Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Title: Snow Like Ashes
Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Author: Sara Raasch
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: October 14th, 2014
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Magic

Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)

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

Snow Like Ashes was one of of those books that I needed to have in my possession from the moment I knew what it was about. There were three reasons for this: 1) The cover is absolutely STUNNING. 2) It's high fantasy - I love me some high fantasy. And 3) there was HUMONGOUS hype surrounding its release.

Now that I have read it I've been staring at my computer for the past half hour trying to conjure up coherent thought.  The first thing I thought about was just how much I loved this book. I'd seen Snow Like Ashes compared to Throne of Glass, and that statement alone convinced me that I needed this title in my life. Though I was quite weary about it, the comparison to Throne of Glass was incredibly well-deserved. Throne of Glass is probably my favourite incomplete series to date, and Snow Like Ashes has just earned itself a close second. Selecting Snow Like Ashes to be my first read of 2015 was an incredible decision on my behalf. So yes, you could probably say that I enjoyed this book.

I must admit, the kingdoms named after seasons and capital cities named for misspelled calendar months threw me off a little bit in the beginning but after delving deeper into the story I was able to develop an appreciation for the world. In the beginning the kingdoms seemed a little bit dull and it took a little while for the story to start, but forty or so pages in it hit me straight in the face and I was hooked. The plot picked up, and so did my hopes for the rest of the book. Though at some times the world-building got a little bit heavy-handed, I began to fall in love with the world and its many wonders.

I'd been frightened by the amount of information in this book - there are EIGHT kingdoms to learn about. Raasch was able to stitch together a distinct atmosphere and air to each of the kingdoms and its people - characteristics they could call theirs- which made it much easier to fall into the story. Every detail was so intricately woven that I felt it was a world I hadn't just jumped into, but had been living in for my entire life. Does that make any sense? I don't know, that's just how it felt to me. Familiar.

I also enjoyed the incredibly unique magic system. It wasn't like any others I'd read before. Conduits, bloodlines and all that - they were quite difficult to wrap my head around for the first minute or so but when I became more informed and more aware of their power was when I realised just how truly awesome this system was. It's very clear that there is a LOT of history in this world, and I am definitely looking forward to learning more about it in future instalments.

Though it has its many strengths, I can honestly say that the single driving force behind this novel is its heroine, Meira. Where do I even start with Meira? I honestly can't even begin to describe my love for Meira. If there is one thing I love in a novel, it's obviously an incredibly complex main character. Meira was someone I found myself rooting for and empathising with and that's truly what I look for. And it also helped that she was kick-ass. I mean kick-ass as in, about equal to Calaena Sardothien's kickassery. This girl was definitely no doormat, she had the strength to know what she wanted, and the capacity to know what had to be done without letting anything distract her from the big picture.  She was a fierce, strong-willed woman WHO DON'T NEED NO MAN. She was so epic it hurt me to think that I'd never be as awesome as she. Basically the entire time I'd been internally screaming: "YOU GET IT GIRL! WHOOP HIS ASS! SAVE YOUR KINGDOM!"

Okay, now this is where it gets confusing. There's kind of a love-triangle, but at the same time there kind of isn't. I'm not too sure what it was, but I do know that I loved it. It didn't take over the story, it remained in the background but shone through and I feel as though it really strengthened the characters and affirmed my appreciation of them. Though Meira definitely isn't void of emotions, she had a main goal - saving Winter - in mind throughout the entire length of the novel and though she interacted quite a bit with both Theron and Mather, she didn't let her feelings cloud her judgement. While I do love Theron (he's so charming uGUJGUHHHH) and Mather (Okay, they're both so beautiful with kind hearts and good intentions) I'm not rooting for anyone besides Meira. Team Meira for me, please.

My only minor qualm with this book is that I found one particular aspect of the novel to be quite predictable. I won't spoil anything, but if you've read it then I'm talking about Meira's identity. The thing about this was, it wasn't predictable in a bad way, it was predictable in the way that if I were the one writing this story, it's exactly what I would have done. But executed a thousand times more excellently than I could ever accomplish.

Now, THAT ENDING THOUGH. Ahhhhh. This is the part where I was incapable of forming coherent thought. I can't. So good. Amazing. Incredible. AKJHD:SLKdj. I felt like it was perfect. I honestly could not have loved the ending more. It concludes in such a way that is quite hopeful and optimistic, but that promises a world of danger and adventure awaits. Also, bonus points for NO CLIFFHANGER! HALLELUJAH!

Snow Like Ashes was an absolutely stellar debut and the beginning of a series that I can almost guarantee will be earth-shatteringly exciting. I can't recommend it enough. Raasch has created one of the most complex fantasy worlds presented in Young Adult fiction to date, combined with an absolutely kick-ass female heroine, and spoiler alert, it's a recipe for success.

5/5 keys to my heart!


  1. This book sounds amazing! I also love high fantasy and something that involves the season sounds really awesome and interesting. As soon as you said kick-ass female heroine I was hooked and wanting this now. Thanks for the awesome review and making me want this book oh so bad.

  2. You can never go wrong with kick-ass female heroines! I do hope you get to read it soon, it's incredible. Thanks for all the kind words! :)

  3. That book sounds so good! Like you, I was immediately drawn to the cover. It is gorgeous. That is on my TBR list for sure.

  4. If you think this cover is gorgeous you should see the cover for the next book, Ice Like Fire! It's so freaking gorgeous.

  5. I adored this book, fantastic review! I think I am firmly Team Theron though haha, there's less baggage with that pairing and he is just so understanding urgh.

    But my favourite remains Meira, I loved how strong she is. The book reminds me a lot of Froi of the Exile rather than ToG.


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