even blizzards start with snowflakes ❄ snow like ashes by sara raasch

snowlikeashes1Published: October 14th 2014 by Balzer + Bray
Genre & Keywords: Fantasy
Other Books From Author: none, debut author!

I received this for review from the publisher, but that in no way swayed my opinion, promise! All quotes are taken from the advance reader’s copy and may be subject to change.

Amazon | Goodreads | @seesarawrite |

Kingdom of Winter has been conquered, its people are enslaved and magic is taken away; Until there is talk of a way to get the magic back. 

Orphaned during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of half of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics, and to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

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I was apprehensive of picking up Snow Like Ashes, what with the comparisons to epic fantasies like Graceling, Game of Thrones, Throne of Glass… When you make claims like that, you’ll have to live up to them or die a horrible death.

(Though honestly, I’d much prefer a book pitched as something I’ve never read before than something I already have.)

Snow and Ashes was an interesting fantasy read, nothing revolutionary. I will admit that I was hoping for a touch… more.

The world-building drove me nuts as I tried to keep track of names and geography and MORE names. I’ll give you a taste: there are 8 kingdoms in Primoria, spread among a huge desert, mountain ranges, rivers, and also a chasm underground that contained magic. On top of that, I had to remember names of 8 Kings/Queens, their Royal Conduits that conduct magic, political enemies and alliances and histories… whaaaat!!! I was pretty lost and ready to give up by the first 50 pages.

Of course I didn’t. With a book as hyped as Snow Like Ashes, I had to at least stay and see what the hype’s all about right?

We begin with Meria and the surviving Winterians dodging around Evil Spring King’s forces to get their Royal Conduit back. The plot took a while to get running because THE ONE THING that could save Winter was kept in wraps, and the first part was all preparatory work. I nearly cried tears of joy when we zoomed in on 3 kingdoms: Winter, Spring and Cordell. Works much better on my goldfish memory. Ms Raasch’s descriptions are extremely detailed and I settled in the slow pace to enjoy the distinct cultures of each kingdom. Again, it was interesting, but not unlike other fantasies I’ve read before.

I’m not sure where your line is drawn. For me, Meira sits on the border between Strong & Fierce and Stubborn & Reckless. The book begins with her in a sparring match with Mather, Winter’s future king, and it’s clear right off the bat that she’s all for GIRL POWER. She’s got a steadfast loyalty to Winter, deadly chakram, and temper that could make anyone fall to the ground in terror. (Celeana Sardothien, anyone?)

“Meira,” She says, her voice worn. “Please, dear, you should be grateful you aren’t needed”
I whip to her. “Just because you’d rather be patching dresses doesn’t mean all women should want that.”

It’s easy to understand her steeled personality because she’s the one girl holding up this show, and I admired her tenacity. Despite that, there were moments when I wished Meira could be more… mature?? She is bent on her ways, and faults anyone in disagreement, even if it’s for her own / the greater good. Imagine an angry bull, charging full force towards the red flag in spite of warnings to be careful. Thankfully, Meira’s obstinate nature brought more good than harm in the end, but it could have easily gone astray.

‘‘Meira, this isn’t going to fix anything—’’
‘‘Don’t care.’’
‘‘I’ve talked to him every day since he announced […] if I can’t change his mind—’’
I grit my teeth. ‘‘I. Don’t. Care.’’

✪ ✪ ✪

THE FINAL THOUGHT: Snow Like Ashes was whelming. Not overwhelming like I thought it would be, just… whelming. I still liked it– there were moments I reveled in, multiple quotes that I highlighted, favourite characters (Nessa! Sir! oh and Theron obviously) and there is still a lot more to explore(COME ON. 8 KINGDOMS????). Sadly, it gave me the same vibes as that of many other fantasy novels, so while I really enjoyed reading this – it is a good book and all – but not memorable enough for me to give it ALL THE LOVE you know?

I’m clearly the minority on this one! Have you read this? Did you like it? Would you read this? I maaaay be continuing this series, simply because the plot development in the end was phenomenal. WOWZA. I’d love to hear your thoughts (*^▽^*)

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28 thoughts on “even blizzards start with snowflakes ❄ snow like ashes by sara raasch

  1. I haven’t read this yet but I will soon since I got my copy already! Anyway, I know about liking books but not enough to give all your love because even though they’re good, they just pales in comparison with your favorites, right? Throne of Glass series is like a fave of mine, consider me super intrigued now for this one. :)

    Great review! Xo
    MARGA @ DEADLY DARLINGS

    • YES! it gets REALLY troublesome when a book compares itself to something i loved so so so much (e.g. throne of glass). while reading snow like ashes, i was comparing it to ToG the whole time, yet it’s almost impossible to surpass ToG in my opinion. then again, many have read ToG and loved this one so hope you’ll enjoy it nonetheless!! thank you, marga <3

