The Cradle of Ice (Moon Fall #2)

Source: DRC via NetGalley (Tor Publishing Group, Tor Books) in exchange for an honest review
Publication Date: February 7, 2023
Synopsis: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Amazon

Enjoying the posts? Buy me a “coffee” or become a member on Ko-Fi, or become a patron on Patreon!

Why did I choose to read this book?

The Cradle of Ice was actually the first book that caught my eye from this series. When I requested it from NetGalley as an advanced digital reader copy, I knew I had to read book 1 first (and you do by the way, if you don’t, you’ll be very confused in book 2). I chose to read and review this book because The Starless Crown was so good, and I was so invested in the characters that I needed to know what happened to them.

What is this book about?

Our intrepid crew breaks into two groups. One is headed into the Klashe to find a hidden Sleeper (no spoilers as to what this is) and the other is flying into the Ice Cradle, the side of the Urth that is always facing away from the sun and so is now completely ice. Both groups are following the direction of Shiya, the bronze woman who is a living metal being (think an AI-type machine that is very human in its appearance and behavior), in order to save the Urth from being obliterated by its own moon.

What is notable about this story?

The Cradle of Ice explores other cultures outside Halendii, and as the reader you have to think about what the consequences would be if Nyx and her followers are successful. If the ice melts or the molten lava of the other side of the Earth begins to flow around many people will die and there isn’t anything they can do about that. Averting a tragedy that would cause everyone to die (Moon Fall) with an action that would cause most but not all people/creatures to die is a heavy burden to carry. I am working very hard to avoid spoilers in this review and it’s so difficult!

I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing the Klashe and its politics. I love Rami (4th son of the emperor). He’s a lovely trickster/flirt to play against Prince Kanthe’s prudish blushing. It was adorable and I’m here for it. The intrigue and tension happening in the Klashe definitely out-shined Nyx’s group’s journey. Mikaen (Kanthe’s older twin brother) continues to grow more and more unhinged as he makes the war with the Klashe reality. He’s losing his mind and the consequences of that are going to be very impressive.

Was anything not so great?

This book took forever to read. It’s a good book, but it’s not “on the edge of your seat” good, so I didn’t feel like I had to get back to the story right away. Add this to the fact that it’s an absolute unit like its predecessor, and you get a book that takes over a month to read. For a regular reader this isn’t a big deal. For me, having to get this review out on a deadline, it was very stressful. I felt like I had to read the book instead of wanting to read the book, which may have made me enjoy it a little less.

So if you’re going to read this series, be patient with yourself and read when you want to. It’s an excellent story, but you’re not going to want to feel rushed because you might give up on it, and you shouldn’t, because it’s a great series so far.

If I had to pick one thing to lightly critique it would be the bridle-song mechanic in the magic system. The number of times I had to read the word song or harmony rivals only Sarah J. Maas’ later books for the use of the words mate and feasting: it’s too much!! And the entire plot relies on using it ALL THE TIME and even with the addition of a new type of creature (on top of bats, dogs, and everything in the Crown) it’s just “they sang louder,” “she harmonized,” and “the song” over and over and over. The lack of diversity in the magic system is disappointing but understandable since this is basically Medieval Times on the top of the world. I wish there was something else, like rhythm or shouting or spellcasting to distract from the singing.

What’s the verdict?

I’m not letting how long it took affect my rating: 4 stars on Goodreads and I’ll be waiting for book 3 to pop up on NetGalley so I can grab it asap and take my time. If you’re in the market for a HUGE fantasy epic series, definitely pick this one up.