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Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch eARC {3.5 Stars}

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch is the story of a young refugee finding herself and going through hell to help her scattered kingdom. Snow Like Ashes has one of the coolest fantasy settings I’ve read where there are four king(queen)doms that are forever in one of the seasons and four king(queen)doms that experience all four seasons normally. The magic in the world of Snow Like Ashes is lost except for eight royal conduits, objects that the royal line can channel magic through to help and control their peoples. How can four of the regions be forever in one season you ask? Because they are closest to the source of the world’s magic, that’s why :D. But I said the magic was lost you ask? It is! Under a mountain of stone that is ;-). As our characters learn quite well, just because you know where something is, doesn’t mean you can get to it, mwahahahaha.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Snow Like Ashes from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch eARC {3.5 Stars}

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (Snow Like Ashes #1)
Published by Balzer & Bray on Oct. 14, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
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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.

3.5 Stars

Strengths:

  • I had no idea going in that Snow Like Ashes had regions called Seasons that were forever stuck in one season and I loved it! Each is called, reasonably, by the name of the season it is covered by and our main character is from the realm of Winter. I also loved the added details of how peoples from each of the Seasons were also changed by the magic controlling their land and adapted traditions and physically to the different climates. The people of Winter have thicker skin and a layer of essentially blubber in order to be comfortable in the cooler temperatures, though this then means they are ridiculously uncomfortable in any heat at all. They also all have completely white hair and a tradition of eating frozen berries to celebrate events :).
  • The main character of Snow Like Ashes, Meira, goes through some really intense character development since she starts off rather immature and naive of a lot of the world and becomes very strong because of everything she has to survive.
  • The romances of Snow Like Ashes will definitely annoy some readers, however I was honestly convinced of why each of them existed and when I really thought about it, I suspect I would have felt the same way. That’s right, there is a love triangle, but again, it is actually a fairly reasonable thing and the characters involved handle it believably.
  • Snow Like Ashes gets pretty darn gritty for a book with a queendom of Winter ;-). I enjoy slightly darker YA fantasy once in a while since it adds a real sense of danger. By the climax of Snow Like Ashes I had no idea who was going to make it and in what condition, love that!

Weaknesses:

  • Snow Like Ashes does suffer from a fair amount of info-dumping. I generally didn’t mind too much because I wanted to know more about the world, but it would have been nice if the information had been worked in a bit more smoothly.
  • The big revelation in Snow Like Ashes was way too convenient for me and falls into some pretty common fantasy tropes. I can’t really discuss more without spoilers obviously, but I just found myself disappointed with how things went towards the end.
  • Some of the things that Meira figures out about the magic and the history of her world didn’t really seem logical with previous events in the story. Again, I’m trying to avoid spoilers, but I found myself thinking a bit too hard about how everything could fit together into a cohesive whole.
  • I kept going back and forth on the love triangle between thinking it would go away and fearing its return. I ended up fearing its return in book two.
  • The names of the capitals of the Seasons are close to our names of months but not quite and it drove me batty trying to pronounce them correctly in my head. I really would have preferred them either be exactly our months or not alike at all.

Summary:

Snow Like Ashes is a great start to a promising new fantasy series and I can’t wait for the sequel. While there were things that annoyed me at times, I’m very hopeful about the second book in the series and can see a lot of YA fantasy readers falling in love with this world and Meira. I’ll definitely be collecting the entire series for the gorgeous covers if nothing else ;-).

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. Fearing the return of a love triangle? … Yeah, I wasn’t horribly excited about this one. Now I think I’ll definitely wait and see what direction Book 2 takes before starting. Great review!
    Kel @ Booked til Tuesday recently posted…Updates: Books, Yarn and DoofenshmirtzMy Profile

  2. I had mixed feelings regarding this one too! I actually liked the love triangle, but the info-dumping really threw me off as well as the slow pace!
    -Jon from Bookish Antics!
    Jon @ Bookish Antics recently posted…Giveaway: Rooms by Lauren OliverMy Profile

    • Yeah, I knew as I hit the info dumps that they’d be a problem for a lot of people but I think I’m so used to it in adult fantasy that it seems light in comparison!

