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Snow Like Ashes #1

Snow Like Ashes

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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, 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.

422 pages, Hardcover

First published October 14, 2014

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About the author

Sara Raasch

16 books5,737 followers
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, the first in a trilogy, came out October 14, 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,339 reviews
October 9, 2014
I wanted to be a soldier. Someone who would earn standing in Winter. Someone Sir would look at with pride. Someone Mather would look at and—

No.
This is one of the best high fantasy I've read this year, which might not mean much, considering the crap I've read, but I can only attest to my enjoyment of it. This book is good.

But...but there's the love triangle.
I’m at the center of this, a weird possessive feud between the Winter king and the Cordellan prince.
Why there gotta be a love triangle, man?! For all that's holy...

But onto the good. This book has:

1. A well-developed setting and an engrossing story, those of you who've read Game of Thrones will find the season-based setting in this book very, very familiar

2. A strong female main character who will not make your head hurt, and complex relationships between side characters

3. A believable romance. Fine, there is a fucking love triangle that is truly, truly stretched out. The good thing is that both love interests are deeply likeable

...which just ends up making it more painful WHEN YOU LIKE BOTH GUYS. ARG!

By the way, this is a fucking long book. Seriously fucking long. It could stand to be cut 50 pages.

The Summary:
I’m running. Running through gray streets choked with smoke as hordes of people run too, more explosions corralling us into Angra’s grasp. That’s what they’re doing—corralling the Winterians like sheep so they can lead them to a life of slavery and pain.

Except for us. The seven who still live with Winter’s future king. Originally twenty-five refugees who kept Angra up at night, reduced to eight.
Young Meira's life is dire. She is an orphan, but she's not the only one. She's lucky to be an orphan, because that means at least she, out of her family, has survived.

The kingdom of Winter lies in ruins. Destroyed by an evil magician, a psychopath. Hundreds of thousands of Winterians are dead. God knows how many are left...but for Meira, her world consists of her little army of 8. The rest are dead, disappeared, gone. Within the eight survivors are "Sir", the hardened soldier who rescued young Meira when she was but a child, and Mather...Winter's future king.

King in name only, that is, because there is no Winter to return to.

Mather and Meira are friends, fellow fighters. She is a soldier, and so is he. They have been trained to fight and survive. Sparks fly between them, but there can never be a future for the two of them, during peace or war.
No matter our dire circumstances, no matter our shared upbringing, no matter the chill his smile sends over my body, he’s still him, and I’m still me, and yes, he needs to have a female heir someday, but with a proper lady, a duchess or a princess—not the girl who spars with him.
The problem lies beyond Winter's destruction. It lies in the fact that Mather, the heir to Winter, is a male. The kingdom of Winter is a matriarchy, where magic is passed on through a female-blooded conduit. As a male, Mather is nigh useless. Except as a breeding stud for a future queen.

(That's quite a nice change!)

There's also the fact that the magical Conduit is missing. Stolen. Hidden. In two pieces, and useless until they can be reunited.

There's also the fact that The Decay rips across the land, destroying it. Sneaking into people's hearts. Making them do horrible things.

There's also the fact that the evil tyrant still remains, his goal to destroy the kingdoms. To wipe Winter---and its heir, out of existence.

From all this mess, what can one girl do? Meira has no magic. She is not the strongest fighter. All she has is strength, determination, willpower, and an immense sense of loyalty to her kingdom.

Is that enough? Will Meira be content to be a pawn?
You don’t know anything, Meira, and I’m sorry if this...is hard for you to accept, but it will happen. You wanted to matter to Winter? This is how Winter needs you.”
Or will Meira become the person she knew she could be all along?
“Don’t you want more than this?” I breathe.

“Every day of my life.”
The Setting:
It’s so cold that foreigners have to wrap in layers of fur to walk from building to building, while our natural Winterian blood keeps us warm even in the worst conditions. And snow is everywhere, always, so much that the grass beneath it is white from lack of sun. An entire kingdom wrapped in an orb of eternal winter.
Call it a GoT clone if you want, but I quite loved the setting in this book. There are the Rhythm kingdoms...countries with seasons, and the Season kingdoms...countries with just one season each. Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each with their own characteristics. Each with their own eternal seasons. Each with their distinguishing features within their people.

The Winter kingdom, for instance...obviously remain in perpetual winter. And the strength of their people reflect their harsh conditions. They cannot imagine a life without endless cold, they think the people of the warmer climes are weaklings. Their coloring reflect their country. Winterians, for example, all have snow-white skin and hair.

The different kingdoms have their different customs---and curses. They think the others are barbaric and savages. I enjoyed everything about the world-building, the magic, and the setting within this book. It was intricately built.

Meira:
But no matter how dire our situation, how desperate Sir gets, he will never see me as an asset. Just the overexcited child he had the misfortune of raising.
Meira is one of the strongest characters I've read in high fantasy this year. Again, given the absolute crap I've read this year, that might not say much, but allow me to say that there is nothing about her that I hated.

She is a soldier, above all else. She can fight, and she fights---repeatedly, for her life.
I cannot die like Crystalla...I still have my knife. I still have a chance.
Yes, Meira has feeeeeeeeeelings, but they feel normal, unobtrusive. A momentary spike of teenaged hormones instead of overwhelming insta-love or lust, or anything heaviliy romantic that persists throughout the book. Her feelings and her emotions are normal, and utterly relatable.

Meira is strong, and stubborn, but never, ever TSTL (too-stupid-to-live). She is never cut your nose to spite your face kind of dumb. She doesn't like dresses. She likes being a tomboy, but when she has to wear one. Hey, why not. Enjoy the frill while it lasts. Don't fight it. It's for a good cause.
My hair, a giant array of pinned-back curls, hangs messy yet soft with a few white strands dangling free around my face.

I click my mouth shut. Maybe being a little fancier isn’t a horrible thing.
One of the things I loved most about Meira is her relationship with her guardian, Sir.
Occasionally I could catch a flicker—a twinge around his eyes when Mather faltered in sparring, a twitch of his lips when I begged to learn how to fight. But that was all I ever saw of the general who once carried a baby for days to safety. Like all of his actual tenderness was gone, but every so often his muscles convulsed from the memory of it.
I loved their complex relationship. I loved his harshness, and his unwincing criticism of her. I loved the way she constantly strives for, never quite reaching his approval. I loved his love for her, so obvious that anyone can see it but her. I love the way she constantly doubts herself, the way she constantly tries and tries and tries to just be good enough in his eyes. I love their love-hate relationship. It is one of the best relationships I've ever read in a high fantasy.

The Romance: Really. Why there gotta be a love triangle, man? Especially when one of the love interest is...this.
“Thank you.” I nod to his ankle. “For everything. You didn’t—”
He shakes his head. “Yes, I did. You deserve to fight for your home as much as the rest of us do.”
And this.
Mather never got mad at me for pulling him into mischief or for breaking during Sir’s interrogations. He’d just smile, throw his arm around me, and say something encouraging.
Mather has always been a king, every moment of his life.
Really, I hated it. I loved Mather, despite his name, which always brings to mind Eminem (AKA Marshall Mathers of the I'm slim shady fame). Mather is such a good love interest, which made me root for him.

WHICH MADE IT EVEN SUCKIER WHEN I COULDN'T EVEN HATE THE OTHER LOVE INTEREST. Who is not a king, but a prince. And man, is he a princely prince. He's not even a douchebag! He is a king, playful, gentlemanly prince who...CARES ABOUT HIS PEOPLE. How the fuck does a girl choose?!
He knows all of them. Every single one. And not only that, but he seems genuinely interested in them, remembering not only dozens of faces but also the smallest details about how that back acre of farmland is doing, did the trade with Yakim go well last week, is your daughter settled with her new husband yet?
Why there gotta be a love triangle, man?

