Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Snow Like Ashes Sara Raasch
Snow Like Ashes Sara Raasch Cover

Title: Snow Like Ashes 
Author: Sara Raasch 
Series: Snow Like Ashes #1 
Genre: Fantasy, YA 
Publication date: October 14, 2014 
Rating: ★★★★ 

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.

I loved this book. I’m not sure what I expected before I started it, but not this, I guess. I didn’t realize this would be a more traditional kind of fantasy story. It was a pleasant surprise. And that cover. SO PRETTY.

Traditional, yes, but still exciting and definitely worth reading. The world is divided into eight different kingdoms. The four season kingdoms (Winter, Summer, Autumn and Spring) and four Rhythm kingdoms. Each kingdom possesses a ‘conduit’ that gives them access to magic. Only the rightful heir to the throne can wield the magic inside. Four of them have a female lineage, four of them a male. Everything perfectly balanced out. Until Angra, the king of Spring, decides he wants more than what he has and invades the Winter kingdom. Angra becomes the ultimate villain. He’s powerful beyond control and feared by everyone. He conquers Winter without too much difficulty and kills thousands and thousands of people. The remaining ones he enslaves. Only a group of 25 manages to escape, among them two children. Mather, the future king, and Meira, the main character.

This book is well written with an eye for detail, vivid descriptions, world-building and well-developed characters. There’s a strong female lead, Meira, and she feels very natural. So do the side characters and the complex relationships between them. Everyone has a purpose and his/her own personality. This story is not just about Meira. There’s a bigger picture and everyone has a part to play.

Holding on to some part of your past even if it means also holding on to the pain of never again having it. That pain is less horrible than the pain of forgetting.

There was also a love triangle and strongly wish there hadn't been one. If it weren’t for the Mather-Meira-Theron triangle I probably would have rated this book 5 stars. But I couldn’t ignore it, because it was too obvious. I like Mather and Theron almost equally and both have a very good reason to be in Meira’s life. I suppose it would only be natural for Meira to have feelings for both IF and that’s a big if those feelings developed over time. Which they didn’t in Therons case. And I could have made my peace with it hadn’t Mather and Theron acted like five-year-olds fighting over a toy.

But let’s not dwell on that for too long, because romance really isn’t the main focus of this book. It’s just a side story. The main part is the eight remaining Winterians trying to free their country. And I suppose I should mention that some things happened just a tad too conveniently, but in the end, I did buy it. I’ve read a lot worse. Also, there’s a big plot twist near the end and I guess I’d been suspecting it since the beginning, but I don’t think the book is predictable. You suspect, but then there’s something proving you wrong, so you start thinking maybe you didn’t get the signs right after all… And it worked. For me, that is. But you should definitely find out for yourself!

Someday we will be more than words in the dark.

The only thing I missed was that spark. You know, the one thing that makes the difference between loving a book and being absolutely CRAZY about it. I’m hoping Ice Like Fire will make up for it. But otherwise, this was a pretty great read.

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