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.
My ReviewAuthor: Sara Raasch
Publication Date: October 14 2014
Source: Library ebook
This was one of those books I planned to read without ever actually reading the synopsis. I went into the story completely oblivious to the premise, and I have to say that in general, I was pretty happy with Snow Like Ashes.
I feel a little like my mood is a bit unfair because I just DNFed the last book I was reading, and I haven't felt great while reading Snow Like Ashes. I think I would normally be a little more enthusiastic, but I had a weird reading experience in which I was pretty tired. So what happened is that there is a lot I really like about Snow Like Ashes, but I still feel like the story lacked a little, um, completeness?
I felt like the story, although pretty good, was hurt by the fact that I guessed major plot twists from um, the first chapter of the story (this is not an exaggeration). I don't know if it was that obvious, but I've been on a really big fantasy kick and I read a lot in general. I've gotten better at noticing what authors are writing and how they are writing it, and thinking about the clues. I'm pretty happy that what I wanted to happen occurred, but the ending left me with a lot of uncertainty about the rest of the series.
I feel, through my moody reader eyes, that Snow Like Ashes jumped around a lot, and it felt like a really short read. I think it had a lot of dialogue compared to major, conclusive plotlines, and while I did enjoy this dialogue (this book is endearingly quotable), I felt, by the end, like not much had happened. But I guess that could be because the major journey made by Meira had an endgame that my weird brain was expecting.
Anyway, I really liked this book. I loved the characters. The writing was really phenomenal at introducing Meira and I loved that it was written in Mara's voice. The writing was snarky and fierce, like Meira. I loved reading Meira's thoughts on every situation as little asides, and sometimes I feel like this sort of writing can distract from the actual story. In this case, it complemented what was happening. There were also some very lovely passages that I remember wanting to write down because they were so gorgeously poetic. So yay!
The other characters were not as featured as Meira, but they were also compelling. I mean, I am surprised at just how easily I liked character that was introduced. This, if you read Snow Like Ashes, presents a complication near the end of the story. I am confused. But, I am quite happy. All the characters have extremely attractive qualities. I think the most fascinating parts was the real thought put into this story. Duty was a concept thoroughly explored, along with the sacrifices that it demands. Meira would do anything for Winter, but even in saying that, how much is she expected to give? Is that not unfair?
In a pretty fun poli-sci angle, I thought the nationalism and politics of the world building were quite fun. The Seasons and the Rhythms (four kingdoms of each in Raasch's world) have years of prejudice built against each other. Meira and the Winterian refugees are quite patriotic, and there is an implied connection to the Winter people and the Winter land. They are a minority that is being hunted down and completely destroyed by Spring, who is Very Evil. Every kingdom has its own characteristics and strengths, and I thought it was fun to read about their different national identities and flags.
One thing I would like to see more of is some complexity. The evil villain, Angra, King of Spring, is overwhelming terrible. I understand he is power hungry, but a lot of what he does is so evil that I can't make any sense of it at all. I think there needs to be some more development about his motivations.
Overall, there is lot of good in Snow Like Ashes. Great characters, a fascinating world, and the thought put into the story. There are some weaknesses, like the overwhelmingly evil villain. And there are some maybes, like I'm not sure where the plot is heading. In any case, I'm excited to read Ice like Fire, and I think Snow Like Ashes is unique and fun.