Title: Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1)
Author: Sara Raasch
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: October 14, 2014
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 Winter rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she's scaling towers and 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 didn't pay too much attention to the synopsis of Sara Raasch's debut, Snow Like Ashes, when I was given the opportunity to review it. If you tell me something is epic fantasy, I'll pretty much take it sight-unseen. Lately, though, a lot of newly released epic fantasy novels are burdened with the promise of "blah blah...A Game of Thrones...blah blah", and this is one of them. For once, the villainous promisemakers got it right because it IS just like A Song of Ice and Fire... in that they're both epic fantasy with a land covered in snow. Congratulations.
All snark and sarcasm aside, I enjoyed Snow Like Ashes immensely. The main character, Meira, had one of the best personalities of any literary character that I've read - ever. I mean, at one point, she's in a really bad situation with a nasty, bad person (I'm trying to avoid spoilers), and she still pops off and tells über-villain that she's "moving up in the world". She's a smart ass, but she wasn't to the point that she came across like a bitch. Meira backs that shit talking up with her badassery because she can throw a chakram like nobody's business. There's also two guys that like her, but she doesn't participate in any love triangle. Meira doesn't really have time for yearning, angsting, or being troubled over who to choose - she has a kingdom to save.
I did have a little bit of a problem with Snow Like Ashes. I had some doubts if I could get on board for the kingdoms. I could suspend disbelief all day for the world's weather, but what the heck was up with the names of the kingdoms. The Rhythms I just shrugged off, but the Seasons and their capitol cities were a bit much. Yes, I overthought them. This is set in a supposedly whole different world (I don't recall it stating otherwise), but why were their names taken from our words? Abril was the capitol of Spring? Come on. However, the story was good enough that I finally overlooked this. Mostly.
You can see the basis of Snow Like Ashes with the summary. I just want to add, again, that Meira is a badass and makes the book.
If you like your fantasy epic and your heroines snarky, you should give Snow Like Ashes a try. You know, because it's just like A Game of Thrones, except that it isn't.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.