Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Summary: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.
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, 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. 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.
With reviews praising it as “the next Throne of Glass” and giving it shining star after shining star, I suppose you can’t blame me for my anticipation of Sara Raasch’s debut novel Snow Like Ashes. And, for the most part, it certainly did live up to those high expectations.
In the world Snow Like Ashes is set in, there are 4 kingdoms – Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn – and 4 provinces. Yet, 16 years ago, Spring conquered the Winter, destroying their magic and enslaving their citizens.
Except for us. The seven who still live with Winter’s future king. Originally twenty-five refugees who kept Spring’s rulers up at night, we are now reduced to eight.
Our protagonist, Meira, is one of the eight who survived. She spends her life training with the other seven, waiting for the right time to take back their Kingdom. And when a scout finds a hint of the locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it; but little does she know that in doing so she will be thrown into a world of magic and politics that she never knew existed.
As a main character, I felt Meira was absolutely fantastic. Her stubborn and fierce character might seem a bit unoriginal (because, honestly…when is there ever not a book where the main character is fierce and rebellious?), but the way Raasch executes her character development makes her feel a lot more real and relatable than some of those characters.
There is a love triangle here, and, dare I say it, I relatively enjoyed it.
I enjoyed it because each of the two love interests had a sufficient amount of depth and development to them; and, unlike some love triangles, it wasn’t senseless teenage hormones getting in the way. The attraction between Meira and the two love interests felt really genuine and well-written, and you could really see where her feelings came from. There will be moments where you don’t know which love interest to root for because each is well-written in his own right.
The fallback of Snow Like Ashes is most definitely it’s predictability. One of the book’s big plot reveals at the end the one concerning View Spoiler »Meira being the true heir to the throne of Winter « Hide Spoiler felt a bit predictable and cliche to me. It wasn’t the mind blowing ending or resolution I would have hoped for; but at the very least I wish there would have been a few more red herrings to make it less predictable.
All things considered, Snow Like Ashes was a solid fantasy novel – possibly one of the best I’ve read this year – and I am anxious to know how everything is resolved in the sequel.