Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1)
by Sara Raasch
published by Balzer + Bray
genre: YA, Fantasy, Debut Book
Summary (Goodreads): 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.
My Thoughts: I was glad that this mostly lived up to the Hype. I'm always concerned when everyone loves a book, for some reason I tend to not like those books.
My favorite thing had to be the world the author created. I loved the idea of having four different lands based on the seasons and with the characteristics of the seasons. The other side of that was the Rhythms. These I didn't understand as well but understand where the author was going. Ms Raasch brought balance throughout. Whether through the four seasons/ four rhythms or the four female conduits/ four male conduits. Balance was important.
Meira was another thing that I liked. She was young and eager but at the same time full of doubts concerning her place in their world. All she wants to do is prove herself to those she looks up to and feel a part of Winter, a world she hasn't set foot in since she was an infant. From being on the run, learning to be a queen, and dealing with Spring each scenario made Meira a stronger and more likable character.
The only thing that stopped this from being a straight five star read was the foreshadowing to the big reveal. It might be because I read so many fantasy books but the flashbacks, while subtle and easy to miss, told me what was going to happen. I did enjoy how and when it happened. There is some romance in this book. I never bought into Meira and Mather only because they knew no one else so who else would they be interested in. I thought her relationship with Theron felt more genuine.
Overall, this is one of my favorite reads of 2014 and I look forward to reading more about this world that Ms Raasch has created.