The only reservations I have about this book is that I couldn't connect to the main character...she was fine. There was nothing wrong with her. I thoroughly liked her, but she was missing a spark that makes me truly love a character. Furthermore, it was extremely predictable. Seriously. I guessed the twist within 15% of the book.

Overall, solid, solid buy. Read it.

All quotes were taken from an advanced copy subject to change in the final edition.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
July 23, 2015
No matter what happens, no matter who turns on me, no matter what pompous swine thinks he has power over me, I am still me. I will always be me.

3 1/2 stars. Okay, let's get some things straight first.

Q: Will this book offer a never before seen plot with mind-blowing originality and absolutely definitely no love triangle?
A: Nuh-uh.

Q: But did I get completely sucked into this world and ended up wildly entertained for the last few hours in which I read the book in a single sitting?
A: Hell yes!

Anyone who's a fan of YA fantasy will recognise familiar elements of the genre in Snow Like Ashes. A strong heroine, royal politics, reclaiming a stolen kingdom, a touch of magic and, yes, even a love triangle. But it is in the details of this story where the book finds its strength and still manages, in my opinion, to stand out from many of a similar ilk.

For one thing, I absolutely loved Meira. She's as badass as Katsa from Graceling but without the troubling pseudo-feminist propaganda. From the very beginning, she wants to fight for the Winterians, she refuses to be beaten down by the expectations of others, but she is also a flawed, complex and sympathetic character.

However, she doesn't hold up this novel alone. ALL the characters are well-developed and the character dynamics are superb. Raasch has built up an interesting and complicated web of relationships between them, their situation putting further strain on their ties to one another:
That’s how we all are, too hard for what we should be. We should be a family, not soldiers. But all that really connects us is stories, and memories, of what should be.

A love triangle typically has me rolling my eyes and yet here I liked both Mather and Theron. I can see how their differences could make it a genuinely difficult choice - should Meira be with the soldier she has loved all her life, or the poet willing to start a war for her? For once I find myself excited to see what will happen between them next.

The book does get a touch info-dumpy in parts, but I was honestly thankful for the world-building. The author has crafted a fascinating setting of eight kingdoms, each with their own customs, ideals and magic. The history is woven in seamlessly, bringing this exciting and horrifying place to life in my mind.

And parts of this book are indeed horrifying. Meira and her seven Winterian companions have had a hard life, running from those who want to destroy any chance of Winter's throne being reclaimed. I just couldn't put it down. Bloody action scenes give way to shocking betrayals give way to not-so-shocking twists (seriously, I guessed it way in advance, but whatever, it was still fun!).

I feel like I shouldn't like this. Like I should be pointing out that stupid love triangle and the same old tropes, instead of wondering who Meira will end up with and whether to drop my other books and read the sequel... but damn - what can I say? - it was just crazy entertaining.

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Profile Image for Sasha Alsberg.
Author 8 books66.8k followers
October 23, 2015
The ending of Snow Like Ashes was just WOW! So many twists and turns I didn't see coming, loved it!
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
February 22, 2015
I tried really hard to like Snow Like Ashes. Really hard. There are a lot of things a person might try to do. You can try to ride a bike. Try to draw. Try to, I don't know, jump off a cliff. And that's when I realized I was being completely ridiculous. You can't force yourself to like something no matter how hard you try. So I stopped trying and just continued reading, mostly because I really hate DNFing books, and took the pressure off of myself. Needless to day, Snow Like Ashes never improved for me.

Be warned that this review will be full of spoilers, but not really since you can figure everything out by the second chapter. But I thought I'd at least throw it out there.

The basic premise around Snow Like Ashes is one you've read before. There's a kingdom that has been ruined by an evil king of another kingdom, imprisoning its subjects and killing the queen. However, a few survive, including a knight, an heir to the throne, an orphaned girl and a bunch of other people who serve absolutely no other purpose other than existing. For 16 years, this group seeks a magic locket that will somehow help free their people and restore the magic of the Winter kingdom.

The story is told from Meira's point of view, a girl who was orphaned during collapse of Winter. She's just a normal girl trying to fit in and belong to the cause. A girl who prefers combat over dresses. Meira is not a terrible heroine, but one I had zero emotional connection with. If you are like me, you'll probably start wondering from chapter one why the author decided to tell this story from Meira's point of view. And by chapter two you'll notice a few things:

- Mather, the heir to the Winter throne, flinches when he is referred to as the king
- Sir told Meira from a young age not to call him "father"
- The magic of Winter is always passed down to a female
- Sir never lets Meira go on the dangerous missions, but somehow it's a great idea to send their heir, Mather...
- Mather feels bad that he won't be able to use Winter's magic even after they get the locket back

And if that's not enough to persuade you that something fishy is going on there are these clues by 40%:

- Of course Meira would be betrothed to a Prince and promised a title after Winter was restored
- The Cordellan king calls Mather king in italics
- Hannah, the dead Queen of Winter, appears in Meira's dreams all the time

Am I being subtle enough for you?



Unfortunately for me, that killed most of the enjoyment I might have received from Snow Like Ashes. Knowing the big plot twist from the very beginning diminished my anticipation of getting to the end and having that "AH HA!" moment that I love so much in stories.

The world in Snow Like Ashes is a basic one. There are 8 kingdoms: 4 Seasons and 4 Rhythms, each with their own conduit filled with magic. Spring is ruled by Angra, a dominating and oppressive leader hell bent on destroying Winter. The reason why he's so focused isn't very clear and I'm thinking that might be part of the deeper plot of the trilogy. The issue I had is how the world is described to the reader. Info dumps plague Snow Like Ashes in the worst possible way. But then it's taken a step further with Meira giving explanations of the info dumps.
Just as Winter focused its magic on mining, Coredell focuses its conduit on opportunity--on helping its citizenswork a situation in their favor so they get the most out of it. Opportunistic, resourceful, swindlers: whatever they're called, they can make "leaves turn to gold"--a Cordellan phrase Sir explained in our many lessons, referring to the fact that they're so good at turning a profit it's as if they make leaves on a tree turn into gold coins. That explains Captain Dominick's curse earlier--golden leaves.

Maybe it's just me, but I didn't need this explanation and many times it felt like Meira over-monologued her monologues and talked her way into complete circles. This coupled with a plot that felt very contrived, especially in the beginning, didn't always make for an enjoyable reading experience for me.

- Meira is allowed to go on a really dangerous mission to collect half of the locket because Mather lies to Sir about her besting him in close range combat. A lie that was not at all convincible.
- This is Meira first dangerous mission and she just happens to overhear where the locket is located by people who were warned not to speak the location out loud.
- After 16 years of trying to get this half of the locket, Meira succeeds because this really dangerous villain put her on a horse, conveniently, without checking her first for weapons, and she gallops away.
- Shockingly, no one pursues her.

I just don't buy that. Just like I don't buy the names of the Seasons' capitols: Juli, Ocktuber, Jannuari and Abril. Sure these may seem like great obvious choices to play off months in which these seasons flourish if you live in the Northern Hemisphere of the world. But if you perhaps live in Australia or Asia, January is the exact opposite of winter... it's summer. It was little things like this that left Snow Like Ashes feeling very unpolished.

And now I feel bad because I haven't exactly said anything good about this book. But the thing is, nothing really sticks out for me. Snow Like Ashes failed to completely capture my interest and, therefore, is more of a meh read. One that isn't terrible, but that I won't remember much about to actually recommend it to someone.

But there was one scene that stuck out: the dick fight. Prince Theron and Mather just had to flex their muscles at each other over Meira. I understood Mather's reaction because he's in love with Meira and doesn't like the idea of her marrying Theron. But what about Theron? Pride maybe? Is he territorial? All I know is that, Mather started beating on his chest and Theron thought that was a great time to start comparing dick sizes.
"No matter what I use, I always hit my mark."

