Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 397
a delight and an example
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
WHAT I LOVED:
One of my biggest complaints about Of Fire and Stars was its lacking characterization, but that’s been turned around and now the characterization is what makes this novel such an enthralling, fulfilling read. Denna and Mare spend the beginning of the novel together, but once Denna gets the opportunity to train and get control of her fire magic with Queen Invasya of Zumorda herself, she bids Mare a heartbreaking farewell and they remain separated for most of the novel.

This will be a dealbreaker for some readers who hate to see a couple separated from each other so soon in a sequel after they got together in the previous novel, but I’ll argue that it serves them both well. Awkward, antisocial Mare is now without Denna’s diplomatic skills, so she has to learn how to make political friends, strategize, and do things in a land where her title as a princess means nothing. Zumordan people even look down on her because she lacks magical abilities. Meanwhile, Denna has to fight. Everything she learned when she was intended to be a prince’s bride means nothing to other magical competitors she’ll have to physically and magically fight when her training with the queen comes to an end. The queen herself isn’t to be trusted either once she learns of Denna’s lineage.

If the girls had stayed together in the same place, they wouldn’t have found their independence, their strengths, and themselves. When the two meet again, they do so as women who have grown up, worked out the doubts and trust issues, and are now on equal ground with one another. Denna is in control and Mare is no longer afraid of or afraid for Denna.

WHAT LEFT ME WANTING:
The strides in both Denna and Mare’s characterizations are what carries this book, which is a good thing because the plot has some incredible problems, like the introduction of a seventh god not even the prequel Inkmistress hinted at and a villain who shouldn’t even be possible considering the events and ending of the aforementioned prequel. These plot holes are large enough that I can only hope they’re exclusive to the ARC I read and they were filled in before the book was finalized and put on sale. If not, we have a problem. I can’t easily double-check this either since it all comes about at the very end of the book.

Also toward the end of the novel, Mare–who has been learning to use a sword for two months and earning every advancement she made–is gifted a magical sword that literally has spells in it to make up the gap in the wielder’s swordfighting abilities and make them fight like a master swordsman. That’s almost exactly how the sword’s magic is explained in the novel. There was admittedly no way Mare would get her swordfighting abilities up to snuff for the final battle when the novel takes place over just two months, but the sword cheapens the hard work she’s put in and makes that effort on her part feel like it wasn’t worth anything.

FINAL VERDICT:
Though it’s equally as messy as its preceding volume in different ways, Of Ice and Shadows is a delight and an example of how to successfully improve on characterization in a sequel without breaking up the central couple or introducing new love interests. Though I still have many, many questions, this reads like the conclusion of a series and I don’t expect to get any answers. If what you need right now is joy regardless of quality, try Coulthurst’s series and read them in order by when they were released. Inkmistress is the strongest of the three overall, but they come together into a good story I won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Meanwhile
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Celebrate 10 years of this completely original graphic novel take...
Grant Beagan: The Finder's Code
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
He’s just an ordinary teenager who likes astronomy, video games,...
Fisher- Price Fun in the Jungle: Explore, Touch, and Feel
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Children will love exploring the different textures in this playful...
Glitter Globes: The Night Before Christmas
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
On the night before Christmas, all over the house, not...
Belinda Fellgate: HellCat
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A contemporary teen fantasy about an inept 14-year-old girl who...
Breathless
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From Jennifer Niven, the #1 New York Times bestselling author...
Music for Tigers
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Shipped halfway around the world to spend the summer...
Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A broken world. An overwhelming evil. ...
Kingdom of Ice and Bone (The Frozen Sun Saga, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lira and Reyker have lost everything. Including each other....
Sword of the Seven Sins
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Eva Marteinn never wanted to be a killer. Raised...
Things That Should Stay Buried
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Some destinies are written in the stars. Others must...
How It All Blew Up
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda goes to Italy...
Horrid
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
From the author of You Must Not Miss comes...
Tsalix Silverthorn and the Scepter of Destiny
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The latest phenomenal work from New York Times Bestselling author...
The Adventures of Bubba Jones (#4): Time Traveling Through Grand Canyon National Park
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the fourth book of this award-winning national park series,...
The Companion
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
The other orphans say Margot is lucky. Lucky to...

