Frost Like Night

28512486by Sara Raasch
YA Fantasy
4 of 5 stars

This series had so many ups and downs for me–the first book intrigued me, the second bored me, and this one brought everything together in a satisfying conclusion!

Meira receives a guide to ending Angra’s decay when Rares appears and offers to impart all the knowledge of the Order of the Lustrate. Mather wants to protect Meira at all costs–which is difficult when he realizes she’s gone to Paisley without him. And Ceridwen has no time to heal her broken heart–someone has to organize an army to help Meira and that’s her. All of them have only days to defeat Angra before the Decay claims all the kingdoms and binds them into an empire of fear and darkness.

Meira’s journey is emotional and struck the same chords as other fantasy trilogies I read this year–I love reading about these young women finding confidence in themselves despite terrible hardships and overwhelming responsibilities.

Mather and Ceridwen have equally powerful character arcs which is such a refreshing thing. Sometimes side characters don’t have the same vibrancy but in this book I was never inclined to skip ahead to Meira’s chapters. Mather must come to terms with what protecting Meira truly means, and Ceridwen has to decide if the deep scars on her heart will ever let her live and love again.

There is a lot of plot to cover in this finale but battle plans and information are deftly handled for the most part. (There’s a bit of a rush to explain how all the magic works and what Meira needs to do but after that it’s smooth sailing). It’s not a perfect happily ever after but it’s an ending worthy of the characters. Definitely my favorite book of the trilogy!

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Frost Like Night is available on Goodreads and on Barnes & Noble’s website here. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!


Similar reads:

  • The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski – This is another immensely satisfying end to a trilogy. Kestrel and Arin have never been further apart, but both of them are working to end the war between their kingdoms. Kestrel must survive and escape a work camp, and Arin must decide if he can forgive the girl he loves–especially now that their relationship hangs by a thread. See my review here.
  • Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor – An incredible end to an incredible trilogy! Karou and Akiva strive to bring peace between seraphs and chimaera with the added complication of seraphs invading present-day Earth. This book astounded me with the complexity of its plot and characters! See my review here.
  • Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – This is a fast-paced story with multiple kingdoms all fighting to capture Safi, a rare Truthwitch than can always tell truth from lies. The pacing and multitude of complicate character relationships remind me a lot of the Snow Like Ashes trilogy. See my review here.
  • Abhorsen by Garth Nix – The end of the first three books finds Lirael and Sabriel fighting to destroy Orannis before the dark power destroys the world. It’s an epic end to the story of two women discovering their powers and their destinies to step in when no one else can.
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What to read again:

Ever since Harry Potter I’ve enjoyed re-reading the previous books in a series before the next one comes out. You get to soak up all the nuances and speculate about what’s going to happen next—it just makes the whole experience richer and more fun! What am I going to start re-reading?

Snow Like Ashes series by Sara Raasch

This is a unique trilogy about a girl’s hidden destiny and the political savvy required to rule a kingdom coming back from the brink of destruction. The economics and alliances feel very true to life and I’m excited to see how Meira’s decisions steer the kingdom of Winter! (See my reviews here and here). Although the second book surprised me and wasn’t entirely what I hoped for in the sequel, I’m still impatiently waiting to see what happens next! I don’t want to spoil anything, so just pick up these gorgeous books before the last one comes out next month!

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Ice Like Fire

17404295by Sara Raasch
YA Fantasy
2 of 5 stars
sequel to Snow Like Ashes

Snow Like Ashes took a while to grab me, but once it did I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, this one failed to engage my interest. The bulk of it (and it is a hefty length) is spent on indecisive and repetitive politics. The fiery, headstrong Meira is gone, replaced by an unprepared child-queen desperate to protect Winter but without the assets or knowledge to do so. Facing this, she spends most of her time lamenting her lost status as a simple warrior and her ineptitude as a politician.

We get a split narration with Mather, but this doesn’t serve to move the plot along until about the two-thirds point. It was challenging to connect to Meira’s voice in the first book, and some pacing oddities prevented it from being a flawless debut. This book veers off in unexpected directions that spend a lot of time building up to a rushed and chaotic conclusion. All the action in the last 100 pages is cinematic but overwhelming after so much plodding exposition. Overall, the characters felt like they were being pushed through actions they didn’t fully support or understand. I’m not sure what to expect from the conclusion to the trilogy. This was a tough book to review, but I still hold out hope that the last book will make sense of it all.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Ice Like Fire is available on Goodreads and on Powell’s store website here. Powell’s has several locations in Oregon, and is one of the largest independent bookstores in the country. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!


Similar reads:

  • The Infinite by Lori M. Lee – This sequel further explores the powers of the Infinite and the fragile political and economic ties between Ninurta and the surrounding area. Kai finds herself being an ambassador with no experience trying to prevent a deadly war. See my review here.
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – Although this wasn’t my cup of tea, it seems to have wide appeal, so I recommend this for similar style and tone, and the brewing political tension between the Silvers and Reds that entangles Mare. See my review here.
  • Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George – Cousins Dacia and Lou find themselves less than eager to deal with the family secret of shape-shifting, but getting out of it is harder than they think. Especially since the family has extensive plans for their powers. See my review here.
  • The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski – For a politically-driven YA fantasy that’s a bit faster-paced and more interesting, I recommend this sequel. Kestrel’s struggle to balance her engagement-alliance with her country and her true love for Arin and his country has her walking a knife’s edge that is addicting to read. See my review here.

