Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 432 (eARC)
Source: Edelweiss
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.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This was my recently chosen book to read in class while my teacher lectured because he wants us to be physically present though he doesn't test on lecture. Yup, you read that correctly. While it takes me longer to get through the books that I use for such purposes, it makes them all the more enjoyable and I am beyond happy to report that, at least for me, the hype surrounding this title was well deserved. As a fantasy nut, specifically a high fantasy nut (which this is), I am definitely satisfied after completing this story as I begin the long wait for book two.

I have to admit that the first ten percent of this book did not wow me. In fact, it was a very slow beginning that made me fear about the pacing for the rest of the novel and I didn't really feel for the main character, Meira. Meira is a teenage soldier for the kingdom of Winter. When she was a child, Spring destroyed her kingdom and enslaved all of its people that did not die. She, however, was a baby orphan on the street that was aided by the commander of the military in her escape. Now, all she wants to do is fight for her kingdom and help protect her best friend, Mather, who is also the King of Winter and last remaining member of the royal family line.

The beginning of the book is a lot of her complaining about this and that. She can't be with Mather because Mather is the future King who has to think about his people, yet she's secretly in love with him. She can't go and fight despite training for it because Sir "hates" her and refuses to let her go. Then, conveniently, the first time he allows her to go, she comes back with half of the locket that Spring stole and broke in half, which is the royal conduit for the magic of the kingdom of Winter. While this is where things began to get super interesting (at 10%) I was also slightly skeptical that the Winterians have been trying to retrieve this locket for a while and she managed to get it on her first ever attempt. All the power to you, girl, but this aspect of the story was slightly strange to me. I have to say, though, my attitude in regards to Meira drastically shifted after this and I very quickly began to not only feel for her, but also to root for her. She is definitely a strong heroine, even though it doesn't seem that way in the beginning, which is very similar to The Kiss of Deception in my eyes.

I won't reveal any more of the plot to you because it consists of a ton of amazingness and political intrigue that a reader has to discover for his- or herself.

The world-building in this one was phenomenal as well. I'm a stickler for solid worlds with no plot-holes and while the world, at first, seems very basic in regards to the four seasonal kingdoms, it is very quickly apparent that there's a lot more to it. There's eight kingdoms with different specializations and agendas, and so much political intrigue taking place between the kingdoms that my mind was constantly spinning. The lore was absolutely mind-boggling and fascinating. I would read an entire novella modeled after the Harry Potter novellas that act as "textbooks" about the series because I like the history of this world so much.

And I have to say I like the characters, too. Every character was memorable whether they were good or evil because they all stood apart. None were two dimensional and they all served a solid purpose of some kind. However, I have to say that the romance threw me off a bit. Mather, while an amazing character, was not a suitable love interest in my eyes. They were the only two in camp close to each others age and they're of opposite genders, thus it was obvious they would start to develop feelings for each other. However, I think it has the potential to transform into an obsession because they were all each other had for so long.

Contrarily, I really loved Theron both as a character and a love interest. He is level-headed, intelligent, and confident and there's a lot more to him than meet's the eye. I can't wait to learn more about him in the future. Who is Theron, you ask? Well I can't tell you! Read and find out and discover this amazing plot twist for yourself. Because of Theron and Mather, my only true worry about the future of this series is the development of a love triangle. Please, please don't let this happen!

Full of amazing plot twists and well written characters, SNOW LIKE ASHES is a strong debut novel that will appeal to longtime epic fantasy fans like myself and even newcomers exploring the genre for the first time. Raasch has given us a complicated, dark, yet juicy world that is easy to get immersed in. I am already eagerly anticipating book two!

Side note...anyone else think the cover is absolutely breathtaking? They hit the mark with this one!


4 stars

~*~Links~*~

FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for my honest review.



9 comments:

  1. Hee, we had very different opinions in places, but that's okay! We agreed on the one thing that matters: THERON. <3<3<3

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  2. This is the second excellent review of this book that I have read in about 10 minutes, so it is definitely going on my TBR list!

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  3. Well, to be fair, the heroine seeming weak then becoming strong is pretty much every book, ever. :)

    I loved this one, too! Can't wait to see what happens in book two.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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    1. True! But there are some heroines that are just SUPER hard to get behind and Meira was one of them similar to KISS OF DECEPTION. Does that make sense?

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  4. So basically your teacher wants you to be in class, but does not care if you are listening? O.o Sweet deal. Although I would get distracted too easily in that environment. I'm happy you enjoyed this one, I don't know how I feel about the comparison the Lila (that was her name from KoD right? God my memory).

    I'm really excited to read this one!

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

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    1. He cares about attendance. He tests us on the textbook though, not the lectures, so I just don't pay attention to them. I either outline the textbook so I don't have to do it in my free time or I read books haha. Mostly read books though.

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  5. This was one of my favorite reads of the year! I love the idea of the history novellas as this world is really so fascinating. Also Theron!!! <3

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