I wanted to write quick reviews of these two because I just haven’t gotten to them, but they deserve some attention! Hopefully these bite sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!
Published by Balzer & Bray on 10/14/14
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.
This book definitely lived up to the hype. Raasch does a fantastic job with the worldbuilding. I loved the kingdoms built on the seasons and how that affected both the environments and the people. Then there was the magic – and the non-seasonal kingdoms that had none. Meira’s kingdom, Winter, had been conquered by Spring when she was just a baby, and her people had been without a queen, and therefore without magic, ever since. There were only a handful of Winterians still free, and they were fighting to put their kingdom back into the hands of Mather, their rightful king. But even if they were able to do that, they wouldn’t have magic until Mather had a female heir. Of course, things don’t go the way that Meira and the other Winterians imagine.
I was a fan of the romance between Mather and Meira, which was established at the very beginning of the book, but another love interest was also introduced (Theron) and quickly gained ground. The love triangle was the only aspect of the book I wasn’t crazy about, even though I did like both guys.
Published by Balzer & Bray on 10/13/15
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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.
Okay, so this second book was not as strong as the first. If you weren’t a fan of Mather in the first book, you probably won’t love everything about this one, since part of the book is from his POV – but I did like Mather, and I actually enjoyed his POV. The main problem with this book was that there just wasn’t enough happening. Meira and Theron go off to try to find allies, but she starts to realize that her goals are at odds with Theron’s – he really wants to bring magic to everyone, and she fears the magic that already exists – she starts to see the dangers. A lot of the first part of the book is spent with her in internal conflict over this, along with her feelings for Mather and her fears over being the queen.
The quest for allies (and for some magical items that I won’t talk about) just wasn’t quite interesting enough to captivate me (though I won’t go so far as to say I was bored). I found myself waiting for something more exciting to happen – which it did, later in the book. The book definitely ended on a high note, which made me eager to keep reading. A bit of middle book syndrome here, but I did still enjoy it overall. I give it 3.5/5 stars.