Monday, January 26, 2015

[Book Review] Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch

Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Source: eARC courtesy of the publisher via Edelweiss


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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review

Note: I received and advance readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is a spoiler free review.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch is a great new book in the young adult fantasy genre. I liked the story and the characters but because it was so hyped up, I had really high expectations going in, which is never good a thing. I had a little trouble getting into the story at first because of the amount of background information. However, the suspense and plot twists kept me reading and I'm glad I did because it turned out to a solid start to what looks to be a fantastic fantasy series.

There is a lot of hype surrounding Snow Like Ashes and for the most part it is quite justified. I loved how unique the kingdom structure is and how it revolves around the season. I definitely have never read anything like this before in young adult fantasy and it was refreshing. Meira is a strong protagonist but she feels real in her actions and reactions to the situations she is placed in. I think the secondary characters could have used a bit more in terms of character development, so I'm hoping we get more from them in the sequel.

It's always a struggle with a fantasy book to get the right balance of world building without resorting to the classic "info dump". I felt that Snow Like Ashes bordered on too much information in a short amount of page space in the beginning of the book, which made it hard to get into. This book had been so hyped up for me that I just wanted to get into the main action of the story but I felt a little bogged down by all the background information. However, the descriptions of the world and the magic were beautifully written so I can't complain too much.

Overall, I really enjoyed Snow Like Ashes. Even though it did take me some time to get into the story, I ended up really loving it. My best advice is to try to go into this story without letting the hype color your feelings toward it. I'm highly anticipating the sequel, Ice Like Fire, coming out later this year.

4 out of 5 stars

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