Monday, December 1, 2014

Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch


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.

(taken from goodreads.com)

My Rating: 4/5 Stars 
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So, I read somewhere that Snow Like Ashes is when "Graceling meetings Game of Thrones." In some ways, this isn't untrue. The tale takes place in a land divided by warring kingdoms, and actions are fueled by intense loyalties and revenge. The land is sectioned off not only into different kingdoms, but also different seasons. Meira hails from the Season Winter, meaning that her people reigned over a land of snow and ice. An interesting Season for Raasch to focus on, seeing as winter is usually portrayed as a darker, possibly evil season

Points should be allotted for originality in some aspects (i.e. the Seasons, Rythms, etc.). However, the idea of a weaker kingdom being wrongfully enslaved by an "evil" dictator isn't exactly new. As Meira and her comrades attempt to gain allies and restore their home to its former glory, several common tropes crop up. Arranged marriages, impossible escapes, and hidden family ties made the plot semi predictable. In fact, I guessed at the biggest "surprise" before even finishing the first few chapters. 

The main reason I don't love Snow Likes Ashes is Meira. I get it, okay? She wants to be a headstrong heroine who brashly rushes into dangerous situations but somehow miraculously survives, despite the fact that she puts little to no thought into half of her actions. At the wise of age of sixteen (*rolls eyes*), Meira seems to think she knows everything, even though the appearance of a handsome stranger immediately makes her weak at the knees. The combination of her kick butt personality and immature desires annoyed me quite a bit. 


Having criticized the plot and Meira, I will say that I had fun with the novel. I rooted for the Winterian renegades and thoroughly enjoyed reading descriptions of the various kingdoms.  From the icy fields of Winter to Spring's deceptively beautiful cities, Raasch's world is an imaginative adventure. Even the love triangle couldn't completely disrupt my enjoyment of the Raasch's story. 


I'd recommend Snow Likes Ashes to lovers of fantasy, despite my numerous criticisms. It's fairly well-written, and the fast moving plot will keep you turning pages.

Favorite Quote
“Someday we will be more than words in the dark.”