Things just start getting more and more ridiculous from there with Meira's monologuing.
No man can refuse to answer that call.

 photo bear fight_zpswwzk85bl.jpg
It's the kind of sword fight Sir has told stories about...

Sir, has warned Meira of these Mythical Fights of the Dick.

Meanwhile, I was all...

https://twitter.com/sailor_stephie/st...

So yup, that was the best part of the book and then it got boring again. I find out the big plot twist and discovered... oh wait... I already knew the plot twist and that made that little scene really anticlimactic. At that point, I was just waiting for the book to end. I had gotten that far and refused to give up because I'm really stubborn and I enjoy torturing myself. Though, in hindsight, I probably should have stopped.

Basically, this book just wasn't for me. That doesn't mean you shouldn't check it out, but if you do decide to give it a go and you aren't impressed by chapter 5, chances are it isn't for you either.

ARC was acquired at Book Expo America 2014. I was not paid for this review.

More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery.
Profile Image for Sabrina.
135 reviews78 followers
November 5, 2014
Before Reading:
Woa babe.
The Title:
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The Synopsis:
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The Cover:
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This book better be flipping fantastic
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After Reading:
TO my last comment- it was, it truly was flipping fantastic! I loved every second of this book. It is so unique, and the characters were written flawlessly. It was pure brilliance! Marvelous job, Sara Raasch! You truly are brilliant! For this review I am going to try a different approach to my usual review.
The Plotline:
The Beginning:
From the view of Sir
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From the view of Mather
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From the View of Mierra
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The Middle:
Mather
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Mierra
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Theron
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Okay that last one wasn't so much based on how he felt or what the emotion of the text would be like if it it was written from his point of view, it was just because Theron is awesome. Nuff said
The Ending:
Mierra
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My Opinion
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So Basically
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Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.8k followers
January 23, 2018
Recycling My First Reviews: A Trip Down Memory Lane, Vol. 1

Then
.
.

Snow and ice and frost above, that was ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ!



I can't believe it took me so long to start reading it! Everything, everything that makes fantasy my favorire genre was dominant in Snow Like Ashes; the unique world Sara Raasch created, with the magic's source, the division of the nations based on the season/weather, the evil, cruel monarch who sought unlimited power without hesitating to meddle with dark forces, the insane plot twists, the battles and, above all, a heroine who desperately wanted to find her place in the world without realizing that the fate of her nation depended on her.
“Someday we will be more than words in the dark.”

Meira was hope, the only hope of a doomed people, born in a sacked city, her roots cut off, her destiny unsure. The only certainty was that she wanted to matter to Winter, and Sir and Mather and everyone who seemed to think of her as a silly girl. That need made her reckless but she was definitely made of the hero material, I came to like her a lot! And of course, I totally adored Theron! He understood her, he wanted to fit in a world that was designed for him by others without losing his identity, he sook what was right, he was so noble and fair! And to my astonishment, I didn't mind the love triangle, perhaps because it wasn't in the spotlight and it lacked drama (praise the snow above)! I can't wait for Ice Like Fire, next months will be insufferable! A wonderful read, one I am thankful it came into my life!
.
.

Now

I'm still in love with Theron (I guess some things never change).



I have to give you a fair WARNING , though: Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT read the second instalment, Ice Like Fire. It will ruin you, and not in a good way.
Profile Image for Naomi.
337 reviews
November 28, 2015
February 12, 2014:
Am I the only one that notices that's Xena Warrior Princess's second Chakram on the front cover? I'm not joking.

description

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Hmm, maybe I'll read this.

February 3, 2015:

Okay, so I've written and rewritten my review like a hundred times and I'm kind of sick and tired of writing it now. For now, this is how I feel about the book. This is edited out of 7 pages of half reviews, so don't expect it to be perfect by any means:

I finished Snow Like Ashes disappointed because I never felt that spark. The spark that tells you you want to read more, you want to know what happens to these characters, and you want to really be a part of their world. The book is from Meira’s point of view, so I feel like I’m mainly missing her spark, something to pull her out and say I’m not just an average heroine.

Meira has her temper tantrums and whiney moments like other YA novels, but that’s not all there is to her and they’re fewer than most female leads I’ve seen in a while. Meira makes up for it enough for me by wielding a Chakram, actually fighting, and her sense of humor. Meira isn’t Xena by a long shot, but she’s still very likeable. She’s just missing that little spark that makes her something more.

Theron is my favorite character of this book. He’s just so selfless. He knows all his servants by name and also asks about how they’re truly doing. He spars with his soldiers and even created a map on their wall to remind them of who they are. Not to mention Theron is just really wise with all of his knowledge.

Mather is the second part of this love triangle. (I know, I hate love triangles too.) Mather isn’t a bad choice either for Meira, but I felt like Theron was just more developed than Mather. Mather kind of had a few moments where he was all jealous and very annoying. What’s worse, he put himself in that situation. There are a few moments that I really did like Mather, he has these really sweet and cute moments with Meira. At the end of the day, he’s going to have to prove it to me in the next book.

Sir is kind of a jerk. I’m sorry, I’ll probably get spammed by fans but whatever. Sir gets mad at Meira for calling him father when she’s eight years old. I mean seriously, just explain it to her that you don’t want her to think of you like that, instead he gets all mad at her. Meira also says this which just really made me hurt for her in the matter of Sir: When Sir finally gives Meira some recognition, I feel it comes too late and it’s too small to really matter while Meira clings to compliment like it means everything. It actually made me sad for her.

Side characters: I’m sorry, but they kind of just drop off and are barely (if ever) heard from again. They never gain any real characterization. While I thought I’d get to know all the Winterian group Meira traveled with, I mean there’s less than ten of them, I’m left off with only really knowing three (one of them Meira). I felt like I knew more about Gregg and Crystalla who are only ever talked about in past tense.

Plot: Sadly, some parts of the book were just really predictable. A great amount of the plot is slowed by info dumps that occur nearly every chapter. Whether it be about the history, magic, and customs of the countries, there’s a lot of info dumps. Not all of them are bad, but I felt like some could have been shortened greatly. If it’s important for future novels, go further into it in the next novel because by the time I get through all these info dumps, I won’t remember it unless it mattered to this book’s plot. The overall plot appears to be pretty well thought out though, and for that I’m glad that it’s not forced. Though the scenery was pretty well described throughout the novel giving you a clear picture of the world (though I was also quite thankful to get the map at the beginning of the book to give me an idea of the land layout).

Expectations: I tried to keep my expectations really low for this book. I knew that just because Xena’s Chakram was on the front cover, it didn’t mean I would like the book. When I first read the synopsis, I didn’t even really want to read it, it didn’t sound like my cup of tea. Was I influenced by the Chakram on the front to buy this book? Um yeah! At the end of the day, do I feel like my expectations were met? Somewhat, but I’m still disappointed this didn’t ‘wow’ me.

This isn’t Xena Warrior Princess, I’ll give you all that much right now. If you’re looking for her, you’re better off marathoning episodes. At the end of the day though, Meira isn’t a bad character, she’s just missing that spark I need. Will I be reading the next one? (Honestly it depends on the cover. I’m kidding of course.) Since it took me this long to actually buy this one though, it may be a while before I decide to go out and buy the next one.

Overall, this isn't the greatest book out there, but it's also not the worst. To me, it's just okay. And I guess that is that:

description
757 reviews2,345 followers
February 23, 2017
Warning: This review is a crazy ass mess, like seriously. Is this even a review???

