by Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Published by Balzer + Bray Release date : October 14th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Library | Format: Hardcover
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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.
Due to my increasingly good fortune with Fantasy right now, I snagged this one up at the library in the hopes that this good fortune would continue. Snow Like Ashes was published right around the time I hit my 2 1/2 month hiatus; so I hadn’t seen the overall consensus on Snow Like Ashes. Which is good, because I went in BLIND.
There were many things that I loved – from the very intricate world building, to Meira. The love interest and the very (un)expected twist at the end. However, there were a few things that I found very predictable; and the pacing just about killed me.
First off – this world. I am not gonna lie – I was SO LOST (several times). I had to re-read passages over and over again to GET IT. Here’s what I figured out – there are a total of 8 Kingdoms, 4 Season and 4 Rhythm. Both Rhythm and The Seasons have a conduit, a magical relic that holds the magic that is used by their rules to benefit their people. The rules are either male of female, depending on the Kingdom. Only that bloodline can “harness” the magic from the conduit. And not only do the Seasons and Rhythms not get along; there is tension and war between the Seasons as well.
Hence why Spring annihilated Winter.
Yeah, there’s more but that’s the gist. There is a lot of back story to the world, and characters too; and while it was all amazing, it was A LOT to take in. It wasn’t info-dump, I felt like things were explained in small pieces throughout the novel, but hello sensory overload.
So Meira. She is such a tough, fierce loving girl. She was raided as an orphan, and training as a soldier by Sir. Sir had always been hard on her, in result, she was determined to prove that she is worthy and able to contribute to the rebuild of Winter, yet, she is always held back from missions. She is also in love with the future King, Mather, whom she grew up with.
The secondary characters pulled at the heart-strings. There were times that I was so mad a Sir right along with Meira. Shoot – the poor girl just wanted to be enough. There was so much depth to all the characters.
While there was a hint at a love triangle and it’s execution was genius. BUT. For me, it didn’t necessarily feel like one. She grew up loving one, and then was forced to get to know the other and realized they had more in common; having the same dreams and fears. I mentioned in my review of another fantasy novel I recently read, even though she genuinely cares for both, it’s obvious to me who she now loves and will end up with. She grew so much and she isn’t the same girl in the end.
My issues with the book – the pacing wasn’t consistent. It really bothers me when things move at rapid pace; barely giving you room to breathe and then BAM! snails pace. Also, one of the “plot twists” I nailed it in the beginning. I’m still not convinced it was meant to be a plot twist – because it was just so freaking obvious! View Spoiler » Like hello, if Mather was the true heir, why would you send his butt out to battle and on missions and not Meira? And, you know Winter’s ruler is a female, so why would the conduit work for Mather? It didn’t, duh. « Hide Spoiler The other twist though at the end was a surprise for me. The twist was genius and sets up conflict for the rest of the series.
Overall – My good fortune continues with Snow Like Ashes. If fantasy is your thing, this one is not to miss.