Thursday, March 12, 2015

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (review)

Snow Like Ashes (1)

by Sara Raasch


Genre(s) Fantasy, young adult
Pages: 416
Published: Oct 2014
Publisher: Balzer & Bray


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."  
-Summary taken from Goodreads

ReviewWhat a fantastic read! I want to read the next book. NOW! And not because of an evil cliffy, but because the story is that enticing! I did not want to be torn out of this world so soon.

This book starts off with young Meira and her camp of Winterian refugees trying to save their kingdom but with so few of them left, what chance do they stand?  The odds are severely against them; a pipe dream really. Collect their kingdoms 2 part magical conduit, free all their people and overthrow the entire Spring kingdom.
they had an entire kingdom once but Spring's king slaughtered their queen and enslaved all but 25 that escaped. Baby Meira was one of them, an orphan girl saved by the man she simply calls Sir (which drove me batty!) along with Winterian's heir, Mather.. Over the past 16 years, their numbers have dwindled to a grand total of 8. Eight! How can 8 people possibly free a country? The are exiled and despised in just about all other countries.

I am not sure what I think of the way the countries are done. We have 4 countries that are each based off a season and are aptly named (Spring, Winter, Fall, Summer) and four countries that have all for seasons throughout the year. If you are from a country, you have a very distinct look that identifies your country (such as Winterians have very pale skin and white hair). They was it does seems like something I would expect more in a middle grade novel with the names.

Yet while we have simple kingdoms, we get a story filled with rich characters. Every single one has a very distinct personality. Even the smaller characters that barely have two lines. Each response, expression and reaction is very individualistic and realistic.

Meira was very well done. I read this book with a group of others and a few thought she was whiny but I thought her reactions to things were perfect for her age. She is 16 and teenagers are prone to hormonal outbursts at times and can think in a bit self-centered way at times. Most 16 year olds I know of have been a LOT worse. This occasional flaw in her just made her that more of a believable character. As an orphan she is constantly trying to prove herself to the only parental figure she has- Sir. Yet she feels she is always falling short. Plus I liked the Xena aspect with her chakram style and use. Always fun when someone uses a rare weapon of choice.

Sir's character is very well done. The gruff, caring father figure figure, trying so hard to not let that side show as he needs everyone to stay strong to save Winter.

Then there are the guys that compete for Meira's attention. Mather-Winter's future kind is compassionate, a good fighter and shows so much without meaning to it (and how Meira often misses it is amusing!). And then there is Theron. Theron is a prince who just wants to be free to be himself yet he is an amazing leader and warm person. While I loved them both, right now Theron is winning in my opinion. He just seems the stronger character and more likely to take risks to do what is right (just like Meira). While this is a love-triangle it does not overwhelm the story. It plays along nicely, especially with how it comes to be.

There is a lot of deciding of others fates in this book, and turn about is apparently fair play! One person's actions have consequences for others and Sara Raasch does a wonderful job showing how each interaction and choice plays out.

The magic is mostly subtle but gives it just enough enough to make this a beautiful fantasy.

The world is rich and the story has a near-perfect pace in my opinion. It just keeps moving along. It draws you in and keeps you involved with it's characters and world. I hated putting this book down for work or sleep. I just wanted to keep reading, to learn the endgame.

The ending is well done. Closing off the current arc enough to give us a breather and leaving a sense of fulfillment, with just enough room to leave me craving the next book.

This book earns just over 4 stars from me. It has earned a permanent home on my shelves and I will be sure to get the next book when it comes out.


*I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair, honest review. All opinions expressed are strictly my own.*

10 comments:

  1. I'm definitely picking this up. Great review :)

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  2. I like this part to your review - "There is a lot of deciding of others fates in this book, and turn about is apparently fair play! One person's actions have consequences for others and Sara Raasch does a wonderful job showing how each interaction and choice plays out." I think it really ties in to your point about the characters being well developed and having very distinct personalities. We have a lot of the "people deciding others' fates" thing going on today. Seems like Sara puts a strong human element into her characters here, not just personally but in their interactions as well. Just like real life. I like that it's a fantasy novel, but it brings in something we all know well in its people. Cool story, bro!

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  3. This is a series I've got in my TBR pile that MUST be dragged out

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  4. I liked your review, I will be adding this to my TBR pile as I enjoy well-written books with a good story and compelling characters!

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  5. Thanks for the review. I had seen this and wondered, now I know I must ad it to my TBR pile.

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  6. interesting how choices and consequences play out

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  7. I really liked this book and I'm looking forward to Ice Like Fire and even though there's no cliffhanger I'm caraving for more ;)

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  8. I really liked this book and looking forward to Ice Like Fire and even though there's no cliff hanger I'm craving for more ;)

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  9. I won this book in a giveaway but haven started it yet because I've read of that tortuous cliffhanger and I wanted to to get the second book before getting started on the series, though I have to wait till November!! A lot of the reviews I read also mentioned that there's quite a bit of info dumping in the book too. But looks like the writing is absolutely fantastic! Great review and I'm glad you loved it.

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  10. Love your review! Just put this book on my TBR list :)

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