Thursday, April 9, 2015

Book Review | Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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

Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch

Published by Balzer + Bray
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Pages: 416
Other Books By Raasch: Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes, #2)

My Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: 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.

Teisha's Review

About a month ago, I walked into my local Barnes & Noble brandishing a gift card I'd gotten for Christmas (Thanks, Mom!).  I had one goal and one goal only:

I wasn't leaving without Snow Like Ashes.  

I had seen enough ratings from my Goodreads friends to know that I was going to love this book and that I needed to get my hands on it ASAP.  (That synopsis and that gorgeous cover were also incentives to pick this one up.)  I panicked when I couldn't find the book, and had to get an attendant to help me find it (it was actually right in front of my face).  But, the embarrassment was worth it, because  this book was so so good.

Here are the five reasons why I gave Snow Like Ashes 5 out of 5 stars:



★ The World

I am so incredibly jealous that Sara Raasch took something so basic and crafted it into something spectacular.

Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn -- the four seasons as four Kingdoms.  Why didn't I think of this first?  *Face palms*.

In each of these kingdoms, the environment is at the extreme of each season all year long.  So, in the Kingdom of Winter it's extremely cold and there is always snow on the ground--always.  That seems simple enough, right?  However, there are also other kingdoms, known as the Rhythms, where the environment is normal--they experience all four seasons the way we do in real life.  Another interesting fact about the Rhythms is that, while the Season Kingdoms are ravaged by war, enslavement, and prejudices against one another, the Rhythms (or, at least Cordell) are kind of like Switzerland; there is peace there and asylum for Meira and her fellow Winterian refugees.

I also found it interesting that Winter is not the evil Kingdom in Snow Like Ashes.  You would expect for Winter to be evil considering the much used association between cold and evil.  However, Raasch chooses to be different, making Spring, the season we know as a time of rebirth and beauty, the villainous group.

Overall, I thought Raasch's world was very unique and quite complex given its simplistic foundations.




★ Meira, the Protagonist

I really loved Meira from the very beginning of the book.  She is sassy, sarcastic, headstrong, and fierce.  She is also incredibly brave despite her self-doubt.  She is not the best fighter, but she is more than willing to volunteer for battle.  And, although she is fighting for a place that she cannot remember, that she has no true attachment to, her loyalty to Winter and her people never waivers.  She faces many challenges throughout the story that are physical, mental, and emotional, and she faces them all bravely.  Overall, I found her to be a relatable (I see myself in her sassy attitude) and admirable female protagonist.



★ Meira & Sir's Relationship

Sir, the leader of the Winterian refugees, is by far my favorite of Raasch's characters.  I've found that in a lot of the fantasy books I read, the female lead is usually an orphan who has had a not-so-great upbringing (ex. Throne of Glass, The Grisha Trilogy, An Ember in the Ashes).  However, Snow Like Ashes is a little different.  While Meira is an orphan, she did not have a cruel upbringing.  She was raised by Sir and his wife, along with her best friend Mather.  She and Sir have an interesting relationship; I found their story to be very real and heartwarming.

Meira tries desperately to please Sir and gain his approval.  However, he always seems to chastise her and treat her like a foolish child.  But, you can see that underneath his harsh mask, Sir really does love and care about Meira.  I found their relationship to be very genuine and I could definitely resonate with it.  In fact, I think all of Raasch's readers will be able to relate to these two characters.  This definitely speaks to those readers who don't have the best relationships with their own parents, who argue with their families relentlessly, who seek a different path than the ones their parents have paved for them, but still love them like crazy at the end of the day.



★ Love Triangle

There is nothing I love more than a well-written love triangle.  And, my definition of "well-written" is that I cannot choose who I ship the protagonist with.  It is still my opinion that Cassandra Clare has written the best love triangle I have ever read in The Infernal Devices.  If someone asked me to choose between Will and Jem I would probably start crying--and these are FICTIONAL CHARACTERS! The love square between Celaena, Dorian, Chaol, and Rowan in Sara J. Maas' Throne of Glass series gives me a lot of emotions as well.  I love them all (but I think I'm loving Rowan the most right now.  Shhh, don't tell.)

I'm going to say that Snow Like Ashes comes in at a close third on my Best Love Triangles list.  I really like Theron (Prince of Cordell) and Mather (Prince of Winter).  Mather, as Meira's best friend, has a lot of history with her.  But she and Theron have a connection and understanding, too.  I like both of them (I don't love anyone yet), but I have to admit that I am leaning heavily towards Theron.

There is one scene in the book, which (let's be honest) is probably my favorite scene, where Theron and Mather get into a scuffle.  And they are basically fighting to impress Meira/because the both like Meira. (Did I mention they were shirtless?)  I love the jealous rivalry between them and hope to see more of it in Ice Like Fire.



★ Action Packed

Since we are talking about fighting, I thought I'd mention all the action scenes in this book.  There are a few fight scenes, including a war scene (which is incredibly fun because Meira is on the front lines), and a final battle scene that involves magic.  It is all really awesome and the scenes are so vivid and perfectly written.  Also, yes to Meira getting a piece of the action.  Girl power for the win!

***

I really loved this book!  I think that it was a great debut for Sara Raasch and I am really looking forward to picking up Ice Like Fire when it comes out later this year.  


Winter is over, but the blizzard is coming...

  1. Have you read Snow Like Ashes?  Tell me your thoughts!  
  2. You choose: Mather or Theron?
  3. Which Season do you think you would belong to?  Or, which would you like to live in (evil political scheming aside)?  


Hope to talk to you guys soon!



6 comments:

  1. Now I want to run right out to B&N to buy it.

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    1. Thanks, Trisha! I really loved it and I'm sure you will, too!

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  2. Just found your blog, love it, books and films, my tow favorite things!

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    1. Thanks so much, Emma! I'm always happy to hear from new readers.

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