Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch
I feel like this book had so much potential to be great but somehow fell a little bit short. When I read the synopsis, the sound of a fierce girl secretly in love with her best friend who would do anything to help save her kingdom and its people from their slavery, I thought this sounds perfect! For the most part, this description held true, but something was unfortunately missing.
Snow Like Ashes starts off 16 years after the Winterians (people of Winter) have been enslaved and we follow the story of an orphan girl named Meira who is a part of the sole escapees in a refugee camp. In order to get magic back and reunite their kingdom, the Winterians must somehow find the halves of a locket which is the conduit for all magic in the winter kingdom and find help to free all of their people enslaved. Meira, raised as a soldier and growing up with the future king of Winter as her best friend, she will do anything to try and free her people and go home to the land she has never seen. The land she came from and belongs to. But without the approval of her mentor and man who took her in when she was orphaned, she is resigned to keeping to the camp while the others go and search for the locket that will save them all. In a rare occurrence, she gets the chance to prove her worth and is sent to look for a locket half, but this is only the beginning of the journey she is about to undergo.
As far as characters go, Meira was a strong female protagonist. She was raised to defend herself and is very skilled with a chakrum. She knows her way around politics growing up with Mather while the man who saved them named William, but called Sir, groomed Mather to become King. She is passionate about her people and strives to do the right thing. Even with all of this on her side, she somehow still manages to get into all sorts of trouble. But doing the right thing isn’t always the easy route. I enjoyed her love for Mather, growing up with him as her best friend but slowly evolving into something more maybe?
Mather was also a character I liked. Being so young still, he wasn’t ready for all that was thrust upon him as everyone expected him to be able to fill the shoes of the Queen he never really knew. All he and Meria have ever known is growing up in the refugee camps and fighting for their freedom. His love for Meira that is kept mostly as secret as hers for him, made me feel that gooey lovey dovey feeling just wanting them to tell each other the truth and be together! But things to tend to get in the way, main thing being that he is the Winter King, and Meira is just an orphan raised by his side. He really grew on me as the book progressed and I kept rooting for him to win out in the end.
The world building in this book is quite unique with the seasons and the rhythms being the countries and the names of the capitals cleverly resembling the names of the months we know. I liked that the magic wasn’t all encompassing, but more specific to a conduit and a person of royalty be it a King or Queen. The magic is passed down through bloodlines and can only present itself if given from queen to future queen or king to future king. This was all really unique and I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it in any other books.
In the midst of all the world building and getting to know the characters, this is where I started to lose interest in the plot. Meira was pretty inconsistent in her abilities, one minute scaling walls and conquering enemies, and other times freezing with fear and putting herself and her loved ones in danger more times than I can count. The magic system while somewhat straight forward, also got a bit confusing at times. And then there was so much political talk my head started to spin at some points. I do love a good bit of politics in my books, but there is a point where it starts to feel like a history lesson of a fictional land instead of aiding to the story. This is when my eyes start to glaze over and my mind begins to wander and I find myself reading the same sentence two and three times.
I am glad that I trudged through the history and info dump to get through the rest of the book, because this had a bang of an ending. I loved the action, and the fact that I finally got to read about badass Meira finally living up to her reputation. The plot really takes off and I was so into the ending of this book that it redeemed the whole thing for me. I am currently continuing on with the series and my hopes are that with the initial world building and history of this world out of the way now that the rest of the series will be more like the end of this book. So far so good!
If You Liked This Book
Snow Like Ashes dealt with a lot of elemental magic and if that’s what you are in the mood for again then Roar is my suggestion for a great follow up read. While the entire Snow Like Ashes trilogy is published, you might have to wait a little while for the rest of Roar to come out. But that shouldn’t stop you from jumping into another world where magic comes from the elements surrounding our characters while they fight to keep their Kingdoms free.
I’m pretty sure I’m in the unpopular opinion on my rating for this book. I saw quite a few 5 star ratings on goodreads, which is what initially prompted me to give this one a try. But alas, while I didn’t hate this book, I just couldn’t seem to get into it quite like all the others I saw that did. Have you ever disliked a book that others loved? What about the other way around, and loved a book that others hate? Let me know!