Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Snow Like Ashes (Book #1)
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 432 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062286927 (HarperTeen)
ISBN-13: 978-0062286925 (HarperTeen)
Reviewed by: Kaitlin
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.
Quick & Dirty: Wow, Snow Like Ashes was a fantastic debut with amazing characters, plot twists, and romance.
Opening Sentence: “Block!”
Miera is one of the last of Winter’s refugees. In a world where 4 kingdoms exist with never ending seasons, she is from the one where the people were killed or forced to work in camps as slaves. She and the other’s mission: free the Winterions, let them flourish again. But it won’t be easy. Spring has an evil, powerful ruler who has much magic. Plus, Miera is falling for someone she can never be with, so her problems aren’t easily dealt with. Their only chance might not be enough, at this point. And there isn’t anyone left to save Winter if they fail.
Oh my god, Snow like Ashes. This ones a winner, fellow readers, trust me. Where do I begin? The fantastic world building and kingdom? Okay, I’ll start there. Basically the whole concept of the four season kingdoms was exciting and original. I had so much fun conjuring up pictures in my head, especially of Winter: chilly, beautiful, covered in a cool blanket of snow and the clouds sending gentle flakes down to earth. I have always considered winter as cold, and though associated with skiing and hot chocolate, never as beautiful as the elusive, bright colors of fall or the scent of rain and budding newness of spring. This book changed the connotation of the word winter for me. It was that freaking good. Not to mention that each Season kingdom had different types of people, the Winterians with white hair and stunning blue eyes, the Springs with light brown skin and green eyes. The Falls had nutmeg skin and curly dark hair, and the Summers had golden locks paired with bright green eyes, as well as a good tan. It was a lot of fun conjuring the pictures in my mind, I can tell you that. In the first chapter she’s looking at Mather and commenting on how attractive his white hair is, and at first I thought “Wait, what?” When I realized all of the refugees had that color hair I was struck by a very “oh!” moment.
This book likes to toy with your emotions. It likes to tackle you with feels. Miera is always thinking about the kingdom, what has been lost, trying to reassure herself and her companions that it can be rebuilt. At one point, the character is trapped in a Winterian work camp, and oh my. Her very realistic struggle with hope and giving in was so sad to see. Speaking of the main character, I loved her. She was kicking ass the whole way through and I enjoyed her commentary and banter with fellow characters. She wasn’t too perfect, however; she had many doubts and sometimes succumbed to selfishness, but she was never horribly whiny. I hate whiny characters with a passion, let me tell you that. Miera always saw a tiny bit of positive in everything too balance out any crushing depression or trapped feelings that might be going along with it.
The love triangle was also very complicated. I kept going back and forth between my favorite of the guys. I have to say, Mather grew on me. At first he was a little annoying and never seemed like a good choice, but eventually I started to like him. Anyone who reads my reviews knows that a good or bad romance can make or break a story for me, and luckily enough this made Snow Like Ashes. Along with my love of the main character and setting, my interest just grew at the point when the love triangle became more intense.
Snow Like Ashes may become one of my favorite series, if the next books play out as well for me. It was atmostpheric, exciting, filled with action and humor and conflict and romance and friendship and themes and oh, how I enjoyed Snow Like Ashes. I had high hopes as all the high reviews rolled in and luckily enough they were correct. The ending was full of surprises, plot twists, and I was so happy with the development in Miera. She’s grown stronger and more aware of her values and beliefs over the course of the book and overall was just a great point of view. If there were any problems in this book, than they didn’t stick out to me. This is also an awfully long book as well, which is great, because I swallowed it up! Lots and lots of stuff was stuffed into the pages but the pacing seemed fine to me. One thing I’m interested in knowing the answer to is this: what happens when someone of different kingdoms have children? Like a Winter and a Fall, with their opposite hair and body tones, what would happen then? We know different seasons have had children before. For some reason this question really pulls me in, and I hope it’s addressed in the next book.
I aim my chakram at the captain, the one with his boots mucked up with sewer gunk. His eyes swim over me. “The Winterians are sending girls to do their dirty work now?” he sneers. “Why don’t you put that thing down before someone gets hurt?”
I push out my bottom lip and widen my eyes. “This?” I lower the chakram. It’s now aimed at the captain’s left thigh. “They gave it to me and said throw! I don’t even know how it works—”
The soldiers jeer, a deep-throated chuckle that says this is a fight they’re sure they’ll win. I let the chakram fly as the captain moves forward, my body bending into an arch. The chakram soars through the sewer, slices clean through the captain’s leg, and continues its spin back to me in one elegant circle of purpose. He screams and drops into the sewage, grabbing his thigh like, well, like I just sliced through it. “Oh.” I run one hand down the flat side of the blade. “That’s how it works.”
The Snow Like Ashes Series:
FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Snow Like Ashes. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.