Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: 14th October 2014
Edition: Kindle e-book, purchased
Games of Thrones meets Graceling in this striking fantasy tale of dark magic, dangerous politics, and discovering our true self. Sara Raasch’s fantasy debut is a lightning-fast story of loyalty, love and controlling one’s destiny.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. The Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been searching for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild their kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior – and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king – she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of half of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself – only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics, and to realise her destiny is not, never has been, her own.
I’ve been craving a big, juicy fantasy novel for a while now and Snow Like Ashes hit the spot perfectly.
Raasch’s world is very complex. The eight kingdoms, the magic, their conduits for the magic and their relationships with each other are all so intricate and well thought out that you can tell that Meira’s story and the magic of Primoria was thought about for a very long before it was final. It took me a little while to get to grips with everything that was going on, and I honestly did still get a little lost, but I enjoyed learning about it. There’s a wealth of history and betrayal and sacrifice and with the turn of events at the ending of Snow Like Ashes I know there’ll be lots more to learn in the sequel.
Meira is a wonderful heroine, but mostly because she is stubborn and hot-headed and fiercely protective of Winter. I loved the battles she had with Sir about her need to fight for her kingdom, if only to make herself feel useful and a part of the home she doesn’t even remember, and his unwillingness to let her because that’s not where she should be. She should have been going to balls and taking etiquette classes and having suitors lining up for her. But all she wants is to help reclaim her kingdom and live happily ever after in a little snowy cottage with Mather.
The relationship between Meira and Mather wasn’t what I was expecting. For two people who had grown up together and spent all their lives together they were surprisingly closed off to each other. And yet the tension between them was unbearable at times. In the circumstances I wasn’t expecting a love triangle to come up and I was set on disliking Theron. But I couldn’t – he’s awesome. And now I can’t decide who I like better or who’s better for Meira because they-re just too different. I usually always have a clear favourite, but I just can’t.
I absolutely loved Snow Like Ashes. It’s has a wonderfully complex world, lovable characters and a real cause to get behind. Bring on book two.