Snow Like Ashes
by Sara Raasch Published by Harper Collins
on October 14th 2014 Genres: Fantasy & Magic
, Love & Romance
, Young Adult Format:
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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.
Snow Like Ashes was amazing at some moments, and annoying at others. The world is quite complicated, with eight kingdoms in total. Meira, our protagonist, was a complex character an orphan with no one but her best friend Mather and “Sir” her harsh trainer, but fatherly figure all the same. Meira wasn’t a very happy character, she often felt useless and not very helpful to her country, when all she wanted to do was be a part of saving Winter. I LOVED watching her transform and become the fierce warrior and clever girl she always was.
The journey to becoming who she was destined to be was filled with many complicated situations: an arranged marriage, death, disturbing dreams, something called “The Decay”, a whole nation threatened by genocide, and all the drama in-between.
Meira is torn between Mather, the boy she’s always known and secretly loved, and Theron, an artistic and gorgeous prince. In my opinion, the love triangle came out of nowhere and wasn’t really necessary. Meira and Theron knew each other for what, two days? Insta-love at its worst. I hated how Meira was always comparing Mather and Theron. The boys fought over her. They both “loved” her. Couldn’t she at least be embarrassed by their behavior, which by the way, also came out of nowhere. They just met, and now they’re trying to kill each other with swords? Common sense was not present in that chapter.
Theron didn’t do it for me. He was made to be a perfect character, the prince charming that sweeps you off your feet. Meria always got annoyed with how Mather never expressed his feelings, but come on, give the guy a break, would you? He’s the future king, his people are all being killed, and he can’t be with his best friend/love interest. At least he’s a flawed character. Theron wasn’t.
One other thing I didn’t enjoy was “I-don’t-kill-off-my-characters” syndrome, which was present towards the ending. The plot twist (which I won’t spoil) annoyed me because I wished a side character would’ve had the main position of power. I’m not saying that this doesn’t happen, but it seems a bit rare in YA (unless it’s a contemporary when the girl is super jealous of her best friend the whole time) The main character is always special, powerful, amazing. And yes, it took Meira some time to get there, but she ultimately was the one that was special, powerful, amazing. That’s okay, but I was hoping for her to be proud of who she was, not just what she had done or what she was given.
On a positive note, I really loved the idea of the Wintertarians, who were in concentration like camps, preserving their histories, memories, and culture by sneaking down into tunnels under their work camp and writing on the walls. That was a very creative idea, one that made me say, “Wow” out loud. I could picture that wall in my mind, and it was a great detail the author added to the story in general.
Summing it up:
Snow Like Ashes was up and down for me, with a few YA tropes that are annoying to me. I liked Meira (when she wasn’t caught up in love drama) and most of the setting/descriptions used for the world were very good. I guess I’m waiting for Book 2 now, huh?