Title:Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Book #1 in the Snow Like Ashes trilogy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray – an imprint of HarperCollins
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Genres: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Format: Purchased Hardcover
“Snow Like Ashes” by Sara Raasch was a debut novel in 2014. It’s a high-fantasy story told from the view point of sixteen year old Meira, an orphaned girl who is raised to be a soldier/warrior. She is among seven others who are refugees from their country, Winter. Winter was taken down by Spring, their ruthless leader, Angra, at the forefront the assault. As Meira and the others camp out in the plains and try to find the two pieces of the locket that contains magic for their country and their people. But things go awry when a spy ends up finding their location and they then have to turn to a kingdom that they aren’t sure can be trusted and are thrust into a world of war, politics, and many secrets.
This novel was a fun read. There were, of course, some things that didn’t flow well or things that just seemed out of place, but I overall enjoyed the book and am excited for the second one to come out.
The plot wasn’t very predictable, though I did figure out a couple of things as the story went on, but their means of how they came about surprised me, so that was nice in terms of the predictability area. It was engaging and fast-paced a lot of the time, the plot always moving forward even through the slow parts.
I liked the concept for the book itself, for sure, and thought that it was unique in many ways. Though the names of some of the countries and their capitals (country: Winter; capital: Jannuari) were so punny, I thought that the fact that each Season country held its own season and own strengths, while each Rhythm country had all four seasons but varied greatly, was intriguing in and of itself.
Meira was a character who I liked through a majority of the novel, it was just toward parts of the last one hundred pages of the book, or so, that I was like, “What happened to the kickass, brave girl I was just reading about?” She had moments of thought where I thought she would act rather than cower, but that didn’t happen. Maybe given the circumstances it made sense, but at the same time I was hoping she’d have had a bigger back bone like she did at the beginning of the novel.
But her kickassness came back when the big discovery was revealed and things got insane toward the end of the book. I really enjoyed reading about the rebellion (it gave me chills).
Mather, the King of Winter, also sixteen years old, seems like a typical boy-king in many YA novels, but just better at hiding his emotions? Yeah, we’ll go with that. I liked their awkward wanting-to-be-near-you-but-shouldn’t thing that was going on between him and Meira throughout most of the novel. His character, though, was brave and fitting of a young king-in-training. I liked him and glad he wasn’t a bad guy.
Sir (aka William) was what I expected him to be: hard and fearless. He’s the rock in their ocean, as Meira stated in the novel. He’s definitely a character who is strong and presents himself as a leader, one who’s faced years of war and turmoil and strife, but keeps strong underneath it all. He’s actually kind of likable despite all of that.
Theron is the Prince of Cordell, was similar to Mather in ways that resemble the calm demeanor of a future king, but different in that he’s artistic and values art over politics. He’s not necessarily quick to state what’s on his mind, but he does have opinions and states them when the time calls for them. I liked him and hope to read more about him in future books.
Angra, the main villain and king of Spring, is a villain you can’t really help but hate. I don’t like him, but he makes a good, maniacal villain. He’s mean and ruthless with all the cruel humor of a torturer, but he also is composed as a king should be.
I enjoyed reading about the setting, as well. Imagining all of these places – the Seasons and the Rhythms – took my breath away when I imagined them in my head as I read the descriptions about them. I want to see their world and how they function. The fact that magic isn’t running rampant around the whole world, but rather through conduits such as a staff or ring or locket, etc, was definitely interesting and different from what I’ve read before. And then the plot twist as to what happens if a conduit is destroyed under certain circumstances… oh yes, me likey.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this novel, even if I did zone out at a few parts or thought there was too much description sometimes and not enough action. I highly recommend if you enjoy fantasy.
I rate this book 4/5 stars.