4.5 I FUCKING LOVE MATHER STARS. THERON IS GREAT, BUT LIKE,, MATHER ALL THE WAY.

*screams for a year or so*

I didn't expect this to so so so good. Honestly I'm mind blown and so amazed! This book was fucking captivating from the start and had me hooked the entire time. Whoever said the world building was 10/10 was right. I HATE love triangles with a passion, but this book did it so fucking well. Even though I was annoyed AF at times I loved it. This book is fucking awesome and I cannot even function right now.

"Even the strongest blizzard starts with a single snowflake."

LISTEN TO ME. *points at you* GET YOUR ASS TO READ THIS MASTERPIECE. I'M TELLING YOU, YOU'RE MISSING OUT ON LIFE.

This book has me shook, you guys I can't even explain how badly I fucking loved this. I was super excited for this one and I'm so so fucking happy this turned out super awesome. Like, I'm exploding with all these feels man.

Everything about this book is perfection. The world building is freaking amazing. I LOVE THE FUCKING CHARACTERS. #MATHERALLTHEWAYFUCKERS. I know some people had problems with Meira because she was a "special snow flake" but I, honestly loved her character. She was strong and kickass and ASJKBHSAHKJFBGSDI I liked her.

One small problem I had with this book was THE FUCKING LOVE TRIANGLE, which was extremely well done, BUT ANNOYING AS FUCK WHEN YOU REALLY LIKE BOTH GUYS, BUT FUCKING MATHER ALL THE WAY BECAUSE. Listen Sara Raasch knows how to write a fucking love triangle and she write it fucking good. I LIKED BOTH OF THE GUYS WHICH MADE ME REALLY SAD BECAUSE THEN SHE'S GOING TO HAVE TO CHOOSE ONE AND IF SHE CHOOSES ONE IT BETTER BE MATHER BECAUSE I'M GOING TO FLIP A TABLE. I CRI. GOODBYE GOODBYE.

SO OVERALL YOU SHOULD PICK THIS BOOK UP. I DON'T CARE WHAT OTHERS SAY, IT'S GREAT. GO READ IT.

I NEED THE NEXT BOOK BC THAT FUCKING LOVE TRIANGLE IS SLOWLY KILLING ME. I. NEED. TO. KNOW. WHO. SHE. ENDS. UP. WITH. FUCK.

The words in capslock are obviously me screaming bc I have issues.

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The blurb sounds so good and the cover is so pretty and I swear to God, if this turns out to be a disappointment I'm going to cry in a corner and eat my doorknob while ripping the pages out of this book bc I'm SUPER pumped and excited for this.
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,092 reviews6,579 followers
February 13, 2017
I did predict something that happens REALLY early on in the book though which sucked, but I absolutely fell in love with Prince Theron!
Profile Image for Anne.
3,917 reviews69.3k followers
October 19, 2015
I probably would have rated this a tad lower, but ( and I can't BELIEVE I'm saying this ) I adored the love triangle.
I KNOW, RIGHT?!
No one is as surprised by that statement as I am.
And it is a love triangle. There's the boy she's loved all of her life, and then there's the boy she's forcibly engaged to.
Guess which one I picked?
The new guy!
Again, no one is as surprised as I am. I'm a HUGE sucker for the We've-Been-Friends-Forever sort of love. Plus, there's no easy winner in this triangle. Like, it doesn't turn out that Mr. Boy Next Door is hiding nefarious plans for world domination or anything. He's awesome, and he really loves her.
However, in the immortal words of the philosopher Beyonce...
If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it.

description

Nice world building in this one, as well. The concept of the world and it's brand of magic, while not new-new, had a nice flavor to it.
Ok. I'm going to be honest. I can't for the life of me figure out a way to describe the plot that sounds even remotely interesting. I've been staring at this page for several hours (read: minutes), and I'm coning up with a blank. Sorry.
There's magical relics, quests, a tough heroine, honorable princes, an evil villain, secrets, and dreams from a dead queen.
Read it for yourself if you want to know more.

I will say that at times my mind did wander a bit between action scenes, but that's typical for me because I have the attention span of a squirrel, and doesn't necessarily reflect poorly on the book.
My only quasi-complaint?
The Big Twist was something I guessed fairly early on, but that didn't really lessen my enjoyment of the story all that much. So, yeah...tiny annoyance.
This was (on the whole) an interesting book, and I had very few issues with it. If you've been sitting on the fence, go ahead and give it a shot.

Also reviewed for:
Profile Image for Ben Alderson.
Author 18 books13.3k followers
January 2, 2015
Well this book was an amazing novel which I will not be forgetting for a long time.

I have always struggled with getting into the fantasy genre so at the end of 2014 I said to myself that I need to try the genre bit more!
Being the second fantasy novel of the year 2015 that I have read It has not disappointed!

Bear with me, I do not normally type reviews but I will give this a go!
If you want to buy the book with free shipping here is a link.. http://www.bookdepository.com/Snow-Li...

Right, I feel in love with the whole setting and world of this novel. The fact that it was split into eight different kingdoms, four seasons and four rhythms.
Meira was a wonderful character who even on the first page showed determination! Meira as a character is definitely a brilliant role model as she proves that not giving up and staying strong really pays off!

The element of magic in this book was fantastic, I really an jealous that I don't have a cool conduit of magic like a ring or staff!
This book is filled with twists and turns that you would ALL love!

Sorry for this rushed review, I much prefer talking to my camera....
LOVE
Ben ox
Profile Image for Simona B.
892 reviews2,985 followers
May 26, 2017
2.5

“I don’t need made-up strength. I’m strong enough on my own—me, Meira, no magic or conduit or anything.”


How is it then that you don't feel truly fulfilled until you find out that you after all ARE the special snowflake we all knew since page one you'd end up being?

description

I hate this kind of plot development. The main character spends the entire story trying to find in him/herself a reason to feel important on his own, by virtue only of his spiritual or whatever strength, and then it turns out that all this internal struggle was totally unnecessary because -oh, I'm a friggin' . Yay.

It makes no sense, why do authors not get it? It wouldn't seem so ridiculous if the story wheeled on the 'peculiarity' of the protagonist since the beginning. At least be honest about what you want your story to be about. I in the first place love fantasy stories featuring a protagonist with astonishing abilities, but I can't help feeling pissed off when all his/her attempts to be strong and meaningful just for who (s)he is are frustrated by the special snowflake syndrome.

Of course there are some cases in which this situation is well-handled. This is not one of those cases. I hated how Meira (the MC) remarks that she feel like she managed to get Sir's (the man who raised her) attention only when she finds out what she finds out. Sir knew who she was since before, so he's always held her dear, of course, but the impression we get is that this poor girl was treated like a dirty rug for her whole life until she couldn't be treated like in broad daylight. I find this offensive and disrespectful and I don't even want to think about what kind of moral it, purposefully or not, conveys.

The only good thing I can say about the plot is that it's really fast-paced and so, if nothing, you don't have to add boredom to the idiocy and the banalities you already have to stand.

For one thing, I don't get why Mather and Meira had to be kept in the dark about their own identities.

description

It's just me or this thing is unbelievably cruel and tactless? I hope the next book will be about Mather's revenge. Despite how flat and flimsy his character is, he still deserves it.

But then again, the whole story if filled to the brim with nonsensical escamotages like this, and I don't really want to go on like forever. I'll mention just another one and then I'll stop, I swear: when Theron deliberately walks into Spring's hands in order to push his father to react. I didn't know whether to cry or laugh. You doomed yourself to death on the belief that your heartless, horrible excuse of a father will move his army, thing that he never agreed to do, to get you back? And I thought you were intelligent and hot.

