Book: Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1)
Author: Sara Raasch
I was nervous about reading this book because I had heard such opposing things about it, people either seemed to really love it or really hate it. Still I thought the concept sounded great, so I added it to my #RockMyTBR list, but it was the last book I read. I don’t know whether that’s just because I was nervous about reading it so I left it until last or because I wanted to save it for a colder time of year. I spent most of the book feeling kind of……for lack of a better word “meh” about it, because it was slow, the chapters were long and I couldn’t connect to the characters at all. It was only in the last 1/3 or so of the book that I actually got into it and found it engaging. In all honesty, the world saved this book, I only wanted to read on because I wanted to find out more about Primoria, and luckily the plot did get better towards the end, so I have bought the sequel, though I will probably be reading it with some trepidation. Here is a short synopsis of the book:
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, 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 had very mixed feelings about the characters. I liked Meira at first, but then she started to annoy me a lot during the middle portion of the book, where she seemed to spend most of her time drooling over either Mather or Theron or both. I understood why she felt lost and used and everything, but she was so damn indecisive and “woe is me” throughout much of the first half of the book, and I don’t know she just irritated me. She got much better when she was on her own towards the end of the book actually, more focused, less “woe is me” and just generally more active, she was actually doing stuff for herself rather than being manipulated, so I did end the book liking Meira, it just took me a while to get there. One of her love interests, the “childhood friend” (because there’s always a childhood friend) Mather, was just so bland. If he does have a personality, I don’t feel like we got much of a sense of it here and honestly, he seemed like kind of an ass for a lot of the book. I liked Theron a lot more, he was sweet, a writer, willing to drop everything and go to war with Meira, and he honestly just seemed to treat her a lot better and understand her more than Mather did. Aside from Theron, and Nessa (a Winterian girl who appears later in the book), who was absolutely adorable, I didn’t really like any of the characters all that much, either they were awful (Noam and Angra) or not developed enough for me to have real feelings one way or another towards them (most of the Winterian refugee group). ALSO WHY DOES THERE HAVE TO BE A LOVE TRIANGLE IN EVERY YA BOOK OF EVER IT SEEMS LIKE? (sorry rant over).
The pace was extremely slow and this combined with the length of the chapters made the book quite a slog to get through. I get that there needed to be set up, but it seemed to take far too long for the characters to get to where they needed to be, and honestly, I think the book could have used with trimming a bit. I get that there needed to be context and planning so that we could understand what was going on, but I think there was too much focus on this and not enough focus on saving the Winterians, that only really happened at the end.
There was some nice writing, I loved Raasch’s descriptions of the Kingdoms, they sounded really beautiful and I could really picture them in my head, but her incessant info-dumping in every chapter kind of irritated me and probably added to my dislike of Meira for much of the book because man that girl can monologue! I get that there was a lot of information that she needed to give us but I think there could have been a better way for her to deliver it. However, despite the info dumping, there were some beautiful moments that nearly made me cry and her action scenes were quite good, so it wasn’t all bad.
The world was incredible, I loved the whole history behind Primoria and it’s magic and the conduits and everything and honestly, I think I’d rather have read a prequel to Snow Like Ashes with the rulers of the Kingdoms and showing how the War between Spring and everyone else came to be, the history behind Primoria was just so interesting, and I hope that one day Raasch does this prequel because I think it could be fantastic.
I think a lot of my enjoyment was taken away from the book because I worked out the plot twist within like two chapters of the book and for the rest of the book I was just thinking “Okay, I don’t care about this, just tell me what I’ve known for the past thirty chapters already!”. I don’t know if I would have liked it more if I hadn’t worked out the plot twist, but I think probably not as there were lots of other problems with this book aside from the obviousness of the plot twist.
Overall, the end and my love of the world in this book saved it for me, I probably would have DNFed it in the middle if it wasn’t for me liking the world and luckily I enjoyed the end or I wouldn’t be reading the next book. It’s not the worst book I’ve ever read and the author and world definitely have potential, I’ll be interested to see if they live up to it in subsequent books. I’m not sure if I’d necessarily recommend this book, it’s not a terrible YA fantasy, but I’ve read better.
My Rating: 3/5
My next review will be of The Night Circus, my current read.