Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Published: 14th October 2014
Rating: 4/5 stars
Summary: 16 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 8 survivors who managed to escape, and who have been trying to rebuild the kingdom. Orphaned as an infant during the Winter’s defeat, Meria has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior – and desperately in love with her best friend and future king, Mather – she would do anything to help Winter 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.
This is one of those books that I’ve seen around a lot but didn’t know much about. I’m glad I gave it a go though as it was a very entertaining read! It’s not the most original novel, as it features many tropes prominent in other YA fantasy stories, but it was fun to read.
The story follows teenage Meira, along with the few remaining people from her kingdom Winter, as they try to restore their home’s magic. Meira is brave, stubborn and independent. At times she came across as immature however she’s very capable of taking care of herself. She’s skilled with her weapon of choice, her chakram and isn’t afraid to put her life on the line to protect others.
Meira is close to her childhood friend Mather, the should-be Winter king. She also has a crush on him but knows they can’t be together as he is the future king. Mather is another strong character, he’s close with Meira and is always kind to her. I found all the relationships between the characters well-developed and heartwarming. The friendships felt real and I especially loved Meira’s relationship with Sir, a father-figure who she wants to impress.
One minor problem with this book is the love triangle. Normally I’d have a bigger issue with this but both the guys Meira liked were decent so I wasn’t too frustrated by it. The story wasn’t heavily focused on the romance, it’s main focus was the Winterians trying to save their kingdom. Therefore I didn’t really find the love triangle a necessary component for this novel, it would’ve been just as good without it.
“Sometimes placing our belief in something bigger than ourselves helps us get to a point where we can be enough on our own, magic or no magic.”
My favourite thing about this book was the setting. The kingdoms in this world are based on the seasons which I found interesting. The main characters are from Winter, a cold and icy place, so struggle in the warmer kingdoms and are desperate to return home. I’m looking forward to exploring more locations throughout the rest of this series. The locations were beautifully described and provided a great aura to this story.
A great thing about the book is that those who don’t normally like fantasy would also enjoy this book. It wasn’t difficult to get involved in the setting. The world-building was strong but easy to understand, as it’s basis is something everyone’s familiar with.
Although the plot was full of typical fantasy tropes, including childhood romances and an evil king stealing another kingdom’s magic, it was still entertaining. The base plot itself wasn’t the most original but it was executed well. There was lots going on in this story and I couldn’t predict what was going to happen next.
Like I mentioned, this book is not the most unique one you’ll find but it was fun to read nonetheless. It features well-developed characters as well as a beautiful setting, both of which I loved.