off to do a Frodo and go up some mountains catch ya later losers" bit. This book is seriously filed under the "throw book against wall in anger/feels induced meltdown" category.  I didn't actually throw it, because you know...I was too busy frantically turning pages in case there was anything else, in case I missed a less perilous, heart stopping ending. There wasn't. I stuffed some candy corn in my mouth to cope. 

So. There you have it. My fangirl and rambly review. I'm still not over it. I'm still processing. If anyone has read it and wants to freak out with me, feel free to let me know. One thing is for sure, Ice Like Fire most certainly does not suffer from second book syndrome. It smashes the first book out of the water, and is the sequel I, and other fans I hope, where hoping for. Please, for my sanity, do not make me wait too long for the next book! 

Don't forget to check out the other fantastic bloggers on the tour! 

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