Reviews

Of Ice and Shadows, by Audrey Coulthurst

rainbowbookworm's review

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4.0

I fell in love with Denna and Mare in Of Fire and Stars, a book I devoured in one day. It is a bit ironic since the first book has a slower pacing, that it took me longer to read this one which is pretty action pack. While I loved the build up, I was ultimately disappointed in the resolution which was too quick for my liking. Nevertheless, these two books, along with Inkmistress will be featured prominently in my classroom library. I think my students will enjoy them.

alex0615's review

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adventurous medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.25

joareads's review

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adventurous inspiring fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

A fabulous sequel to Of Fire and Stars picking up straight where the story left off in the first book with Mare and Denna on the move to Zumorda. Their relationship gets tested as they both must do their duty to themselves and their homelands, sending them on new and dangerous paths.

Lots of new characters get introduced in this sequel and the tone of the book is quite in contrast to the first; focusing mainly on plot rather than Mare and Denna's relationship. Their relationship takes a back seat for part of it as Denna learns how to use her magic and Mare to create a relationship with Zumorda as acting ambassador.

I love how the majority of characters in positions of power are actually women in this book - this creates quite an empowering feel to which I really liked. Magical Zumorda - a whole new world - is introduced but I think it gets rushed somewhat, especially towards the end. This series could have done well as a trilogy, exploring Mare and Denna's relationship through its struggles and triumphs in more detail, seeing unity between the different lands and the use of magic more.

The last few chapters feel quite swift and I definitely think they could have been expanded more. It's a strong sequel and a great book to read, I just wish the series had been longer with more chance to see relationships develop and plots concluded more decisively.

bookishhollow's review

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3.0

This was an interesting sequel but it was slow and wasn’t quite satisfying. I enjoyed it enough and liked seeing the character growth and more of the world but I am definitely still left with questions.

loreofthebooks's review

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4.0

I read this one directly after finishing the first, so I had no lag time. You would think that would be a problem, and the events of the books would meld together. Yet, there is a stark difference between this book and the first book. They were very different tones. And it is hard to explain, because I was a bit underwhelmed by the second book. I felt the first book was stronger overall, and the second book fell into some traps that took my enjoyment out of it. Not overly egregious but still, I felt that the book had some issues that I struggled with.

The Writing
The writing was just as good as the first. I had no issues and no qualms with that. In fact, that is what made it possible for me to get through some of the parts that I was a little “eh” on overall. The ease of the reading and the way it was written made the book much more enjoyable. As I said previously, Coulthurst’s writing is good, and it’s easy to get lost in the moment when you’re reading.

The Pacing
I think the pacing of the plot is where some of my issues came in. I felt that there was a lot of unnecessary travelling/moments in this one that detracted from the overall purpose of the book. It was a bit hard to get past at times because it felt stilted to me. And I think that is because some parts of the plot felt overly contrived to me, and I didn’t enjoy reading them all that much. Overall, the pacing was fine, except for those plot issues.

The Plot
My biggest issue are parts of the plot. Both the romance and a certain spoiler I will not mention. Suffice to say, the spoiler issue…was surprising, but also I felt a little odd. I thought there wasn’t enough lead up to it, and that much of the plot was pointless and just trying to force the book to go one way. Then you have the romance plot which I thought was mostly good, but some issues I think were used to create a subplot to the main plot. Anyways, overall, I think the plot was fine, but it definitely didn’t feel as cohesive to me as I would have wanted.
The plot is not bad by any stretch of the imagination, I just have issues with parts of it.

The Characters
We get introduced to a bunch of new characters in this book. Some are cool, others are okay. There were quite a few of them so sometimes I felt a little overwhelmed.
We still have Denna and Mare and their desire to help their countries. They are also working on their new relationship, and all the highs and lows that come with it. There are a few too many spoilers for me to be able to talk about any of the characters in depth, as I don’t want to give too much away.
Suffice to say, I liked the characters still! I felt that Denna and Mare grew in this book and became more developed as the book went on. It was nice to see character arcs that worked for me.

The Worldbuilding
Essentially, we’re in a new kingdom, so we get to learn all about it through the eyes of Mare and Denna. Again, there is just enough elaboration to get an idea, but not overly so.

Overall
I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first, but I still enjoyed it. I think it was a cute book that made me smile several times, but also was engaging.
I will definitely be reading more by this author!

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eregayion's review

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3.0

I have to preface this by saying that it‘s been a while since I‘ve read the first book, so I only have a vague recollection of how everyone acted there but I still don’t remember Mare being this whiny?

Honestly, the book isn’t that bad but it‘s also not that good. Some of the writing is just lazy/weird and then there’s dialogues that are so awkwardly written they throw you out of the loop (e.g. when Mare say „Here‘s how I can help.“ when they’re planning to take Kartasha back).

Denna is kind of a Mary Sue and no one ever really struggles with anything. Sure, there are some problems but they’re all solved pretty quickly, so you don’t really feel for the characters because you know there’s gonna be some magical solution to whatever they’re facing within two pages and most of them ate gonna make it out alive and unharmed.

Still, it‘s a light read and at least it‘s gay.

paigesofpaper's review

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4.0

lovely

maryshellley's review

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3.0

3.5

I liked a lot the first book so I was expecting a lot of this one..... unfortunately it didn't meet my expctations. There's some interesting new characters — like the Zumordan Queen, Laurenna and Zhari — but we get to know so little about tem, it's kinda frustrating. Also I thought this book would explore a bit more about the Zumordan people since it's set in their kingdom but that doen't happen, at least not the way I expected.

That said, I loved the development of Denna and Mare's relationship, although Mare annoyed me sometimes.. and why lie I only started to read theses books because you know... sapphics!!!!! also Denna's development, how she grow more confident of who she is and how to deal with her powers!!! the scenes between her and Queen Invasya were one of the most interesting!

slowunraveling's review against another edition

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adventurous hopeful mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

razishiri's review

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2.0

This sequel has a lot more magic than the first, but unfortunately, not great plotting or characterization. Plot threads are left hanging, and the reader is constantly prompted on how to feel about a character with no details on their motivations.