Of Ice and Shadows

Of Ice and Shadows

The long-awaited sequel to Of Fire and Stars—in which Mare and Denna travel to a new and dangerous kingdom where Denna must be trained to tame her magic by a mysterious queen who is not all she seems. Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and Tamora Pierce.Princesses Denna and Mare are in love and together at last—only to face a new set of dangers.Mare just wants to settle d...

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Title:Of Ice and Shadows
Author:Audrey Coulthurst
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Of Ice and Shadows Reviews

  • Cj

    *comes out of the closet* OF ICE AND SHADOWS!! 2019 you sneaky bastard better be quick! *slowly comes back to the closet and wait*

  • Lily L'Heureux

    OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!!!!!!!! THEY'RE COMING BACK! THEY'RE COMING BACK! I NEED TO FEEL THEIR LOVE ONCE MORE!!! OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!!!!!!! I CAN'T STOP SCREAMING WITH JOY!!!!! I WILL DEVOUR THIS BOOK ONCE IT COMES OUT!!!

  • Natasha

    3.5/5

    I think this was a great follow up and the author has vastly improved at world building, but, and it's definitely a me thing, I found the plot kind of dull? It does feel like it exists for a reason though, and I liked Denna's growth. I'm just not the biggest fan of books where a large chunk is training. But I did love the overall growth and I still love the relationship between Denna and Mare.

  • Ali

    This book is such a great follow up to

    . While the plot could have been expanded, the depth added to the magic system and the additional world-building from spending time in Zumorda really propelled the series in a great direction! I highly recommend continuing on with the series, and I hope for additional books in the future!

    The plot is one of the things that I wish the book would have done better. Honestly, I think the issue is that the book simply wasn’t long enough. Ther

    This book is such a great follow up to

    . While the plot could have been expanded, the depth added to the magic system and the additional world-building from spending time in Zumorda really propelled the series in a great direction! I highly recommend continuing on with the series, and I hope for additional books in the future!

    The plot is one of the things that I wish the book would have done better. Honestly, I think the issue is that the book simply wasn’t long enough. There was never a dull moment in the book; both Denna’s journey of learning her magic and Mare’s mystery-solving were entertaining and well planned. However, it felt very rushed and underdeveloped simply because an epic fantasy requires a lot of page/text to fully flesh out the adventure.

    We really glossed over Denna’s training at the queen’s magic school. The small bits that we get were well executed, but I wish we had been in the training room witnessing battles & had the opportunity to actually see her grow. There were too many instances where Denna has trouble learning a skill, gets tutoring on how to practice, and then we time-jump a few days into the future to where she’s now mastered that skill. I really wanted to see her struggle, learn, fail, improve, and finally master her powers; that’s where some of the best character development comes from! But purely because of the small size of the book and the over-arching political intrigue plot of the book means some things have to be sacrificed.

    In general, the book juggled too many plot threads:

    That is all a LOT of plot threads try to build up, flesh out, and draw to a close while also introducing the political system of Zumorda, explaining the magic system, and giving arcs to an entire new country of characters.

    I don’t wish that any of the plot points were left out. Given the minimal pages the author had, they were written as best as I think she could have. I just wish there had been more page space to fit it all in without feeling rushed and underdeveloped.

    One of the things I absolutely love about these books are the characters. The author finds a way to make these characters wholly and uniquely their own while also bypassing a lot of tropes. It’s actually very refreshing to read about a princess who genuinely wants to fulfill her duty and do as well of a job as she can instead of being feisty and running away from an arranged marriage. It’s nice to see characters who talk things out!

    : I really love how Denna doesn’t fall into the stereotype of a rebellious princess. It was actually really nice to read about a princess who truly wants to do right by her job and her country. It’s also really refreshing to read about a character who doesn’t have very much physical strength and shows that she’s useful due to her brains, the things she’s read, and her logic/reason; Denna isn’t portrayed as some nerd who is socially inept. In fact, she’s probably the most socially skilled character in the entire series specifically

    she’s well-read. She has

    of physical strength due to her uncontrollable magic, and I loved that she stood by her morals throughout the book; she started out as wanting to control her magic so she wouldn’t hurt people and stuck with those morals by the end when given the opportunity to hurt others. However, she did experience character growth from the experience; once again, it was refreshing to see Denna go from being a dutiful princess and actually develop into the rebellious princess stereotype who doesn’t do what she’s told. The way this character growth is done is also very unique:

    and that was a great, unique opportunity for character growth that I didn’t see coming.

    Again, Denna’s story was very rushed compared to Mare’s. I wish there had been more room to actually flesh out the character growth.

    : Mare’s character growth was everything. The way she started out as being so socially awkward, not understanding social cues, and relying on Denna’s advice for cultural sensitivity was a great start and source of conflict, especially as she’s a magic-less character now seeking respect in a country where power is determined by magical ability.

    , I love how slow and gradual her development is: her finding her own strengths as a political leader, gaining the respect of her fellow royals, and finding pride in the responsibility she once scorned. By the end of the book, Mare is leading literal armies into battle and making real sacrifices for the good of, not just her country and people, but other countries and peoples as well.

    You know how when you read a really long series then go back and read the first book again, you’re amazed by how much the character has changed? You almost don’t even recognize them because the MC has grown so much? The author managed to have Mare grow

    in just one book, and still felt gradual and natural. Very well done!