  2. I haven’t read this yet but I’m honestly nervous to! I’ve heard it compared to Throne of Glass (one of my all-time favorite series) and I’ve heard it said that it isn’t THAT great as far as world-building and the romance goes. I’ll probably still give it a shot but I’ll go in a tad wary of it and try not to get too excited. :/

    • to be fair, the romance didn’t play a HUGE part in the book, which is great because the plot gets centre-stage attention and Meira develops into a strong girl who needs no prince charming to save her; but it’s not so great because hehehe i love me some cute love story too!! i guess the comparisons didn’t do Snow Like Ashes a big favour.. it would have been a fantastic fantasy read had i not compared it to ToG consistently in the my head. MARKETING MISSTEP. i really hope you’ll like this one!! =)

  3. Ugh. I did not have a good time with this book as well. Primarily because it was all too pedestrian. It also irks me when a fantasy novel has a heroine whose only purpose is to marry a prince from another kingdom to strengthen ties. I mean, seriously. Could you be any more unoriginal? This is no Graceling, I tell you that.

    • o_o you remind me, i haven’t read graceling!!

      i was kind of annoyed when we were stuck in Cornell’s kingdom because all Meira did was struggle against silk and satin? sure, that’s struggle in itself, but not the action-war-plot i thought we were going for. eh if the ending hadn’t been so epic, i would’ve regretted not DNF-ing this.

  4. I really liked Snow Like Ashes, but I didn’t think it was as good as the Throne of Glass series. Throne of Glass really is one of my favourite series, and I think (while Snow Like Ashes was a good solid Fantasy) you can’t really compare the two. Snow Like Ashes had some issues, it really was a good read, but it had issues. Throne of Glass, to me, doesn’t have ANY issues. Throne of Glass is the bomb!

    • *HUGS*

      YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!!

      your comment basically summarized how i felt about this book!! i feel like comparing books to ToG or The Hunger Games or Harry Potter etc. really isn’t the way to go because in my opinion, those are perfect and everything else would pale in comparison, not matter how good they are. i would still recommend snow like ashes as a good fantasy though!

  5. *sighs* I know how you feel Alicia! :| It’s always disappointing when a book is solid, but the hype makes you think you’ll be getting more than you actually end up getting, you know? :( My thoughts were pretty similar to yours – saying how the book was a bit underwhelming and predictable. I am interested in seeing where the story goes though! :D Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3 Glad I found someone with similar thoughts!

    • somedays i’m grateful for hypes that recommend me AMAZING books, and on others i get pretty mad at them for the ridiculous sky-high expectations! i think Celeana’s reveal at the end of CoM prepped me a bit for Snow Like Ashes so i actually had an inkling of the BIG PLOT TWIST *sigh* i’m so glad to find someone who thinks the same way too, thank you so much Zoe!! =)

  6. It’s quite sad when some books don’t live up to their hype, huh?
    I haven’t read this book yet,and I don’t think I will anymore because from what I ‘ve gathered from reviews so far, despite being compared to Throne of Glass and Graceling, this book is not as amazing as both of them.
    Theron has a lot of fans, by the way.Is he the Chaol of the story, then?:)

    • i can’t say for graceling but yes, i would rank Throne of Glass above this one! but then again, the ToG series is nearly impeccable in my biased fangirl opinion so… =D snow like ashes is a solid fantasy read in itself, not too shabby if you’re craving for something like it! hmm i wouldn’t say Theron is Chaol because the characters themselves aren’t exact *copies* of ToG’s characters, and dare i say… Theron > Chaol?

  7. I think I just hate book pitches in general. They just always miss the point, at least me for they do.

    I can understand why this one wouldn’t be that much of a hit. The eight kingdoms drove me absolutely up the wall as well but once that was over, I LOVED IT. There was just something about the protagonist that I adored, but I think the thing that won me over was the sense of equality in this book. My inner feminist came out and I was cheering because I ADORED the respect that both male leads gave Meira. They weren’t patronising. I could kiss that.

    • same, i understand the marketing point of book pitches, but there’s no point because no 2 books that are the same!! (i HOPE) then again it’s helped me avoid a lot of books that i know i’ll love to hate e.g. books pitched for fans of The Selection *SHUDDERS*

      oh YES i love your review for this book!! it was detailed and very insightful, i hadn’t thought as much about the issue of equality while i was reading =) in a little way, i felt invigorated by the respect Sir, Mather and Theron gave Meira, and i’m hoping the same will catch on with other books!

  8. I can’t wait to read this book because Meira as a character sounds like a really well developed one, and I kind of like just from reading your review that I can pick out her strengths and flaws you know? The world building does sound complicated, hopefully I’ll have better luck with it! Great review Alicia!

