Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Published by Balzer + Bray (10.14.2014)
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 432 pages
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.
As far as high fantasies go, this one was fairly well done but it felt very generic. The pacing was fast, making the 432 pages go by pretty quick. The main thing that ruined my enjoyment of this book is that I felt like I’d already read it before: In Throne of Glass. There were too many similarities – strong, ass-kicking orphaned heroine, a dead queen talking to her in her dreams, a princely untouchable love interest, View Spoiler »an orphan who is actually the heir to the throne (cliché much?) « Hide Spoiler…and a quasi love triangle that felt like Dorian and Chaol all over again. Just replace Captain of the Guard with another prince.
Just like Sarah Maas, Sara Raasch is fabulous at world building. And that’s where the similarities stop – because the world in Snow Like Ashes is completely different from Throne of Glass. I thoroughly enjoyed the setting. Sara is a pro at bringing her world to life! This could easily have been a movie for as cinematic as it was. Such a realistic setting! Sara’s writing is very descriptive, albeit a bit dry.
The beginning was a bit confusing. There’s talk of conduits, and Rhythms, and I had no clue what was going on. There were a few info dumps that made my brain hurt a little bit, but once you get the gist of the world everything starts to make sense. Just hang in there! Once you understand, the world building is spectacular. Everything is very well fleshed out and you can tell that Sara Raasch spent a lot of time and thought on the setting of her story.
I didn’t form much of a connection with the characters, to be honest. I didn’t care about Theron or Mather. Angra and Herod weren’t scary or menacing like they should have been. Meira was a good lead, and while I did like her, I didn’t connect to her quite like I hoped. So much time was spent on the world building that I feel as if the characters were left out. If they had been as fleshed out as the world was, this book would have rocked my socks!
Sara is so good at portraying death and war in a very clear and realistic manner that it affected me. View Spoiler » I was surprised when I actually felt something when Sir died. Therefore, I was pretty annoyed when he magically reappeared, healthy and whole. Whaddaya know, after he breathed his last breath, he was healed by his queen. -___- See, that’s the problem with fantasy – no one stays dead, so you can’t even believe a death is real, therefore you’re robbed of any feeling when they die. *sighs* « Hide SpoilerView Spoiler »I’m afraid the whole orphan-is-secretly-a-lost-queen thing was predictable. I figured out at 32% that she was actually a royal. I mean, why the hell else would they betroth an orphan with a prince?! « Hide Spoiler
However, I do think this series has great potential and I’m interested to see where it goes next!
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 3.5/5