The magic system is one of the reasons I decided to read the book, because I'd heard it was really good, but then it proved to be a big meh. Not original, not convincing, not compelling, even confusing for lack of explanations. It is repeated hundreds and hundreds of time that the Conduits work only when they are on the lands they are tied to, and that they are tied to a bloodline and a gender, and that their power extends only to the citizens of the country they belong to. Fine. How does it work, exactly? It suffices to be born within the borders of that country or the whole thing is blood-related? And if it is blood-related, does this mean that in thousands of years (not my conjecture, Meira's words) the various peoples that live in this world have never mingled? Sorry, but I can't believe that. Too, far too simplistic. Unless the book provides me with a rational explanation, which it didn't.

And at last (I know you were waiting for this) the love-triangle.
Know that I am sighing. Repeatedly. In discouragement.
The truly sad thing is that without that horrible, embarrassing, let's-see-who-can-pee-further fighting scene it could have been even enjoyable. It's not as if Mather and Theron are intolerable. Mather, as I said, is annoyingly flat, but he's kind of fine, and Theron is absolutely likeable, although I stay firm in my opinion that insta-love must be declared illegal, unless you are Marie Lu. If you are Marie Lu you can do whatever you want and still make it make sense (I don't even know if this sentence is grammatically correct).

Now, will I continue the series? Honestly, I don't know. I've heard Raasch made a mess with the second book and I don't know if it's worth the torture. I guess I'll see.
Profile Image for Rachel E. Carter.
Author 9 books3,494 followers
Read
January 27, 2023
Brilliant debut. Sarah Raasch gave fans of YA medieval fantasy exactly what they wanted. This book had a lot of action without being too bogged down in details and there was never a dull moment. I found the protagonist believable and I really enjoyed her love interest, Theron. He is exactly my kind of prince:) I am looking forward to the sequel -especially if it involves a lot of rivalry between Mather & Theron. Not huge on love triangles but love to see them acting jealous;P
Profile Image for Anniebananie.
535 reviews399 followers
April 13, 2020
Ich wurde positiv von dieser SuB-Leiche überrascht! :)
Gekauft habe ich das Buch damals vermutlich hauptsächlich wegen diesem bildhübschen Cover, aber dann hat mich der Klappentext irgendwie nicht mehr so recht angesprochen, da das doch alles recht 0815 klang.
Daher war ich dann auch echt überrascht vom Inhalt, da ich den viel besser und interessanter fand als der Klappentext vermuten lies. Auch unsere Protagonistin Meira fand ich überraschend sympathisch, obwohl sie mit ihren 16 Jahren noch recht jung ist und dementsprechend manchmal auch etwas impulsiv handelt, konnte ich sie trotzdem gut leiden. Sie war einfach authentisch. Mather hingegen fand ich etwas blass und langweilig... Die Nebencharaktere waren gut gewählt und hatten alle genügend Tiefe und auch den Antagonisten fand ich gut gewählt und dargestellt.
Das Worldbuilding hat mich von Anfang an in seinen Bann gezogen. Ich fand die Idee der 8 Königreiche toll, auch wenn ich die Sache mit den Rhythmus-Königreichen nur mäßig verstanden habe (Was bedeuten die Namen? :D). Ein weiterer Pluspunkt ist hier für mich, dass das Buch eine Karte bereit hält, das hilft mir immer enorm. Auch die Idee der Magie fand ich cool, auch wenn ich hierzu noch ein paar offene Fragen habe, die sich vielleicht ja in den Folgebänden noch klären werden.
Zu diesen kleinen Kritikpunkten kommt noch hinzu, dass ich den größten Plottwist der Geschichte bereits sehr früh erahnt habe...
Gesagt sei noch, dass ich den Schreibstil echt gut fand. Ich hatte stellenweise echt Gänsehaut!
Band 2 muss definitv bald bei mir einziehen! :)
Profile Image for Andreea Pop.
320 reviews2,133 followers
June 28, 2015
Did I ever mention how much I love YA high fantasy? Because I do. Love it, I mean. I REALLY LOVE IT. But you know what I love even more than the genre itself? Finding a YA high fantasy book that I also enjoy, because those are so rare and precious. Well, fellow bookish people, I am happy to announce that I found another bejeweled novel that fits the bill perfectly -- Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. Let the fangirling commence. *jumps up and down excitedly*

First of all, I gotta say Snow Like Ashes not only has a glorious title, but that its cover is real awesomeness. Just look at that pretty thing! Don't you wanna pet it?

Second of all, this book resembled on some level the Throne of Glass series and I got serious The Winner's Crime vibes. But besides those deja-vu sensations, I have to say Snow Like Ashes had a bit of everything from the tales we've come to love: the burden of a young monarch that has to rebuild a crushed kingdom, too many vile kings to keep count, a touch of magic and a gloriously fierce heroine you cannot help than cheer for.



The story centers on eight Winterians, the last people of the Winter kingdom, one of the eight kingdoms ruling the world of Primoria. Sixteen years ago, Winter was shattered by an attack made by Spring, one that left in its wake only ruins, slaves and the feeble hope that those survivors will somehow manage to get back the kingdom's conduit -- the land's source of magic -- and rebuilt their long lost home. Among these eight survivors are two fateful figures: Mather, the future king of Winter, and Meira, a warrior girl through and through that also happens to be our heroine.

“Someday we will be more than words in the dark.”

Of course, that was the plot summarized in a few words but there are bits and pieces that proved to be a tad more complicated and will surely become a delight once you read them. The journey was full of imaginative turns, although I have to admit I was able to predict some of the bigger surprises. Regardless, the plot itself had a lot of ramifications that readers couldn't anticipate because the world presented to us was still yet unknown, so that was a source of constant eagerness and thrilling fascination.



I loved Meira. I'd describe her as a mix of Celaena and Kestrel, but with a big dose of childishness in her. Not necessarily an immature teenager, but definitely quite independent (a trait that has a tendency to turn into infuriating stubbornness) and impulsive. Thank gods she's clever. Couple that with the fact that she's fierce and stubbornly witty and you got yourself a new Elsa with a vengeance streak and protective behavior. I reveled in her character-development, because by the end of the book she became an incredibly brave young woman that finally realized the important matters at hand. Plus, I love a girl who knows how to humor her way into conflicts and what-nots.

You know what's next, don't you? The juicy part, the sigh-inducing element, the key aspect of a great read for fangirls everywhere -- the romance. And I'm telling you, start hyperventilating ‘cause we have a serious case of drooling bound to begin upon reading Snow Like Ashes.



There's Mather, the one that Meira is basically smitten about since she knows herself. Then there's Theron, a new guy that had me at hello. Yeah, I wasn't really Mather's fan because I kept imagining Tommen from Game of Thrones as the incapable kings they both are, but I guess he does have some lovable qualities, such as having a gorgeous body and all. Plus, he's royalty -- that has to count up for something, doesn't it?



But it doesn't matter because Theron is crown prince, so potato potato. And this guy, lemme just tell you, practically waltzed straight into my heart and into Meira's with his bookish personality (Dorian alarm, srsly), warrior skills, snark-filled banter tendency and unconditional devotion. All that and a handsome face and an even more gorgeous body. IS HE FOR REAL? I LOVE HIM. *drools*

“I want to be someone worthy of my kingdom. I want to be someone worthy of you.”



No, Andreea, he actually isn't. <-- that was a sad afterthought.

Coming back to the romance aspect, I was afraid it would turn into an annoying and tiring love-triangle when obviously there was no need for it. BUT IT DIDN'T. *happy dance* I was so goddamn excited to see a mature choice unfolding for once (hear me, Leigh Bardugo?), to finally let the sappy, childhood romance dissolve so that the real love can take its course, even though it was unexpected. This created a sweet relationship between Theron and Meira that had me giggling and smiling with my whole face. The whole situation better stay like this (Team Theron all the way), because otherwise Sara Raasch will have a furious shipper here.