    : I also really quickly wanted to add that I love how realistic their relationship is. I like that we address their differences. After all, they did get together very quickly on a whim at the end of the last book. When they had fights in this book, I genuinely appreciated how no one stormed off in anger and they actually talked about their emotions. Even when Mare says some pretty harsh things, it was so nice to see Denna stay in-character and respond calmly. Communication works!

    There isn’t much to say here. The writing is very beautiful and immersive. The separation between Denna’s chapters vs. Mare’s chapters is very clear; they use different language and syntax given their differences in life experiences and education. There isn’t an over usage of figures of speech that makes it difficult to understand or info-dumps. Well done!

    The world-building in the book was a little bit more shaky, again due to the fact that the book was so short. In the first book, we didn’t have any explanation of the magic system at all; we were simply told the six gods (of the six elements) sometimes blessed certain people with elemental magic, and the people of Mynaria viewed these powers as heresy. Now in the second book, our story takes place entirely in a country that’s ruled by magic. From the politics, to the social norms, to the way the simplest tasks in life are operated, magic is what makes this country function. So, a significant amount of time needed to go into explaining this magic system and this new country, especially since Zumordans don’t worship the gods (the only explanation for magic we were given in the first book).

    Given the page count, I think the author did as well of a job as she could have, but it didn’t prevent the world-building from becoming flat in places. It hurts so much to say this because I can tell the author has plans for origins and limits of how her magic system works; she even wrote an entire prequel novel

    to explain the political and magical history of Zumorda. But in this book, it really felt like a soft magic system. The sources of magic, the limits of the powers, etc. are minimally or never explained. We're simply told Denna masters these skills without ever showing how or why she’s able to. The closest we get to an explanation is genetics: Denna has these amazingly strong powers because it’s in her family’s history. Case closed. There’s a little bit of a hint that power is connected with the gods, demigods, connectedness to nature, but it isn’t explored. It seemed like it was set up for a third book, but a third book isn’t confirmed as of this point.

    The author also relies far too much on

    when it comes to Denna’s magical growth. Any time Denna is falling behind but her magical skill needs to catch up with the plot, insert her all-powerful grandmother to just control her and force her to improve. That isn’t good writing and got pretty dull after the third time. How many gifts can the queen of Zumorda give her? More page time and more detail on Denna’s training would have helped.

    I truly hope this book series continues. Almost all of my complaints on world-building would be null and void with the promise of a third book. But as it stands, we aren’t confirmed to have a third book at the time I’m writing this, so I have to treat this as a singular book as opposed to the middle part of a longer series.

    Overall, I really, really loved

    . I love this world so much, and getting to explore more of it with characters I already love was a fun time. I hope for more books in this series; I think the series is still pretty low fantasy due to the soft magic system, but I still think the series as a whole has the potential to branch off into epic high fantasy. I hope it gets that chance!

  • mahana (moved accounts)

    Maybe I should’ve reread

    prior to picking this up, but I was too excited when the ARC arrived on my Kindle. If you have the chance to before

    , I’d definitely recommend. Unfortunately, there’s no way I was putting anything on hold to see my gay princesses together again.

    At the end of the first book, Mare and Denna are off on an adventure together. The princesses are seeking help for Denna to tame her magic, while Mare becom

    Maybe I should’ve reread

    prior to picking this up, but I was too excited when the ARC arrived on my Kindle. If you have the chance to before

    , I’d definitely recommend. Unfortunately, there’s no way I was putting anything on hold to see my gay princesses together again.

    At the end of the first book, Mare and Denna are off on an adventure together. The princesses are seeking help for Denna to tame her magic, while Mare becomes an ambassador for her kingdom. They’re finally able to be together with no interruptions or barriers.

    Everyone believes Denna is dead and Mare is acting as an ambassador to the distant kingdom Zumorda on behalf of her brother to attain a truce. However, they encounter a vicious attack along the way and it’s obvious Denna’s powers are becoming uncontrollable. Therefore, Mare needs to act like a diplomat and quickly establish an alliance to protect her home. However, the queen doesn’t warm up to her and instead takes an interest in Denna’s out of control powers. Their relationship is tested through a separation where Denna is trained in the use of her Affinity, and Mare stays in Zumorda to gain information and train in the art of swordsmanship.

    is a significant change from its precedent and brings back our beloved characters as they try to navigate a new kingdom and new foes. The heartbreak and sweetness Mare and Denna bring to the pages is as present as ever, and their character development is even more admirable. The political intrigue and influx of side characters could be confusing at times, but it’s an intense, emotional read that’ll have you clutching the book to your chest to wipe away the tears. I adore this series for paving the way for more F/F fantasy books to come on the market, and I love the lack of homophobia in this world. Mare and Denna’s love feels natural to everyone around them, as it should be.

  • Chantel (BW Reviews)

    I LOVE THIS TITLE. CAN'T WAIT!!

  • Rahma Abdelrahman

    (June 24, 2018)

    Ok, but doesn’t the description give away too much? I hope there are enough surprises in the book itself to make up for this...

  • Jackie

    I CAN’T WAIT FOR MY SOFT PRINCESSES TO COME BACK TO ME

  • Britany

    Look at that beautiful cover! Can't wait to read!

  • Abi (The Knights Who Say Book)

    PLEASE. I'M SO READY. I was excited for Inkmistress and really enjoyed it, but I want Denna and Mare!

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