Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1)
By: Sara Raasch
Publisher: Balzer +Bray
Publication Date: October 14th, 2014
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.
It has been difficult to get my ideas and feelings for this book, of which there were many, out of my head and onto paper. I absolutely loved Snow Like Ashes and wish I could just read the sequel immediately. Sadly, Ice Like Fire is not out yet, so I will just have to blather profusely about how wonderful this book and all its characters are until October.
This book is set in the kingdom of Winter, which was conquered years before this story takes place. It starts off with orphaned Winterian refugee, Meira, her resident father figure and trainer, Sir, and Mather, the dethroned teenage king of a kingdom where magical power is passed down to only female members. Meira’s greatest desire is to prove herself useful as a warrior in Winter’s ongoing battle with its oppressor and conqueror, Spring. After Meira manages a major coup, retrieving half of Winter’s broken magical conduit, Winter’s refugees have a hope of regaining their kingdom. However, Meira’s accomplishment is rewarded with an arranged marriage that solidifies an agreement of support from the country of Cordell.
I loved being inside Meira’s head. Her feelings, from her sense of betrayal after being forced into an unwanted marriage by the boy she loved to her passion for a country that she has never even seen, were fully realized and realistic. The book spans a decent length of time, and I loved seeing Meira mature during its duration. She changes from a girl who wants to prove herself to the only father she has never known to a young woman ready to sacrifice what she must for her broken country and its people.
As for the romance, I felt that it was light and realistic, giving Meira and her betrothed, Theron, time to learn about each other and develop an easy friendship before any more intense feelings developed. This was especially refreshing in light of the fact that it allowed Meira to move on from her childhood love for Mather without the plot devolving into a love triangle.
The supporting characters, the Winterian refugees, the Cordellan royalty, and the villains from Spring, were well fleshed out in the roles they played and fit into Raasch’s unique and distinctive world of Primoria. The characters’ motivations and actions were realistic and logical and fit within the parameters set by the plot and the beautifully composed world. The characters, the world, and the writing made Snow Like Ashes a book I devoured in one sitting and would highly recommend to any fantasy fan.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.