“He drops his grin into a pout, puckering his lips and pulling his eyebrows tight over his nose.
I glare.
He pouts harder.
“You’re impossible,” I growl, and rip open the book.
Theron laughs and scoots a little closer to me. “Impossible, endearing. Synonyms, really.”


Some secondary characters were more developed than others and, of course, I loved those more. Sir William Loren was hands-down the father-figure and everyone is sure to love his wise, brave and loyal self. There's even a chance to drop a few tears at some point, courtesy of Sir. I especially liked the relationship between him and Meira, the girl's unwavering respect for him. Then there's Hannah, which was honestly an equivalent for Elena from ToG, whom I tolerated even though she could've been more straight-forward for the sake of the rest of the characters. And I liked Nessa, Rose and Mona, so fingers crossed we'll be spending more time with them. Noam is an egoistical, vain douche-bag, Herod the sick monster (=Cain) and Angra the power-hungry lunatic. Ah, well, there should be some leeches, I guess.

The world-building was one of my favorite parts of the whole book. The idea of having four Rhythm kingdoms (ones that transcended the 4 seasons annually) and four Season kingdoms (ones that kept their defining season all year long) instantly grabbed my attention. I kept going back to the notion of Season Courts from Fae inspired books (ACoTaR reminiscence), but this time the concept was expanded on a bigger level. I loved the people, the traditions, the different ideologies and perhaps most of all the sense of patriotism that connected all characters. Hopefully, we'll get to see the rest of the kingdoms in the following installments, seeing that every one of them is equally entrancing and crazy in their own way. BRING ON THE AWESOMENESS (AND THE SHIRTLESS SOLDIERS) CAUSE I AM READY.



Snow Like Ashes ended on a cheerful and (temporarily) peaceful note. All is not right in the world, but it's getting there one step at a time. The last image caught on my retina is a gorgeously winter wonderland that brought out all the heartwarming feelings my brain could muster that ensured that I'll close the book with a big idiotic grin, satisfied (no cliffy yay), yet demanding for the sequel at the same time (a girl wants to know what happens next).

My only complaint would be the somewhat fast pace. I am a fan of action-packed stories, but I felt that, if given more pages and maybe even split into half afterwards, the story up until this point could've been given so much more substance. In one second this happened and then this happened and then that and now this -- these events honestly could've spanned the plot of more books without it feeling a bit rushed. Maybe I just needed the respiro times between the big deals to be more developed or perhaps more details on key-elements, such as the Cordell kingdom. But the thing is that I still needed something. The story was a golden mine of potential and Sara Raasch delivered a captivating tale, but there was room for complexity, for grandness, for more.



Sara Raasch -- I'm officially a fan of hers. I knew I would like her and this book from the dedication in the beginning of the novel, because if that's not an example of determination and ambition, I don't know what is. Her writing style was quite curious since it seemed to blend a high fantasy atmosphere with daily language -- surprisingly, the combo worked.

So, book lovers everywhere. I've seen lots of so-and-so reviews for this title, but I honestly say that I'm with the bunch that tremendously enjoyed Snow Like Ashes and I urge you to give it a try. I read it cover-to-cover and I was kept at the edge of my seat, my toes curling at the sweet romance and my heart going all battlecry mode while cheering for the spunky heroine and her lot of fearless Winterians.

“Even the strongest blizzard starts with a single snowflake.”

Now, October, please come quicker so I can have more Theron in my life. I won't mind if you kill the rest of the characters as long as you keep him safe, but I guess he'd be a bit upset so whatever. Gimme Ice Like Fire (I'm not below begging, Edelweiss)!

ENJOY! <3

P.S.:
I have a feeling that the title for the 3rd book will start with Frost, because Meira said once "Snow and ice and frost above" and I was like BINGO.
Profile Image for Mikee (ReadWithMikee).
203 reviews1,280 followers
February 8, 2017
******************** 4.5 STARS ********************

"Someday we will be more than words in the dark."

This book really surprised me! I didn't really think I'd enjoy Snow Like Ashes because all the reviews seemed to range from mixed to just plain average. I just ended up putting this series off until now because the premise honestly sounded so interesting and I figured I should just form my own opinion and see for myself how I'd like this book.

At first, I thought that the beginning was a little slow and info-dumpy. I was starting to get a little bored because nothing interesting was really happening. Although the story took awhile to progress, things turned around for me once we got to Cordell. And that ending though. HOLY CRAP. The last 50 pages was crazy! I was practically almost skimming because I was so eager to know what happened next lol.

I LOVED THE SEASONS/RHYTHM WORLD. The world building was definitely one of my favorite aspects of the book. I just loved how one half of Primoria is ruled by Seasons and the other by Rhythms. But I also loved how certain magical conduits can only be used by the proper gender to ensure a balance of power between men and women. And all the poor Winterians. Oh, my heart. My heart broke for them so many times. I just loved everything about them. Their bravery, their perseverance. I literally had goosebumps just reading everything that the Winterians had to go through and what they did to keep their kingdom alive through their memories. <3

I LOVED OUR MAIN CHARACTER MEIRA. I really enjoyed Meira's character. Not everybody was constantly praising her beauty. Not everyone was falling head over heels for her. And most importantly, not everyone was putting her on a pedestal and constantly kissing her ass. So in short, she's not like Celaena Sardothien lol. I felt like she was more real. More human. Less perfect. But it's those qualities that made Meira such a great character in the first place.

THERE'S A LOVE TRIANGLE. But I found myself not minding it as much as I thought I would. In fact, I was even sort of relieved. I never knew we'd have a love triangle in the story prior to reading the book because there wasn't too much buzz about it. I wasn't a big fan of Meira and Mather. Their relationship felt too ordinary to me. It's like I've heard this type of romance before in about a billion other books and movies. Contrary to numerous opinions, I love romance in books. I think it adds the cherry on top of a perfect book. So while people are complaining, "This better not have any romance in it", I'm just shouting, "YES YES YES." :D So I was actually glad that Theron, my baby, came into the picture. I'm 100% on TEAM THERON. Who doesn't want a badass prince who has a great body, great aim (with weapons guys xD), but who also has a softer artistic side to him? Not to mention, he has a personal relationship with his people. He knows them by name and what's going on in their lives. Mather doesn't count because he only had seven Winterians to worry about LOL. Theron is just perfect. So if Meira passes this opportunity up, I'll gladly marry Theron for her. ;)

Now that I finally finished Snow Like Ashes, I'm a little worried about Ice Like Fire. I've heard that it's definitely not as good as the first book and now I don't think I want to read the sequel. But I'm hoping Ice Like Fire just came down with second book syndrome, and the rest of the story will come together perfectly in the end.
Profile Image for ♥ℂĦℝΪՖƬΪℕÅ.
230 reviews3,933 followers
June 10, 2018
4 Snow Above! ★'s

“Even the strongest blizzards start with a single snowflake.”

“Holding on to some part of your past even if it means also holding on to the pain of never again having it. That pain is less horrible than the pain of forgetting.”

*Some minor spoilers may ensue*

Reread <3
This is my second time reading "Snow Like Ashes" and though it does starts out slow, once I get to a certain part, I'm hooked! I have a hard time putting this book down. It's a real page turner ;)!! I was very intrigued by this world Sara Raasch has created. I love magic... Magic is everything!! I really enjoy the story-line, the world-building, the writing style and of course the characters are amazing. They are easy to relate to and falling for them is effortless. Though the twists and turns throughout are pretty predictable, it is still so wonderfully addicting :D I like that the source of their magic comes from conduits. There are a total of eight. Witch include a- Locket, Staff, Cuff, Ring, Dagger, Ax(e), Crown and Shield. There are four Season Kingdoms and four Rhythm Kingdoms. All of which have long since been prejudiced towards one another. I also love that the people resemble the Season/Rhythm in-witch they come from. For example: Winterians have white hair, very pale skin, and bright blue eyes. Spring have blond hair, green eyes, and skin a little darker than Winterians. Summerians have hair red as fire, skin a creamy tan and eyes the color of liquid brown. Autumnians are copper-skinned, black hair and vibrant blue eyes. Cordellans usually have golden brown hair, brown eyes and light skin, though not as pale as Winterians, etc...