What’s new this month

You can now search my book reviews by author – additional organization, hurrah!

Also: It’s the best time of the year for books! Here are a few I’m looking forward to this month:

10/1 – The Anatomy of Curiosity – by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna YovanoffAnatomy of Curiosity

This collection of short stories gives insight into the creative process behind writing. These three women have been critique partners for years, and not only do you get a sample of their work, you can see how they work together. For anyone who wonders “How does a writer puts those words on the page, anyway?” or writers who want to pick up some tips, I have a feeling this will be fun and informative.

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


Carry On10/6 – Carry On – by Rainbow Rowell

This is so weirdly meta, I cannot wait! Rowell’s best-seller, Fangirl, followed introvert fanfiction writer/college student Cath. Cath’s popular serialized novel “Carry On” was set in the same world as the Simon Snow series (a Harry Potter-esque series within the Fangirl universe) with the main characters Simon and Baz in a gay relationship instead. Rowell has said she isn’t writing this novel as Cath or as Gemma (the fictional writer of the Simon Snow series) so I don’t really know what to expect. But it’s real fiction of fictional fanfiction with a touch of Harry Potter satire and that is just cool.

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


10/13 – Ice Like Fire – by Sara RaaschIce Like Fire

The sequel to the wildly popular Snow Like Ashes is finally here, with beautiful cover art and the promise of more political intrigue and relational drama between Meira, Theron, and Mather. The rumored chasm of magic is discovered, and the three have very different ideas as to how to use it to best serve the kingdom of Winter and the world. The first book had some rough patches, but I’m hoping this one will iron those out. I have a feeling the battle over natural resources might mirror situations in our own lives.

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


Career of Evil10/20 – Career of Evil – by Robert Galbraith

The third installment in the crime noir series following detective Cormoran Strike and his idealistic assistant Robin Ellacott promises more intrigue, nefarious schemes, and interpersonal drama. These novels are like watching an old detective show–in atmosphere, not in cheesy dialogue–and I can’t wait to see where Strike ends up next! Robin is starting to come into her own as she develops her sleuthing powers, and the tension between her and her fiance is mounting as she puts off getting “a real job.” Although you could probably read these as standalone mystery novels, I’d recommend reading the previous books (The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm) first.

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


10/13 – The Rose Society – by Marie LuThe Rose Society

The much-anticipated sequel to The Young Elites follows Adelina as she plots revenge against her numerous enemies. Full confession, I just read the first book a few days ago! It deserves its amazing reviews and Adelina is a unique heroine among the YA crowd. I fell in love with it – this is a fantastic series and I can’t wait to follow Adelina’s journey further. By a stroke of luck, I found an ARC in the wild, so I’ll have a review ready quite soon!

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


Newt's Emerald10/13 – Newt’s Emerald – by Garth Nix

Originally a Kindle exclusive, the hardcover version of this alternate England story comes out in the US this month! Lady Truthful (“Newt” to her friends) goes to London to track down her family’s missing emerald. Of course she discovers there’s more to the mysterious crime–and her disguise as a boy is precarious at best. This looks really fun and a bit different from his other work, so I can’t wait to check it out. Plus the dust jacket is beautiful!

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

Snow Like Ashes

17399160by Sara Raasch
YA Fantasy
3 of 5 stars
Debut novel – October 14, 2014

I admit I was hesitant to check out this series at first because it has been hyped so much to me, but I finally got on board. A first person present tense narrative is unusual for fantasy, and I like seeing new techniques in popular genres. And the cover art is gorgeous and there’s a pretty map inside, and I can’t say no to that!

The first 150 pages felt very slow, mostly because I was conflicted about the orphan soldier, Meira. She has a passionate devotion to her fallen kingdom, Winter, but as someone who spent over a decade training for battles, she felt inept and overwhelmed any time she encountered conflict.

The middle of the book smoothed out the pacing, but I followed Meira’s thoughts and reactions like a seesaw. One minute she feels confident and decisive, she has a plan, she knows her feelings, she pulls you in. The next, she’s distracted by something and is telling me what she wants (always italicized) while at the same time acknowledging she shouldn’t want whatever it is (a relationship with Mather, approval from Sir, choosing her own fate) and then she decides to go along with the opposite of her dreams. Meira tells you a lot, but I had a hard time connecting to her. There are definitely moments of intense sympathy for Meira’s situation (and some truly beautiful lines!), but just when I started to feel like a part of her story and the world, I would get jolted out of it by something immature Meira says or does. I admit I’m a picky person with narration, but I found Meira’s voice distracting, especially since she is also slow to realize obvious plot developments.

The sequel Ice Like Fire comes out this fall, and I like Meira’s world and potential character arc enough to check it out. This is a debut novel, and I think the author has a lot of potential.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Snow Like Ashes is available on Goodreads and its parent company Amazon. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!


Similar reads: 

  • Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M Lee – An orphaned teenage girl surviving in a magical, post-apocalyptic city discovers why she can see and manipulate the threads of time, and what it means for her destiny. See my review here, as well as the sequel’s review here.
  • The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – An orphaned teenage girl living in the desert gets taken in by a nomadic, magical Hillfolk tribe and learns her destiny is to become a legendary warrior that could save her kingdom. This is part of a duology about the magical country Damar. See my review here.
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – An orphaned girl cursed with the fairy “blessing” of obedience tries to obtain her freedom before the curse puts her in her evil stepmother’s power forever. This is a cute, middle-grade retelling of Cinderella with a lot of original material.

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