Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Friday, December 12, 2014

Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Genres: YA | Fantasy | Romance
Published: October 14th 2014
Publisher:  Balzer + Bray
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.

A heartbroken girl, a fierce warrior, and a hero in the making? Why does that sound kind of familiar? Oh, right. Isn't that like every other female protagonist in the YA Fantasy genre? I sure do think so. Being completely honest, Snow Like Ashes does not seem like it is based on a fully original premise. Turns out that this book is actually A LOT more, and a lot better than what the synopsis makes it sound like. Which is a bit sad, if anything.

The author knows how to write a good story, that's for sure. Snow Like Ashes was beautiful and complex - but never overly so. I'm talking about the specific type of storytelling that goes perfectly well with this genre. The flawless writing made the information dumps more bearable, and the complicated scenes easier to grasp. And believe me, there was a lot to grasp.

Meira, our so-called hero in the making, was a little too whiny at first for me to be able to trust her to become a marvellous character. She couldn't even beat her best friend, Mather at battle and still dared to complain about not being allowed to fight on the front lines. Girl, this is war. I think she should have practised and proven herself to others at first.

Of course, very conveniently, the way she finally proves herself to the others is by going on a mission and succeeding in what more experienced people couldn't manage to do. I wasn't really impressed. I don't want to see skills that comes out of nowhere. It's hero in the making, right? Not hero-made-overnight.

Fortunately,  her character gets a lot better throughout the novel. The annoying traits appeared less frequently and I could see true potential in her to become a leading character. Someone who isn't portrayed as a strong character only to become more of the damsel in distress upon the entry of  the male figure/s. Someone who uses her wit and acts accordingly.

There is a love triangle here. Honestly, if love triangles still bothered me, I'd be hating on almost half of the really good books out there so I've decided I just wouldn't let them bother me anymore. On one hand, we have Mather the 'future king' of Winter and Theron a future leader of the Rhythm of Cordell.

Mather and Theron were both amazing characters, but I believe Meira needs to develop as a character on her own before she ventures into the land of romance and feelings. I'm really hoping this is how it will be carried out in the upcoming book. But if she really must choose...Theron is quite the charismatic fellow. Just saying.


This was a good introductory novel to a series, with the perfect balance of complexity and simplicity, beauty, darkness and a good pacing. My problems were minor, so I would say that I highly recommend this book, especially if you're looking for a good fantasy novel, because if there's one thing this book masters,  it's the fantasy element.