I love strong, fearless, bad-ass heroines and I got that with Meira. She's just so brave and very determined. And will do whats necessary to help free the Winterians form slavery, take back Winter and bring them home. She's gonna have a long road ahead of her. Good thing she has Mather the "future king" of Winter. Mather is confident, strong, great at combat, attractive and a really great guy. He's also Meira's best and closest friend. They grew up together, trained together, got into trouble together and both have feelings for one another ;) And then you have Theron the prince of Cordell. He's very sweet, attractive, always hits his mark, though, his people respect him and Theron and Meira are to be married. So if you despise love triangles this may not be for you! But for the record, I'm Team♥MATHER!!! Always & forever :D Honestly though, I really enjoyed all the characters- Sir, Alysson, Dendera, Finn, Greer, Nessa, Conall, Garrigan, they are all fantastic!

If you have not had the chance to read this, I recommend that you do A-SAP!

“Sometimes placing our belief in something bigger than ourselves helps us get to a point where we can be enough on our own, magic or no magic.”


“I’m Hannah’s daughter. I’m Winter’s conduit. I’m a warrior, a soldier, a lady, a queen, and most of all, as I plunge across the snowfield toward Jannuari’s silent ruin, I’m Meira.”
Profile Image for Kiki.
193 reviews8,456 followers
January 3, 2015
Shaky in places, but nonetheless awesome. Filled with hope and sincerity and the feel of a good old-fashioned fantasy adventure with a soft, poignant edge.

Full review to come.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,167 reviews98.2k followers
October 12, 2018
This world was a lot easier to understand once I was able to write this in my notes:

Four Seasons, four Rhythm Kingdoms, eight conduits:
1.) Winter - Locket - Female
2.) Spring - Staff - Male
3.) Autumn - Ring - Female
4.) Summer - Cuff- Male
5.) Yakim - Ax(e) - Female
6.) Ventralli - Crown - Male
7.) Paisly - Shield - Female
8.) Cordell - Dagger - Male

Because this book throws a lot of information at you very fast.
Profile Image for Giulia.
152 reviews238 followers
May 27, 2016
1.5 stars


Well, this was underwhelming as heck.

First things first: with this review, I don't mean to say that this is a bad book, because it's not. In fact, I can see why so many people loved it, but it definitely wasn't for me. It was just so generic and bland, and was completely identical to every other fantasy novel I've read before. Nothing about it was remarkable.
I found the whole seasons idea to be quite silly: what is it with authors these days, that they keep naming things after seasons, colors (yes, The Darkest Minds) or numbers (yes, The Selection)? How effin' CREATIVE of you.

description

This book's main problem was basically its utter lack of originality. There is a kingdom that has been destroyed by a generic villain, a magic system that makes very little sense (okay, I get it, it's magic. But still.) and really boring characters. Meira, the main character, was the most interesting one of the lot - but then of course she had to be a super special snowflake and everything that made her fascinating just disappeared. Awesome. As for the other characters... I really have no idea what to say, since I can barely remember their names. They did not have their own personality, but they existed only when they interacted with Meira, and I have very mixed feelings about the love interests (yes, plural). I couldn't stand Mather, the great warrior and soon-to-be-king who thought so damn highly of himself. Meira's fascination with him made no sense to me, and whenever his name popped out on the page I let out an exasperated sigh because NO MORE PLEASE. Theron, on the other hand, was quite likable. He was kind and smart, but again, really generic (you'll have to excuse my repetition of the word, but it's the only way I can describe this book). I liked him because there was nothing not to like about him, but he had no real depth as a character.
As for the plot, I feel like I just read 400 pages of nothing. It was quite hard for me not to DNF the book, because a) the characters just... They kept traveling from one place to another. They were constantly on the run, and it felt like a big series of different situations and a million of different subplots. Annoying., and b) the info-dumps. They were one of the main things that prevented me from enjoying the book. There were countless pages explaining how everything worked, and it was repetitive and boring. I found myself skipping entire paragraphs and even whole pages because I was too bored to keep reading.
The ending was predictable and as underwhelming as the rest of the book. I feel like Snow Like Ashes had great potential but was executed really poorly, with average writing, boring characters and a plot that was going nowhere. My favorite scenes were actually the (few) more light-hearted scenes at king Noam's palace, and I think Raasch does much better with friendly banter than she does when she attempts to write epic battles and meaningful conversations that end up bordering on overdramatic.

Then again, don't let my review discourage you. I still think a lot of people are going to enjoy this book, but if you've read a lot of YA fantasy and you're sick of seeing the same things happen all over again, Snow Like Ashes might not be the right book for you.
Profile Image for Nicole.
731 reviews1,829 followers
May 15, 2021
It was a fun book to read during finals. It was a quick read where you can easily stop (at least the first half) but also can continue if that’s what you want without getting bored.

This book was honestly better than I expected but still nothing special. Some twists were very predictable. Basically a typical YA fantasy. There was a love triangle but as someone who absolutely hates this trope, it didn’t annoy me much since the author didn’t focus on it. The romance took the backseat and was barely present.

As for the MC, like many others said, she’s badass and cool but I couldn’t connect to her. I liked some side characters, mostly Theron. Mather was also nice but his name is truly awful (how someone who speaks a terrible english would spell mother).

This book falls into the books I won’t remember by tomorrow kind of box sadly. It was fun while it lasted but nothing that stays with you. I don’t think I’ll continue with this series since the next 2 books aren’t as good. But I’m honestly relieved that I read Snow like Ashes since it’s the YA that has been on my tbr for the longest time!
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
592 reviews3,540 followers
August 8, 2015
"I can feel him eyeing Mather, both of them caught in an awkward web surrounding me. I'm at the center of a weird possessive feud between the Winter king and the Cordellan prince. How in the name of all that is cold did that happen?"




I have no idea. But of course, no love triangle is complete without manly preening!

"It whacks into the center of the target, the handle wobbling from force.

Theron turns to me, half his face slight with the beginnings of a smile. "My weapon of choice doesn't matter," he says, continuing our conversation like nothing happened. His eyes flash to Mather over my shoulder. "No matter what, I always hit my mark."




To be fair, Meira doesn't spent a lot of time mooning over Boy 1 and Boy 2.

Her country, Winter, was destroyed by Spring several years ago and the handful of them not in work camps live in constant fear, moving from one place to the next. Their only hope is that the boy king, Mathe, escaped with them and someday, they might find the magic conduit that Angra stole from them and they can rebuild their lives.

Sounds pretty awesome, right?



The premise reminds me of Avatar the Last Airbender. The Fire Nation wiped out the Air Nomads except for Aang and now, he has to defeat them. Also like Avatar, Snow Like Ashes' world is split into four countries: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.

Only female heirs can use magic, which is pretty awesome.



But the writing, guys. I've figured out why YA Fantasy and I don't gel. Most of it is written in smothering Laini Taylor prose and it makes me feel like I'm wading through a pool of syrup. I keep kicking out my arms and legs, looking for something substantial to hold onto, but it's gooey mush.



Not bad per se--it's actually quite good--but just not for me. The story isn't interesting enough to make up for the writing.

Info-dumps plague the narrative in the worst way. When Meira first arrives in Spring, she hears someone curse, "Golden leaves," then proceeds to spend a big, unnecessary paragraph explaining it.