Latest Member Reviews

The Kingdom of Back
 
5.0
"Marie Lu’s The Kingdom of Back is an historical fantasy based on real-life talents, Wolfgang Amedeus Motzart and his sister,..."
Meanwhile
 
3.7
"'Meanwhile' by Jason Shiga is a graphic novel adventure that will remind readers of the types of books in which..."
Fisher- Price Fun in the Jungle: Explore, Touch, and Feel
 
4.5
"FUN IN THE JUNGLE is an adorable board book great for infants and young toddlers who are exploring the world..."
Glitter Globes: The Night Before Christmas
 
4.5
"THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS modifies the original poem to be more modern and easily understood by young children. The classic..."
Twisting Minds
 
4.8
"The story: At seventeen, Claire Harper’s life has taken a turn for the worse – her mother..."
Breathless
 
4.0
"BREATHLESS is a book about change, secrets, and the aftermath. Claudine (Claude) is about to graduate high school, and she..."
Fae's Prisoner (Crimes of the Fae)
 
5.0
"This is the book I didn’t know I needed! Fae’s Prisoner by M. Lynn & Melissa A. Craven is the..."
Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)
 
5.0
"SKYHUNTER is an enthralling and lush YA fantasy. Lu really paints the story with her words, and this new novel..."
The Library of Lost Things
 
5.0
"I wasn't sure what to expect with The Library of Lost Things, but I know I didn't anticipate a book..."
Fae's Prisoner (Crimes of the Fae)
 
5.0
"After reading Queens of the Fae, I had such mixed feelings about Griffin... but now I love him! This book..."
Goddess in the Machine (Goddess in the Machine, #1)
 
5.0
"Andra, a teenager from the 2160s, is put into cryogenic stasis fulling expecting to wake up on another planet one..."
Just Shelby
 
N/A
"ARCs available for review @XpressoBookTours: http://xpressobooktours.com/2020/09/10/review-opportunity-just-shelby-by-brooklyn-james/?fbclid=IwAR2v9c-b9Z0YagynLTaMCNt-c-WW6nmWYZbuVBZYFoGNADs5c-DD6YayMGU"
Kingdom of Ice and Bone (The Frozen Sun Saga, #2)
 
4.0
"KINGDOM OF ICE AND BONE picks up where the first book left off. Lira and Reyker are separated and each..."
How It All Blew Up
 
5.0
"HOW IT ALL BLEW UP is an absolutely riveting coming-out story. Amir Azadi is an Iranian American who has always..."
Music for Tigers
 
3.7
"A vividly descriptive Middle-Grade work with an ecological focus--enriched by elements of music, friendship, and atypical neurology. When her..."
The Magic Misfits: The Fourth Suit (The Magic Misfits, #4)
 
5.0
"THE FOURTH SUIT is a fantastically magical finale. Ridley begins with a inventor's fair which she is entering with the..."
Duck and Penguin Do Not Like Sleepovers
 
4.0
"DUCK AND PENGUIN DO NOT LIKE SLEEPOVERS is an overall cute book about two stuffed animals whose owners are BFFs..."
Fussy Flamingo
 
4.5
"FUSSY FLAMINGO is an adorable fictional tale about a flamingo named Lola that doesn't want to eat shrimp. Instead, her..."
The Shadow Mission (The Athena Protocol, #2)
 
4.3
"THE SHADOW MISSION is an even better sequel to THE ATHENA PROTOCOL with lots of action and spy-related danger. In..."
Horrid
 
4.3
"HORRID is an intensely creepy story that follows Jane and her mother, Ruth. Jane's father has just died and after..."