Author: Sara Raasch
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: October 14th, 2014
Standalone/Series: First book in the Snow Like Ashes trilogy
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy
My rating in stars: 4 stars
My rating in words: Really liked this book
What it’s about:
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.
“Even the strongest blizzards start with a single snowflake.”
Snow Like Ashes has everything you could want in a fantasy novel: a big and interesting world with a well developed history and magic system, a likeable kickass female heroine taking on an evil tyrant, a growing rebellion, father figures, complicated friendships, alliances, battles, secrets and so much more.
So other than the obvious, here’s some little details I liked:
- Worldbuilding and equality: the different kingdoms in Primoria are evenly divided in patriarchies and matriarchies. Meaning we have both powerful kings and kickass queens! Plus, the season kingdoms, where one season rules all year long, are super cool and well thought out.
- A great, relatable heroine: Meira is a fun and original protagonist. But honestly, I mostly love her because she fights with a chakram (think Xena) which earns her major points in my view. Simple as that…
- Not one, but two likeable male love interests: Now, normally I’m not such a fan of love triangles. But even so, I appreciated that this love triangle actually has you rooting for both love interests. They are both just so… nice. Also, I liked that even though there is a love triangle going on, the story never focuses on it for too long. There are still battles to be won and evil kings to be overthrown and luckily, they always come first.
- A complicated mentor / father figure. The character of Sir is quite the complicated one and I still have not figured him out. His relationship with his group of rebels, and especially Meira and Mather, is just so weird and awkward and I loved that. It’s a nice change of pace from the usual wise and super friendly mentor/father figure.
So you see, this book has a lot going for it. And still I gave it 4 stars instead of 5. Because while it does a lot of things right, I still had a few small issues with it. One was that I never really connected with any of the characters other than Meira. Yes, both Mather and Theron are… nice. So while I think it’s good that I like them both, I want to also feel more than I do. I need to feel the emotions, sit on the edge of my seat, swoon and curse and feel the pain that at least one of them will get hurt. And right now, I just feel very ‘meh’ about each of them. I hope this will get better in the next few books, AND do so without turning either one of them in the token bad guy.
Also, this was kind of predictable. The major plot twist was telegraphed from the first chapter and when the big reveal finally came it felt just as ‘meh’ as the characters.
So overall, I really liked Snow Like Ashes, but I do expect more from book two to keep me interested.