June 5, 2014

e-ARC Review of Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Expected Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Page Count: 432
Format: e-ARC
Genre: YA
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.
*an e-ARC of this book was given to me via Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review*

 I first found out about Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch from EpicReads during their ARC Party. The cover immediately drew my eye since I love gorgeous covers and the description sounded amazing. Game of Thrones meets Graceling, how can you not be interested by that phrase, let alone the rest of the description?? I spent months trying to find someone to trade for an ARC or to borrow one, I even featured Snow Like Ashes in one of my Waiting on Wednesday posts but my attempts were failing until the e-ARC was added to Edelweiss. As soon as I heard about it, I rushed to Edelweiss and requested a copy of Snow Like Ashes. I checked every day, every week, and I had given up hope on being approved when one day after a month I got an email saying that I had been approved. I was beyond excited and happy and downloaded it right away. Even though I had to wait a month to read it, I can easily say that it is worth waiting until October because of how AMAZING it is! I had very high expectations for this book and it greatly surpassed them.

The world-building in Snow Like Ashes was beyond fantastic, EIGHT kingdoms, numerous cities/towns, kings/queens, alliances, what each kingdom is known for, etc. It was a bit confusing at first because of all the information in a short amount of time but after a few chapters the confusion was gone. Basically, there are four Season kingdoms and four Rhythms kingdoms, each one with a king/queen that can wield magical power. Each kingdom started with a female or male heir and therefore if their current ruler is of the same gender as their first ruler than they can wield magic. (for example, Winter started with a female so only queens can wield the magic while Spring started with a male so only kings can use the magic). The Season kingdoms are each named after a season (Spring, Summer, etc) while their major cities are named after months in that season (Abril, Jannuari) and always stay in that season.  The Rhythm kingdoms can also wield magic however they experience all four seasons so they're more "normal" compared to the other four kingdoms. Throughout the book several kingdoms like Spring and Autumn are visited as well as numerous other areas like towns and forests. I have absolutely no complaint at all in terms of world-building (I'm not going to count the slight confusion because I got over that fast enough) and the settings/areas visited in the book. Sara describes them all vividly with countless details and makes them interact with the characters and plot perfectly. I enjoyed this portion of the book so much that I can honestly say that it is the best in ANY book I've read in 2014 and maybe 2013 as well.

 Even though it's hard to believe, the characters were even better than the world-building (which is saying something because it's obvious how much I loved that part). Meira was an absolutely amazing main character, she accomplishes so much and overcomes countless obstacles even when she believes she is worthless. She's one of the last Winter citizens still free so she's had to become strong in terms of fighting but even without that she's independent, strong-willed, and fierce. Not only does she finally gain back one of the Winter locket pieces but she also gives hope to hundreds of people BEFORE she finds out she's the queen of Winter. She definitely grows a bit from the start of the book to the end, what with saving her kingdom and finding out she's queen but it's not as big of a growth as most characters in other books. William or Sir as Meira calls him is the general of Winter and the one who was basically the father figure in Meira's life. Even though he pushes away his emotions towards Meira it's easy to see how much he cares about her. The whole book I was hoping that he would finally let Meira accept him as her dad but unfortunately that did not happen. There was a love triangle which I usually dislike but it faded away quickly and so did not detract from the book. Mather the "king" of Winter and Theron, the prince of Cordell (one of the Rhythm kingdoms) both vie for her attentions but Mathers situation (everyone was told he was the king in order to protect Meira and so he had to act like a king) pushed her away and she more or less picked Theron. I hope he doesn't turn out like Noam (his father and king of Cordell) since I liked him more than Mather, he seems like a sincere and helpful person. There were a plethora of other characters in Snow Like Ashes (Finn, Nessa, etc) and each one was a welcome addition to the cast. Overall, Sara Raasch gives you some amazing characters that you will love reading about.

Even the ending of Snow Like Ashes was perfect, NO cliffhanger. Yes, that's right the story ends satisfyingly and not in a abrupt and painful way. Despite that I'm still desperately wanting the second book even though this one isn't even out until October. Snow Like Ashes was a perfect blend of fantasy, amazing world-building and characters, magic, and has now become my current favorite book of 2014. Snow Like Ashes is perfect for people who like Game of Thrones, fantasy, and all the awesome things I just described above.

5/5 - Amazing book


  1. *skims review because ahhhhhhhh, spoilers* (You might want to put a spoiler warning at the top of this. ;)) Great thoughts overall, and the world-building sounds awesome (and makes me worry less about having 7 kingdoms in my WIP). So excited to eventually read this book myself!

  2. Would definitely have appreciated a spoiler warning on this :/ but the book sounds amazing and I cannot wait to get my hands on it when it comes out!

    --Katie at The Pop Cultist