Title: Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1)
Author: Sarah Raasch
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Summary: 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’ve been putting this book off for a while, mostly because it sounded pretty cliche and predictable. I finally decided to give it a chance and hoped that I would get an action packed, well written fantasy book with a strong heroine. Unfortunately this book ended up being more like the opposite.
My main problem with this book was the unfortunate excuse of a heroine known as Meira. Prone to making poor decisions and not thinking things through, Meira is that sort of girl you just want to smack some sense into, basically every single time she makes a decision. She just doesn’t bother thinking things through or being logical about anything, instead acting like a big whiny baby and pitching a fit every time something doesn’t go her way. I can respect someone who stands up for themselves and doesn’t want to get pushed around, but Meira constantly acts hypocritical, talking about how she only wants to help her people, then making selfish decisions that she doesn’t bother thinking out. And on top of that, I just found her to be straight up unlikable. Just something about her constantly made me grind my teeth, which is typically not a good reaction to have about the main character.
Another thing I had a problem with was the world itself. While I’ll admit that I’m definitely not an expert by any means, logically this world does not make sense to me. There are four pieces of land along the bottom of the continent, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring, from left to right. And each piece of land has weather and landscape that fits it’s name. And that just logically doesn’t make sense to me. Now I get that this is a fantasy book so it doesn’t necessarily have to be realistic, but if you are going to do something like this, I feel like there needs to be a reason behind it. I know it sounds kind of silly, but it honestly just constantly bothered me when they would cross from somewhere like Spring where it’s warm and flowery, over to Winter where it would freezing and snowy. On top of that, I didn’t like the cliche names the author gave everything. For example, the capital of Winter is Jannuari and the capital of Autumn is Oktuber. Definitely not the most original or creative of names.
However, there were a few aspects of this book that I did enjoy, mainly the magic system. I was intrigued by the way that magic works in this world, but I wish we had gotten more information on it. Now I have to admit, I was skim reading through some parts so I might have missed some stuff, but I would have liked to get a bit more history like on how magic was discovered and how people learned to utilize it. I liked the idea of conduits and the Decay, both of which really interested me, and both of which I want to learn more about.
The other good thing about this book was that can honestly say it wasn’t as predictable as I had feared. Sure, the occasional thing went as expected, but when the story line started heating up, I didn’t know what direction it would go in. Though I didn’t really care about the story enough to try and guess what was going to happen next, the fact that I didn’t automatically know was an unexpected surprise.
Ultimately this book ended up being rather unmemorable and didn’t really stand out among lots of the other YA fantasy books I’ve read so far this year. With a heroine that I heavily disliked, lack of connection with any of the secondary characters, and an illogically world, the emotion I felt most while reading this book was annoyance. Oh, and I forgot to mention that there’s a love triangle on top of everything else. Woo hoo. While some aspects of the world were interesting enough, it was tough for the book to keep my attention and I found myself not particularly caring what happened to the characters.