Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Published by HarperCollins on September 15th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories, Love & Romance, Family, Orphans & Foster Homes
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
A striking fantasy tale of dark magic, dangerous politics, and discovering your true self—perfect for fans of Game of Thrones, An Ember in the Ashes and A Court of Thorns and Roses.
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. 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 the ancient locket that can restore Winter's magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find 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.
“They make decisions; they mold your future. The trick is to find a way to still be you through it all.”
I’ve heard much about Sara Raasch’s Snow Like Ashes trilogy, and with the final book coming out later this year it seemed like the best time to check it out. This is a high fantasy story about a world torn with strife. Half of the world are Seasons (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer). The other half consist of countries called Rhythms. Why? I don’t know, because I don’t think the names are music related. Anywho… like in Lord of the Rings, a long time ago people in these kingdoms tried to harness magic, but it corrupted everyone, so they harnessed the magic into eight “Conduits.” The “Conduits” could be anything (necklace, staff, etc.), and was held by the ruler of each nation. The rulers can use their magic for the good of all their people, but the evil the let loose wanted to take over the world. I can say more, but if you’ve read LOTR or seen the films, then you get the idea.
As I read the novel, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to those novels, as well as Game of Thrones, and An Ember in the Ashes. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it wasn’t good either. While I did enjoy the novel a lot, it also felt somewhat unoriginal. However, I bought Ice Like Fire at the same time, so maybe the book veers into another direction as the story continues. While the plot felt “been there, done that,” I did really like the characters. Meira is a fierce protagonist, and I can’t wait to see how she grows throughout the series. I also really loved Mather, Theron, and Sir. The three were very strong characters who were great with Meira, but could also stand on their own as individuals.
“That, I think, i a truer mark of belonging somewhere – being willing to do anything, everything, that needs to be done, regardless of what I want.”
Like many YA novels, there is a dreaded love triangle, but it actually wasn’t bad. Both guys were likable, and gave Meira different things. At this point I couldn’t care less whom she ends up with, because I think both guys are great. Yet, I’m leaning more towards Theron. Despite this, I have a feeling she’ll wind up with Mather in the end, so I’m not getting my hopes up. The reason the triangle didn’t bother me as much as they usually do, is because Raasch did a wonderful job developing the relationships. Oftentimes authors have a triangle with love at first sight pairings, and they feel forced. Not so here, so if like me you’re tired of love triangles, don’t worry! This one is actually pretty good. Plus it helps that it’s only a small part of the story. The main storyline is about finding yourself, and being true to who you are.
The plot may have felt overly familiar, but the political machinations and well-developed characters made this novel fun to read. I can’t wait to read the next two books and recommend it to fans of high fantasy. While I do believe it has some GOT aspects, I don’t think they were as well done as Red Rising, so don’t pick this series up expecting the same cut-throat political backstabbing. Think of it as GOT the CW version: a lot of threats, betrayal, and side-eye, but all of the real good stuff is edited for television. Despite everything, I was still chomping at the bit to finish this book, and would be reading the second if I wasn’t about to start traveling. A great read!