Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review: Snow Like Ashes


Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes, #1
Released: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Length: 422 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon


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. 

YA fantasy is one of my favorite (sub)genres, but it’s also the one I’m most picky about. There are examples of almost flawless series everyone seems to love but me, and then there are some I practically worship and reread all the time. When Snow Like Ashes started being compared to Throne of Glass, I have to admit I was worried. Throne of Glass is one of those books (and even series) that makes me feel like the odd one out –I appreciate it, but I don’t feel compelled to read the next book at all, and even when I do, I tend to be annoyed with the characters and their actions.

While Snow Like Ashes is similar to Throne of Glass in that it’s YA fantasy and that everyone seems to like it, for me, that’s where the similarities end. I had some trouble starting this book (mostly because of my preconceived notions and misgivings), but once it pulled me in, the experience was beautiful and unforgettable. I not only want to read the second book, I would sell my soul to get my hands on it as soon as possible.

The world Raasch created doesn’t have the intricacy of Cashore’s world or the precise beauty of Lumatere, but it is well done and it has so much potential for further development. Eight kingdoms divided into two group of fours – the Seasons and the Rhythms – are ruled by kings and queens with special conduits of magic. Only Winter has no conduit, not since Spring destroyed the kingdom, killed their queen Hannah, and enslaved everyone but a small group of refugees.

Meira is among these refugees, and so is Mather, the rightful heir to the throne. Their small group has been trying to get their conduit back for over 15 years without success, until Meira takes things into her own hands. From the start, Meira is a character we can easily admire and cheer on. She is capable and more than ready to defy authority when needed, and she doesn’t hesitate to put herself in danger if it can somehow help her kingdom. She is one of those heroines that think for themselves at all times, and she doesn’t allow anyone to influence her or tell her what to do. Even when cornered, she finds a way to take control of her own life as much as possible, and this balance she always tries to achieve is what made me like her instantly.

Meira, of course, has been half in love with Mather her whole life, and not only because he’s the only boy her age around. I saw this infatuation as something childish, caused more by circumstances than anything else, and was thrilled when she seemed to outgrow it and let go. There is another boy, of course, a much better boy for our Meira and it is my hope that the story will further take her in his direction and away from childish fantasies.

The pacing of this story is absolutely brilliant. Raasch’s writes like a seasoned author and rarely gives us time to breathe. I can’t even imagine what comes next for Meira, Theron, Mather and the rest, but whatever it is, I’m confident it will be written flawlessly.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


21 comments:

  1. Oh yes I heard great things about this one and I confess that it made me really curious! I want to know more about the world and the chracters! I'm glad you also had a great time!

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  2. I am dying to read this! I don't like it when people compare books to others just based on the genre, like Snow Like Ashes was compared with Throne of Glass... It can give you wrong expectations and sometimes you can enjoy a book less just because of that. I love your review though, I really want to pick this book up soon.

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  3. OOOh nice review! I'm glad I'm not the only one who couldn't get into Throne of Glass. But there's something about this one that really pulls me in! I have added it to my Xmas list and I can only hope that someone gets it for me! Else I'm buying the day after! LOL

    Great review!

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  4. So happy to hear you also loved this one! I loved it and gave this book 5 stars and one of them was all because of Meira! I so love that girl, she's sassy, she's a fighter and she wants to do what's right!
    And yep, I'm team Theron too!!
    Great review Maja!

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  5. I'm really glad you enjoyed this, Maja. I loved this one too and I was impressed by how well the author wrote. I think a lot of people prefer Meira with Theron, but I'm not really convinced of his character just yet. I think he might have some secrets and I'm excited to see them become eventually unraveled!
    Lovely review! :)

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  6. YAY MAJA!!!!!! I'm so glad to see that you loved this one as much as I did. I was just so impressed with Meira and the way she handled everything thrown at her, the romance in particular. She could have waffled and clung to the past as you said, but she didn't, and she allowed herself to really see her childhood crush for what it was. I need book two immediately!!!!

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  7. Yay! Happy to see this wonderful review Maja because I really really want to read this and if you didn't like it, then I was going to start doubting whether or not it was going to be worth it to read.

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  8. I had so many problems with this book, the least of which, is the love triangle. I thought that as far as fantasy novels go, this didn't really veer away from the norm. It also irked me when Meira was 'prettified' for the prince. Like that's all she was worth. Even knowing her identity in the end, I just didn't see anything remarkable about this.

    I'm glad you loved it, though. It makes me think that I was too quick to dismiss it.

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  9. Almost everyone is loving this one, and your review sealed the deal. I am reading this over Thanksgiving! Brilly review!

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  10. This book is really getting around today! Yours is the second back-to-back review I've read for this title, mind you yours was much more positive which actually worked out well. I like getting both POVs before I make up my mind. The pacing, and wold-building are definite pros. I'm just not sure about the love triangle...

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  11. Yay, I'm thrilled that you liked this one, Maja. I'm now less hesitant in reading it because of everyone else's glowing review. Like you I am picky with my fantasy too. I absolutely loved Cashore's books and still have to read Marchetta's fantasy series. I ordered this one already and am impatiently waiting to get it.

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  12. I'm such a huge fan of Throne of Glass series that I really cannot wait to read this one. Needless to say when you say that you'll sell your soul for the next book it means a lot (and I do say that quite a lot xD). Great review, Maja :)

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  13. I agree with everything you have said here. I'm actually more worried about starting Throne of Glass for the reasons you stated about this book. LOL I so need that next book as well!! NEED. IT. NOW. LOL

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  14. This is one I'm dying to read but I've told myself I need to catch up on my others first. I have so many series to catch up on before I start a new one. But I've been hearing many amazing things!

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  15. I would totally have skipped this when I saw the throne series thing ;) But if you say they are not alike then phew, good then

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  16. I think the pacing is one of the things I liked the best about this story. It really just kept a steady but fast pace forward without getting *too* fast or slow. Highly enjoyed the whole story and looking forward to seeing what happens next!

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  17. I loved this one too Maja, and thought it unfolded beautifully. I am looking forward to the next one

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  18. Oh yay! I have this on my wish list and it's great to see such a positive review.

    I know what you mean about Throne of Glass. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't OMG amazing like so many people make it out to be.

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  19. Ooh I am so glad that you loved this one, even with a rocky start! It's a read I have greatly anticipated this year and cannot wait to start reading it myself and get my hands on it! Reading this review has only made me more excited for it!

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  20. I really enjoyed this one though I had some issues with it. I'm with you...love, love fantasy! I think this was a great start and can't wait to see where the series goes.

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  21. Funny, I'm the other way around with this series and Throne of glass. While I liked it, I don't feel compelled to read the sequels right away. There were too many things that didn't connect with me, which is a shame really. The whole concept was interesting, but.. mweh.

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