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.Hardcover, 422 pages
Four Stars: A strong fantasy debut with terrific characters and good world building.
Meira wants desperately just once for Sir to recognize her talents and send her out on a mission to help recover half of the missing locket that will restore the kingdom of Winter. For the last sixteen years, Meira has lived and trained among a small group of Winter refugees. Their kingdom was overtaken by the cruel ruler of Spring, their magic locket broken, their Queen killed, and the survivors enslaved in work camps. It is up to Meira and the few who escaped to try and retrieve Winter's magical locket and save Winter. Unfortunately, the task is more herculean than anyone imagined. Can Winter be restored?
What I Liked:
- Color me impressed. Snow Like Ashes is a strong YA fantasy debut. It has plenty of action, terrific characters, good world building and an entertaining story line. If you are hungering for a thrilling fantasy adventure, don't hesitate, grab this one.
- When reading a fantasy, I always expect solid world building. While it took me a tiny bit of time to fully fall into this world and grasp everything, once I did, I was impressed. Meira lives in a world divided into eight kingdoms consisting of four seasons and four rhythms. Each kingdom is ruled by a queen or king who possesses a magical conduit which allows them to use magic to help their kingdom. I liked the idea of the kingdoms based on the Seasons, and I was intrigued by the creativity of the world building.
- This book possesses a strong cast characters. Meira is a strong, female protagonist who is impressive. She is a fierce fighter and extremely stubborn. I loved her never say die attitude and how she fought no matter how dire her circumstances were. Granted, she is young and a bit impetuous, so there were a few times when I thought she was a bit too rash, but by the end, I was pleased with her growth. I think she will continue to mature and be a terrific protagonist from here on out. There were many secondary characters such as Mather, Sir, Neesha and Theron who fit beautifully with Meira. The villains are particularly cruel and vile, and they made me shudder. All in all, I thought the characters were well developed and interesting.
- The story line is jam packed full of action. There are so many thrilling and dangerous scenes that kept me on the edge of my seat, especially during the latter half of the book. If you like books with lots of action and danger, you will love this one.
- There are hints of romance early on in the story, and even the possibility of a love triangle. However, as the book progresses, the romance is pushed out of the picture, and the book becomes more about Meira rising up and reaching her true potential. The romance wasn't clearly developed, but I am sure it will solidify in the next book. I appreciated that the romance didn't overtake the plot and the story became more about Meira.
- I was pleased that the book didn't end with a nasty cliffhanger. The book comes to a satisfactory close, while leaving some lingering questions. The fight is certainly not over for Meira and the rest of the Winterians. I am eager to continue the adventure.
And The Not So Much:
- For those who aren't particularly patient when it comes to world building, this one might be a bit trying. It took me some time to settle in, but once I grasped it all I was pleased. My one qualm was that I am still am not clear on the Rhythm Kingdoms. I need a bit more clarification on the Rhythms.
- While I admired Meira's fierceness and tenacity, she isn't exactly level headed. The first half of the book, she is a bit immature, and I struggled a bit with the way she jumped into dangerous situations and spoke too quickly, luckily by the end, she grows and matures. She is a character who requires patience.
- There were hints of a love triangle, but it didn't fully develop. I think there is one boy who is right for Meira, and I have my fingers crossed that a love triangle isn't in the works.
Snow Like Ashes is a solid beginning to what I hope will be another fantastic YA fantasy series. If you like strong, driven female protagonists, solid world building and lots of action, danger as well as evil villains, this is a series you must try. I was most impressed with Ms. Raasch's debut, and I will be eagerly looking forward to the next book.
"That's why literature is so fascinating. It's always up for interpretation, and could be a hundred different things to a hundred different people. It's never the same thing twice."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my won and I was not compensated for this review.