Rummanah Aasi
 Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch was a debut novel of 2014 that I really wanted to read last year. With comparisons to my favorite YA fantasy novel, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, I was very eager to read Raasch's debut. While Snow Like Ashes is not quite like Cashore's novel, it is a satisfying read for readers who enjoy fantasy with a touch of romance.

Description: 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.

Review: Snow Like Ashes is an enjoyable fantasy with the right balance of action, intrigue, and romance. Raasch has created an interesting fantasy world. In Primoria, the world our heroine Meira inhabits, there are eight kingdoms: four Seasons, in a perpetual state of the season they're named for, and four Rhythms that cycle through all four. Meira is one of the remaining eight free Winterians, a kingdom who was enslaved and ravaged by King Angra of Spring sixteen years ago in order to slay the Winterian Queen and to destroy its Royal Conduit (a locket used by a female ruler to magically aid her country).
  Meira is a scrappy, likable female character with a good head on her shoulders. She hates that she can't be taken seriously or given important tasks just because she is female. Refreshingly she is not focused on her own comforts and problems, but longs to take an active role in helping to free the people of her kingdom. In order to show her fellow Winterians that she is indeed useful she goes on a dangerous mission and reclaims half the of the coveted locket. Meira is captured but thanks to her quick thinking and her military training, she escapes. Born an orphan Meira always longed for affection whether its familial in which she seeks from her stoic leader Sir or romantically with Mather, heir to the Winterian throne and best friend, though she constantly reminds herself that their relationship can not be because of their social ranks. I didn't really feel any romantic connection between Mather and Meira and often thought it was one sided. I also wished that Mather's character was a bit more fleshed out too.
 Meira's doesn't get the celebration she thought she would she would receive from retrieving the half locket and instead Spring scouts follow her to camp and the refugees must flee to the Rhythm of Cordell, where court intrigue ensue and Meira meets the instantly likable Prince Theron. While it is clear that with two love interests there would be a love triangle, however, I think Prince Theron is the most logical choice. 
  The running theme throughout Snow Like Ashes is what does it take to become a leader? There are many important decisions that the rulers of Primoria need to make. Meira's role is constantly shifting, especially as the story unfolds, the history of the provinces is revealed, magic explained, and all is not as it seems. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong violence. Recommended for Grade 7 and up.

If you like this book try: Shadow and Bone series by Leigh Bardugo
4 Responses
  1. I finally read this last week, and I was surprised. Good story telling and world building, and you are right about the theme of being a good leader, I liked that as well.

  2. I'm totally with you. I really enjoyed this one as well. We so need the next book now! :)

  3. I didn't really enjoy this one as much you, Rummanah, but plan on giving the second book a try in the hopes that it will be better. I'm hoping that both love interests will be more fleshed out in the sequel.

  4. Aylee Says:

    Cool, I'm glad you enjoyed this one because I've been quite curious about reading it myself. I've been burned by a few YA fantasies lately, so I'm always pleasantly surprised when one is praised like this one is by you. Definitely makes me take notice!

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