    • Now that you put it that way, distinct strengths and weaknesses does make for a well-developed character =) I don’t know, something about Meira didn’t click with me, on top of all the infodump I had to wrap my little brain around… hehe. hope you enjoy it though, i can definitely see why many loved Snow Like Ashes!

  9. Book pitches are usually bothersome to me, but I prefer to ignore them and dive into the book! I adored Snow Like Ashes and I loved Meira! She was a bit stubborn on occasion but she was amazing in a way that never let others tell her she was out of options!

    • i still stand by that book pitches aren’t the best thing one can do for a book! yeahhh i guess her stubbornness was born out of desperation because no one listened to her, but something about Meira didn’t click with me. glad that you’ve enjoyed it though!

  10. I alsway have trouble remembering names, especially when there are a lot of characters. I can imagine why you would feel lost reading it as it sounds like the author overdid it a bit with the amount of names to remember. It’s difficult to decide were to draw the line between Strong & Fierce and Stubborn & Reckless, I sometimes find characters get too much on the reckless side and I would like reading about some carefull main characters once in a while. Great review!

    • considering i can’t find my north, south, east and west, it really was a challenge to keep my bearings atop the names/geography/relationships in this book! it shouldn’t be as bad for most people, plus things scale down as a the story progresses so we only focus on 3 kingdoms. *phew* the line is drawn in a fuzzy grey area that i can never define so… guess i was craving for a more thoughtful character from Meira! thank you so much, lola =)

  11. Awww sorry this one wasn’t quite everything you’d hoped it would be Alicia! I absolutely adored it and Meira, but it would be downright boring in the blogging world if we all loved the same things. I grabbed this one too before it was getting too much hype, and I think that plays a role too. It’s hard not to have crazy high expectations going in when a book is getting a lot of rave reviews. So enjoyed reading your thoughts!

    • YES!! i was really excited for this book too, wish i read it before all the glowing reviews came flooding in (it happens all the time because i’m such a slow reader haha). i love reading different opinions too, they make me a lot more aware of what i’m reading, and probe me to think in perspectives i hadn’t considered before =) thank you, Jenny!

  12. Dude I HATE it when books are praised as the the Next This or That. Remember when EVERYTHING was the next Twilight? So annoying. It also changes my mindset when I start reading a book and I think it’s going to be like Game of Thrones of Graceling (which…unpopular opinion…I don’t know if I actually like Graceling o.O)

    Geography is my one downfall, and I’m always too lazy to look at the map that the author provides.

    Sorry this one didn’t live up to the hype, I’m happy you were able to find some enjoyable aspects though Alicia!

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

    • “The Next Twilight”

      nope, not gonna pick that up!

      i haven’t read Graceling so i can’t say much, but yeah i was expecting a Throne of Glass from this one, which really makes no sense because THIS IS NOT THRONE OF GLASS. book pitches. ugh. *mental stabbing*

      oh i adore maps!! they are usually my fav parts of the book (because they’re qt AND life-saving), but this time i read Snow Like Ashes on my kindle and it wasn’t as convenient to flip back and forth. sigh.

      thank you so much =) (do i address you by amber, elise or amber elise? i don’t want to get it wrong!!)

  13. Sorry to hear this one disappointed you slightly. However, it still seems like a solid start to the series. I’m really looking forward to reading this one! I haven’t read Game of Thrones yet, but I love the TV show and, as for Throne of Glass, it disappointed me. Going to give Crown of Midnight a go soon, though. Thanks for a wonderful review, Alicia. :)

    • solid start, YES. i’m quite curious of how things will pick up from the ending! it wasn’t cliff-hangery, but i still have lots of questions about the magic and the worlds, and i expect things to go BIGGER SCALE when we’re finally introduced to all 8 kingdoms (MORE NAMES AHH haha). hmm if you thought throne of glass was slightly iffy, i promise Crown of Midnight is MUCH BETTER. I hope! *fingers crossed* hope you enjoy =))

  14. I was interested in this book because it slowly started gaining momentum in the blogosphere, but it’s disappointing to hear that it’s, well, disappointing. I love fantasy, but I want an exciting read from them. I want to experience something magical. And while Meira sounds awesome (and that art at the side is heck-a-awesome!) I probably won’t be reading this any time soon.

    Great review, Alicia!

    • took that art of Meira from Ms Raasch’s Pinterest board, which is LEGIT amazing! i might love it more than the book =P Snow Like Ashes is a GOOD fantasy novel in every sense of the word, but i was probably looking out too much for creativity that i missed certain merits of the book? then again, must a book be creative to be worth reading? idk, if you do ever read this, tell me what you think, thank you!! =)

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