Published: 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.
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.
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—’’
‘‘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.’’
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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 (*^▽^*)