Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Published by: Harper Audio, HarperTeen on October 14, 2014
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Narrator: Kate Rudd
Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
Click it: Goodreads | Amazon
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.
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
One Line: I loved every minute of this!
In My Opinion: Must. Read. Now!
Sara Raasch makes one heck of a stunning and captivating debut with Snow Like Ashes. I seriously couldn’t get enough of this book!
This book really surprised me. I didn’t expect to love it so much, not for any particular reason, but it’s just that even though I love fantasy, I don’t LOVE love it, you know? Well, I’m so glad I finally got around to reading this book because it was so amazing and is easily one of my all-time favorites. This book reminded me a lot of The Dragon King Chronicles by Ellen Oh in that I loved the world and its characters, and I felt so much joy and excitement while reading it. There was just something about Raasch’s writing that had me so engrossed in the book, I was hanging on every word. Her style is exactly what I like, plenty of action scenes to keep me entertained, with mixes of information at key points, and a good deal of romance right when you need it to help stir the emotions. I really liked the world that she created, having kingdoms representing different seasons and rhythms and there was such a wonderful sense of magic and awe that has me smiling each time I think about this world. I want to know about it all!
My favorite aspect of the book was Meira. She has massive potential to become one of my favorite heroines. She’s surrounded by men, most of whom treat her like she can’t measure up, so she does her best to show them all that she’s just as good, if not better, than them all. She’s all about proving that she can be an integral part in the Winterian’s fight against the Spring kingdom. She’s smart, capable, fierce, strong-willed, and she’s got a bit of snark and wit about her, too. I loved that she was able to hold her own among all the men and she had a good sense of family and comradery. Of course, she’s a bit stubborn at times and has a lot to learn about what’s really going on, but I liked watching her grow and discover everything. Her mindset was on point and I couldn’t help but want to know her more. While I will say the mystery surrounding Meira is pretty predictable, it in no way made the story less enjoyable. In fact, it made me eager to see how the characters would discover the truth and how it would change their lives.
As for the romance, we’ve got Mather, the one Meira grew up with and has always had feelings for. And we’ve got Theron, an important figure in Cardell, another kingdom in this world, who Meira spends a lot of time with while in Cardell. At first I really liked Mather. He was a bit on the brooding side and he’s not one who really knows how to express his feelings, but that’s just his way. However, I never felt like I got to really know him and there weren’t nearly enough interactions between him and Meira to have me rooting for him in any real way. Theron, on the other hand, I grew to really love. Not only is he a genuinely good guy, but I really enjoyed watching his relationship with Meira play out and they seemed to just click so much better than her and Mather. Each person has a good deal of potential and I’m excited to see how Raasch develops each relationship and who Meira will actually choose in the end.
There is just so much more to this book than I can do justice without spoiling it. A big thing that really sold this book for me was that it was able to capture my attention from the very beginning. Usually with fantasy books, especially the first in a series, the pacing is really slow, there’s a ton of info dumping in the beginning, and things don’t pick up until halfway through. I’ve gotten used to that formula in this genre. Snow Like Ashes, however, is the exception. Raasch throws you right into the heart of the characters and this world and she chose to scatter her world-building around that. I’m all for books that draw you in from the first few pages, and Snow Like Ashes does just that. I really can’t speak enough praise for this book and I am dying to read the next one. If there’s one fantasy book you read this year, let it be this one!
Plus, did you see that cover?! So gorgeous!
Thoughts on the Narrator
I really enjoyed listening to Kate and this was my first experience with her. She gave a lot of emotion when warranted and emphasis when needed. I felt like she gave the Meira life and made the book fun to listen to. Miera had a lot of personality and a bit of snark to her, Kate played up those moments just right. Of course, the book itself is fantastic, so it wasn’t hard to do, but I’m glad she did it justice. She also did a great job of portraying all the male voices, as this was a male-dominated tale, and she made sure to have each voice stand out from each other.