I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Also by this author: Ice Like Fire, , Frost Like Night
Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Also in this series: Ice Like Fire, , Frost Like Night
Published by Harper Collins on 2014-10-14
Genres: Family, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Orphans & Foster Homes, Young Adult
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Game of Thrones meets Graceling in this striking fantasy tale of dark magic, dangerous politics, and discovering your true self. Sara Raasch’s debut fantasy is a lightning-fast story of loyalty, love, and controlling one’s destiny.Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. The Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been searching for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild their kingdom ever since.Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of half of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics, and to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.
Snow Like Ashes by debut author Sara Raasch took me a few pages to get into. It was not instant love or connection, but goodness I am so glad that I forged on. Raasch writes a book that I absolutely could not put down and read past my bedtime, and I have to tell you I value my sleep more than finishing all the pages at this point (I read better when I am well rested). Snow Like Ashes, the first of a trilogy, is such a cool book about identity, about community, about fear and bravery and love. It’s really one of those books that I am so excited to be recommending to all of you today.
Sixteen years ago the kingdom of Spring lead by the evil King Angra proclaimed all out war on the kingdom of Winter, sealing Winter’s borders, killing many of it’s citizens, assassinating Queen Hannah and enslaving the rest of the Winterians to work at camps spread throughout the kingdom of Spring. Only twenty five Winterians were able to escape that fateful night — among the escapees were future Winter King Mather and Meira, a girl who hopes someday to become a fierce warrior and free her people.
Unfortunately, the twenty five has dwindled to eight over those past sixteen years. Yet, hope remains, for Meira is hoping to recapture one half of a locket that was a conduit for Winter’s power. Not that Mather can do anything with it, because you see, magic is balanced and gender based and in the kingdom of Winter, only females of the royal bloodline can wield the conduit. Meira can feel Winter and the cold in her soul despite not remembering anything about Winter. Meira is about to discover that fate has something totally unexpected in mind for her and she will learn that she is not the one in the driver’s seat when it comes to her fate.
I have to admit that I love how spirited Meira is. Snow Like Ashes features a heroine who is not content to sit back at camp when other people are putting themselves in danger and going on missions. So, Meira spends her time honing her skills. She is killer with a chakram which is I guess is what Xena Warrior Princess has, so just picture that when you picture Meira because that’s what I totally did. Meira is not that great at close up fighting though. Despite this, Meira is relentless. She refuses to just sit by and be useless, so when she finally does something, she sets this huge chain of events into motion. I have to admit, I could see myself especially in one attribute of Meira’s and that is that she often acts without thinking and is passionate and angry and just cares so much and so deeply. It’s a very endearing trait and one that I can certainly relate to.
Speaking of things that are endearing, I have to say that the romance in Sara Raasch’s debut is quite endearing. Now, I am not going to lie, there’s a tiny bit of a love triangle. When we start the book, Meira is in love with Mather, the future king of Winter. Yet, she never acts on this because she knows that he will make a political marriage and she would rather not get hurt. However, she can’t help her feelings. Yet, when fate twists and Meira finds herself betrothed to the future king of one of the Rhythm kingdoms, Prince Theron. At first, Meira is very upset and rails against this future. Of course, he turns out to be a nice guy and wins her over and her feelings begin to change. And you guys, there is kissing multiple times and goodness, the romance is quite a bonus factor to this book.
So one signal that I would love this book is that upon opening it I was greeted with a map of the world in Snow Like Ashes called Primoria. The map is actually neat because it shows mountains and water and the conduits and the different kingdoms we will come across. I liked how Primoria is divided into eight kingdoms with distinct traits. Four of the kingdoms are centered around the Seasons and the other four are centered around what’s called the Rhythms. The book has this mythology in it regarding magic and how it is used and how it came to be attached to conduits. It’s actually really cool how the world is built. There’s some political maneouvering in this book which totally appealed to me. I also have to tell you that one part of the world building that really struck me and impacted me was the work camps where the enslaved Winterians live. It’s heartbreaking but thankfully before going too dark, Raasch allows the reader to have moments of hope.
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch is a book that has a lot going for it — an interesting world, a fierce main character, and all the kissing. I am so looking forward to the sequels and to return to this world of different seasons filled with magic. I think if you get the chance you should absolutely make reading Raasch’s debut a priority and if you aren’t immediately into it, then you should keep trying at least for 40 pages because that’s when the story gets going. Meira and Theron and Sir, who I have not mentioned but who you will meet, really made this quite the engaging read for me.