Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Published: October 14th, 2014 by Balzer + Bray
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.
The thing with stories like this is we can always predict what will happen. I mean, yes the setting is different, the characters are different, the goals and objectives may be different, maybe there’s a plot twist or two we didn’t see coming, but we can always pick out similarities between one fantasy and another. That being said, does it mean I didn’t like Snow Like Ashes? No! I actually liked it a lot! I enjoyed reading it, I liked the characters and hated the ones I was supposed to hate, I was invested in the story and I wanted the good guys to win. I’m just saying, it’s nothing I haven’t seen before.
I think what I love most about Snow Like Ashes is the setting. What can I say? I love the idea of magical kingdoms, and if there is a way to get to one, I’ll be the first to sign up 😀 .The Seasons kingdoms and Rhythm kingdoms are unique, each with their own special characteristics and features, and I find it very interesting to read about. The worldbuilding is great and even though I find it a little info-dumpy (is that a word?) at times, I didn’t mind because I really wanted to know more about each kingdom.
Meira is a wonderful character. She’s brave, determined and she is very loyal to her kingdom. But most importantly, she didn’t annoy me. I think that Meira’s character is believable. She’s not perfect, she has flaws, and that’s what makes her more realistic. Her relationships with the other characters are also quite well done, in my opinion. Especially her relationship with Sir, her guardian. It’s a complex relationship that I loved reading about.
I liked the other characters as well, even though some of them kind of faded into the background after a while. But the ones that didn’t, like Sir, Mather, and Theron are great. Theron is probably my favorite character. He’s a kind prince who genuinely cares about his people and I like that I didn’t have to be told that he’s a nice guy, I could just see it through his actions in the book. I wanted to know more about Mather, I feel like his character isn’t explored enough. Maybe in the next book?
While I really enjoyed Snow Like Ashes, I did find some things predictable. It wasn’t difficult to connect the dots after reading several chapters. There were some things that I don’t understand and some questions were left unanswered . Like why did Angra attack Winter in the first place? I think this was asked by someone in the book, but it wasn’t really answered. And why did Angra enslave all the Winterians in Spring and leave Winter uninhabited? It was mentioned in the book that Winter is a mining kingdom, so why not take advantage of that by making the Winterians get resources for Spring? Hopefully, in the next books I’ll finally know the answers. But other than that, I liked Snow Like Ashes a lot.
In the end, despite the minor issues I had, Snow Like Ashes was a good read, with a great story, likable characters, and highly imaginative worldbuilding. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next books!
“They make decisions; they mold your future. The trick is to find a way to still be you through it all.”
― Sara Raasch,