  3. I have very mixed thoughts on whether I want to read this, but I am not a fan of info dumping, so I think I’m just going to pass. But I’m glad you somewhat enjoyed it!!! I think it’s cool that it’s all based on the seasons!
    Valerie recently posted…Review: The FalconerMy Profile

  4. I love that character arc of naive to more experienced and tough, sounds like Meira is really one to root for! Info dumping is a big no-no for me but I can definitely get over it as long as it doesn’t last too long. This sounds very Throne of Glass-y and since I’m behind with that one I’ll probably focus on Celaena before I get to Meira and her multiple adventures – and suitors!
    Danya @ Fine Print recently posted…ARC Review: Black Dog by Caitlin KittredgeMy Profile

    • The worlds definitely have similarities, but Meira honestly goes through waaaaaaaay more horribleness than Celaena does at least in book one ;-)

  5. I’m really glad you ended up enjoying it, even if there were a few pitfalls. Hopefully book two won’t succumb to any more fantasy tropes! *impatiently waits to run out and get my copy tomorrow*
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted…Monday Memories (#2)My Profile

  6. Even though I’m not a fan of the info dump or easy revelations – I go all crazy when I discover new fantasy worlds and magic systems! I tend to be forgiving of the info dump in the first book for a series, and I totally like that the character has a lot of growth. All in all, I’m thinking this is one for me to definitely check out. Great review!
    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted…The Next Breath | Book ReviewMy Profile

    • I’m so right there with you, yey worlds and magic :D I’m really excited to see where the series goes for exactly that reason, I suspect book two won’t suffer from the pacing issues as much

  7. Adelynne Chang says:

    I’ve seen a lot of great reviews for this one. I’m kinda skeptical as to if I should read it or not, but it looks like this probably won’t be for me (besides the awesome cover) since I despise love triangles and info-dumping can be a lot to remember. Nice review! :D

    • Yeah, I’ve seen some people love it and some hate it, so I think you’re safe skipping it given your preferences ;-)

  8. Such an amazing cover. I love a book that has eye catching cover that ties into the book. On my tbr for sure.
    Matt recently posted…Sunday Cover Scramble [88]My Profile

  9. This book sounds so good! I didn’t realize about the whole season kingdoms either. The world building alone makes me want to read this book! Sounds like it has consistency/ editing issues towards the end. Maybe they will be fixed before the book is released? Nice review. :)
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, and Blood of Olympus By Rick RiordanMy Profile

    • Hopefully those things get fixed, but it seems like Harper doesn’t tend to do that once the eARCs are out :-/. I think you’d really enjoy it though if you’re excited for the world-building :D

  10. I usually hate romance in books, but oddly enough I liked it in this one and didn’t mind the love triangle. It’s actually one of the few books where I’ve swooned for a guy (Team Theron here!). I was just so caught up in this book that I didn’t mind any of the weaker areas. Great review!

    • Yey for Theron! I definitely was pleasantly surprised by him, and I’m really curious with where things go in book two!

  11. I enjoyed this one but I wasn’t a fan of the romance. Oddly enough, the triangle wasn’t what bothered me. It was Theron. I felt he was such a cardboard cutout character. I wished I could have loved him like everyone else. Otherwise, I feel like this is a really promising start to the series! Excited to see what comes next.
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…Thrills & Chills Blog Tour- Jonathan StroudMy Profile

    • Haha, I definitely would have thought it was the love triangle if anything about the romance ;-). Hmmm, now I’m trying to remember how I felt about Theron overall, and I guess I liked his conflicts between dealing with his father and trying to be a good person *shrugs* I really hope that the good things in the series get emphasized in book two!

  12. I recently read this one and it took quite an effort to finish it. The second half was much better than first, less info-dumping. I didn’t like it, world-building you liked sounded childish and unbelievable to me. And a lot of things conveniently happened at just the right time.
    But I agree cover is awesome. :)
    Dragana recently posted…Book Review: Salvation by James WymoreMy Profile

    • Haha, I suspected that the seasons thing would bother some readers ;-). Agreed about some of the convenient occurrences, I was willing to let a few things go, but some of it just got kind of cliched :-/

  13. I’ve heard a lot about Snow Like Ashes; the reviews either strongly praise it or sound painfully mixed, so I’d been looking forward to reading your thoughts on it. I think I’ll still check it out… but I’m not at all excited about another love triangle.
    Sara L. recently posted…Chronicling The Craft: 85,000 WordsMy Profile

    • The love triangle really isn’t too painful, I promise ;-). I hear you about the varying reviews, it makes me wonder how we all read the same book!

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