Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 with 10 comments
Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes, book #1
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Source: ARC from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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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.

I am always, always on the lookout for a new fantasy series to flail over. So when early buzz started heating up over Snow Like Ashes, I told myself, "Jen...Jen...let's not get ourselves worked up over the book yet. Let's wait and see what some of our friends think before we go getting burned again." And I did. I waited. And I waited...not so patiently, I might add...until I could wait no longer and had to dive in. And I must say, those early reviews were spot-on. This book was fan-freaking-tastic. I couldn't put it down. I couldn't stop thinking about it when my family forced me to put it down in order to pay attention to them. Hell, I still can't stop thinking about it and it's been a couple of weeks since I finished reading it.

Just imagine Xena with white hair and you've got some idea of what Meira is like.
Meira is a character to root for. She's fierce and determined and skilled with a chakram. Meira is also loyal to a fault and wants nothing more than to be a functioning member of the ragtag group that managed to survive Winter's siege some sixteen years ago. She's plenty capable and more than a little strong-willed, and I really enjoyed seeing her come into her own as the story develops.

I did find her budding romance with the Crown Prince to be inexplicable, considering they each knew that it was impossible for them to become involved, what with Mather expected to rule the kingdom once they'd secured it for their people again and Meira only being an orphaned peasant girl, but that situation worked itself out, much to my delight. However, some readers -- particularly those not fond of triangles -- may find the way in which it does get resolved to be tiresome. I did not. It's one of those situations where the relationship never fully developed -- where the characters outgrew each other -- because of everything that stood in the way, and then a much more suitable candidate swooped in to steal our girl's heart. The circumstances in which Meira finds herself in this more suitable love interest's company weren't the best, but I found that even that was perfect, as if the whole scenario was fated to happen.

Sara did a great job of tying the magical elements into this story without ever giving too much away. I'd think I had a handle on everything, had the whole mystery of that fateful night sixteen years ago figured out, and then she'd throw me for a loop again. This happened several times until I just stopped trying to guess the outcome. Basically, the author surprised me at every turn, with her inclusion of magic in the story and how it was used, with her characters, and even with the romance. And I could not stop reading for fear of what the next surprise would bring.

Snow Like Ashes reads like a stand-alone, which I loved. There's the introduction to the world, which is a bit daunting at first but it becomes easier to understand the kingdoms and their monarchies as the story progresses. Plus, there's that awesome map to help things along. (I adore maps.) There are fight scenes and intense battles that solidly pit good against evil. And there's a firm resolution to this book, meaning no heartbreaking cliffhanger to wail over at the end. Though, if you're anything like me, you'll still wail over the fact that you don't already have the second book in your hands.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Sara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then -- her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, is coming out Fall 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures. She is represented by Charlotte Sheedy Literary.

Find Kat:

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  1. HORRRAAAY! I read Snow Like Ashes about a week ago and was just blown away. Raasch has immediately been added to my list of authors to follow! You're on point with this review. The magical elements were beautifully integrated!

    Jess @ MyReadingDress

  2. I'm so glad that you like the book, because I'm really looking forward to it! :D
    And, isn't the cover amazing?! ;)

    Maura (

  3. Though I'm not much of a fantasy reader, I am a fan of this romantic arch. It's what's going to get me flipping the pages like a demon possessed. Hehehe. I'm so glad this one is worth all the hype!

  4. I'm so happy you liked it. This is one of my most anticipated books of Fall and there are enough already that've gotten me worried.

  5. HAHA, I love the 'Seal' Of Approval. You are so clever :-) I enjoyed this one too. I wasn't blown away with Theron though. I wanted to love him but my heart was with Mather. Great review! Now we wait until book two.

  6. Ahhh you got me excited Jen! Like totes excited! This was my WoW and reading this review has solidified the fact that I need to set aside some money from my paycheck for this one!

    That Xena gif KILLED me dead! HAHA.
    Amber Elise @Du Livre

  7. The synopsis sounded a little boring to me, to be honest, but your review has made me really enthusiastic! You made it sound so good. It's definitely going on my to read list. Thanks for sharing this book, I can't wait to read it!

  8. WOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've been SO excited for Snow Like Ashes for some time now, and I FLAILED when I got approved on Edelweiss to review it! But like you, I waited to see what other people thought of it before reading it for myself. I needed to know if I had to lower my expectations before going in. Thankfully, I don't! Nope, I haven't read it yet, but I plan to get to it within the next week or so. You've made me even MORE excited for this, Jen! Meira sounds like my type of girl! :)

    Fantastic review, girl! I can't wait to discuss this one with ya!

    Marlene @ The Flyleaf Review

  9. Oh I am so excited about this one. Not sure if i want to read the arc or wait for the audio. I was waiting for the audio, then your review came out. First one I have read and now I want to go read it. Xena mentioned and I am all over it. great review.

  10. *sobs* I want this book right this very minute! Everyone is in LOVE with this one!


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