Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1) by Sara Raasch
Published by Balzer + Bray on October 14th 2014
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.
My go-to genre is typically paranormal/supernatural contemporaries, but once in a while it’s great to escape to a completely new and mysterious world. With Snow Like Ashes, I never knew what to expect, which made learning about new lands and customs so exciting!
Snow Like Ashes takes place in the land of Primoria. Primoria is split into eight kingdoms, but this book mostly focuses on just three kingdoms: Spring, Winter, and Cordell. Snow Like Ashes reminded me of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Like the fire nation, the Spring Kingdom desired more control and power, so they un-provokingly attacked the Winter Court (about 16 years before this book begins). A lot of Winterians lost their lives, while a few hundred remaining became slaves in the Spring Court. About a dozen Winterians were able to escape slavery, including the heir to the Winter throne and Meira, our heroine.
I liked Meira because she kicked ass in a realistic way. She’s fearless and clever but not in an indestructible or infallible way. Like her fellow refugees, Meira is dedicated to the cause of freeing the Winterian slaves, along with placing their rightful ruler back on the throne. She’s willing to risk her life if it means her people will move a step closer to freedom.
What would a fantasy novel be without a dash of magic? The magic in Snow Like Ashes is unique. Ordinary people can’t just create or use magic. There are certain locations where magic resides, as well as certain people who can utilize it. There are also limitations. For instance, even though the Winter Court defended themselves with magic, the Spring Court still conquered them with a combination of magic and other means.
If you like high fantasy novels that dabble in politics, feature a strong female lead, and of course, are full of magic, you’ll enjoy Snow Like Ashes.