Author: Sara Raasch
Publication date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: an e-galley provided by the publisher for an honest review
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 trying to come up with the exact words to use for this review. It's difficult. Snow Like Ashes made me feel conflicted throughout the story, not loving it, but not hating it either.
What I liked:
1. The political and power aspects. About 75% of this book, I'd have to say, was about politics and power. There was war that made me picture the "FOR NARNIA AND FOR ASLAN!" scene in The Chronicles of Narnia. There were poverty and power struggles between leaders. There were scenes with strategies laid out and you felt the struggle everyone was in. I've been getting more into these type of books lately so I appreciated it all.
2. The narrative. I like first impressions are important not just for real life, social situations, but also for books. I need to like the narrative and even better, if it's from the start. I quickly got into Meira's narrative, which is always relieving when it's through an ebook. I might have had issues in the story and my interest may have fluctuated throughout, but I liked the narrative.
3. A lot of THINGS happen. It's so vague, I know. But like I said, THINGS happen and I liked that nothing wasn't ever truly settled throughout.
What I disliked:
1. The lack of punch. While I like that THINGS happen, I still didn't get that WOW factor. I waited for that love to kick in, for me to be hungry for more, or to feel fangirling emotions for it. But I didn't. I just nodded and went, "Okay, that's a nice book." I can't wait to read the next book, not because of how this one affected me, but because I NEED answers and closure (which is a positive actually).
2. The looming threat of a love triangle. Like Kiss of Deception, I feel weary about how the sequel plays out the romance. Meira has always had a crush on her best friend Mather. But then this new guy shows up and throws a wrench in everything, but always stirs something up in Mather. Typical. But a love triangle doesn't actually come to life. It's implied. It's definitely hinted at for the next book. I wouldn't be surprised if it does, but oh, I'll be disappointed. So it hasn't crossed that line yet, but I hate that I felt that way throughout.
3. I was so dang confused. World building in a fantasy book is tricky. It's especially difficult when debut authors try to make complex worlds. Props to them, but I could've used more clarifications. I didn't really understand how the Seasons worked. At about halfway, I felt that I had a little grasp on what I was reading (eerily similar to how I feel about geometry concepts), but not enough that I could explain to others...or anywhere close.
It wasn't the best fantasy I read, but it definitely wasn't horrible. It came close to which outweighed more: positives or negatives. But in the end, the positives won. Because of the political aspects, the few surprises (albeit some were predictable), and THINGS, I'd
Verdict: Not a fantasy that I LOVE, but I'm hoping for the best (and no love triangle) for the sequel.