"Just as Winter focused its magic on mining, Coredell focuses its conduit on opportunity--on helping its citizenswork a situation in their favor so they get the most out of it. Opportunistic, resourceful, swindlers: whatever they're called, they can make "leaves turn to gold"--a Cordellan phrase Sir explained in our many lessons, referring to the fact that they're so good at turning a profit it's as if they make leaves on a tree turn into gold coins. That explains Captain Dominick's curse earlier--golden leaves."




Plus, I saw the twist coming miles away.

Will others like Snow Like Ashes? Maybe. But it just didn't click with me.
500 reviews2,414 followers
October 26, 2014
 photo Banner_SnowLikeAshes_zps60f7fa03.png

Every time someone asks me about Throne of Glass, I want to chuck Snow Like Ashes at their faces and yell something along the lines of, "Read this thing instead!" Of course, people won't listen to me if I don't justify my suggestion. Here's why I recommend everyone should pick up Snow Like Ashes:

Meira knows how to kick ass.

“No matter what happens, no matter who turns on me, no matter what pompous swine thinks he has power over me, I am still me. I will always be me.”


All her life, all Meira wanted was to become a soldier. A fighter. Someone worthy enough to protect the kingdom she loves so much. She doesn't just want to be a pretty display--she wants to work, and she wants to be deserving of all the things she's been given credit for. Fierce, loyal and protective, Meira's your girl.

Snow Like Ashes is high fantasy at its best.

I have always been a fan of high fantasy novels. I just love being drawn into new worlds with all sorts of magic and sorcery around. Raasch definitely succeeded in creating a wondrous new world, yet making everything easy to remember and easy to understand. You might be scared to find out that there are eight different kingdoms, but worry not! The author puts everything down simply and sufficiently.

Be still, my poor little fangirl heart!

I would be crazy not to mention all the feels I got from reading this book, because HELLO MATHER. I was practically in love with this guy since chapter one. Personally, I thought he and Meira and some wonderful chemistry, and I squealed to my heart's delight each time they would have a scene together.

Yeah, there is this other guy...

Okay, so, there is a love triangle. The guy on the other side is Theron. He's definitely a nice, kind one, but for some reason I couldn't feel anything for him. I was pretty meh every time the guy showed up. I don't hate the guy or anything, I'm just saying that, if by any chance he would, say, get eaten by a bunch of wild piranhas, I wouldn't really care. And yes, I instantly root for the guy the heroine's known longer, and that's Mather in this case. It just seems more believable for me.

Raasch knows how to write.

“Someday we will be more than words in the dark.”


It was really easy for me to get into Raasch's writing. I flew through the pages almost giddily, really. I guess there were a few twists I discovered a bit early, but for the most part, I was on my toes, itching to find out what will happen to Meira, Mather and Sir and not Theron. I also loved that Raasch incorporated family into the story. Sir was like a father-figure to everyone, and I love how they all respected him, and how he gave them care and support in return.
Profile Image for Faye, la Patata.
492 reviews2,115 followers
January 22, 2015
Holy Jesus in a manger on the 25th of December... I think I just found a new fantasy series to love.

And here I thought the Young Adult demographic has forgotten to churn out awesome high fantasies. The last time I've ever loved a YA Fantasy with a female heroine this much was when I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson. Since then, the fantasies I've read didn't even ignite any wonder or awe in me, didn't make me feel as immersed, didn't make me feel as involved or as engrossed. They paled in comparison and I was left to looking at non-YA fantasy books to give me my fix (hi, Brandon Sanderson!).

And then I read this beautiful book. Snow Like Ashes reminded me of the beauty of a fantastical setting, of a heroine who struggles with herself while finding her place in a bleak and confusing world, of finding courage from the most unexpected of places. To say that I loved this is an understatement - I adored it! It perfected the formula that I mentally concocted to myself when it comes to evaluating the epicness of a fantasy book.

* Is this a book with good world-building? YES!
* Is this a book that doesn't have an overwhelming romance? YES!
* Is this a book that portray deep and complex relationships and conflicts? YES!
Is this a book with a strong heroine? YES!
* Is this a book with a strong and relatable heroine? YES!
* Is this a book with a strong and relatable heroine that also undergoes massive character development? YES!
* Is this a book with a strong and relatable -- FUCK IT ALREADY YES YES YES YES TO EVERYTHING!



Can you feel my enthusiasm? I truly do love this book, I do. If that's not enough to convince you, I don't know what will. But in case it doesn't (I am mentally shaking my head here!), I will list the reasons in extensive detail on WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK:

First of all, the world-building. I loved it so much. There are eight kingdoms, four that are Rhythm (in which they all experience all the seasons in a year) and four that are Seasons (in which each is eternally in one season for all year long - Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter). Usually, I see something like this, I somehow raise an eyebrow because there is a tendency for this to feel "cheesy". But Raasch was able to weave a setting in which every kingdom and every citizen from their respective kingdoms are different from each other and have characteristics of their own that they can truly call theirs. I loved how everything was so unique, having their own delicacies (frozen berries! YUM!) to having their own unique appearances (white hair and blue eyes...?! I need to draw this!). It definitely helped that Raasch is a terribly good writer. She can weave words and descriptions so intricately that I was able to imagine myself being surrounded by the world to the minute detail - I could somehow feel the cold of Winter, the happiness of the people in Bithai as they greeted their soldiers, the bleak atmosphere in Abril as slaves milled about defeatedly.

And the heroine! I absolutely loved Meira. I loved how she was such a complex character who had a lot of issues inside her that I could relate and emphathize with. She wasn't a doormat, and she knew what she wanted and she knew what needed to be done, and I loved how throughout the novel, we get to witness how she struggled to balance both of them, how to serve her country without losing an integral part of her, and how she realized later on the stakes and how to achieve the freedom they have sought for sixteen years.  She was incredibly layered, and even though she had moments of angst, they never felt overwhelming and over-the-top - she just really felt genuine and human. And did I mention how she's a strong, independent girl? I loved all sides of her, and she even has beaten Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass in the "Kick-Ass" category.

And her relationships with everyone were as complex as well, especially with Sir. Usually, the only complex relationships we get are between MCs and their love interests, so this one was such a nice change - a relationship between that of a "father" and a "daughter", of a "superior" and a "soldier", one who continuously tries to seek the other's approval. I may or may not have shed a tear during a scene with both of them while reading (hint: I actually cried).

And the romance? I loved how it didn't overtake the story. I loved how the story didn't revolve around it. I loved how it stayed in the background and strengthened the characters rather than took the controls of the plot. This is the kind of romance that I live for - one that isn't so "in-your-face" and relies on gestures and subtlety to tickle your heart. Even though it's a love triangle, I didn't mind, because it wasn't a romance that demands your full attention; it wasn't a romance in which we have to side with Guy A or Guy B - it was a romance in which we are simply TEAM MEIRA! 

(In any case, the book makes it hard for you to choose anyway, because both guys are awesome people with kind hearts and good intentions. And Meira isn't all over them like a lovestruck fool, making it a better experience. It truly reminds me of Rae Carson's series in this aspect, because in that one, we don't truly get to know who the main love interest is until the second book.)

So what did we learn here, ladies and gents? It's that Snow Like Ashes is a goddamn good book and you need to buy it and read it and treasure it forever and ever. 

Amen.
589 reviews1,031 followers
September 21, 2014
DNF at around 50%

I don't know what's wrong with me but I cannot deal with this book. I'm completely bored by the descriptions and info-dumps as well as convenient situations that the MC has gone through. Also, it's been a week since I've started this. I just don't think this book is for me.
Profile Image for Clumsy Storyteller .
350 reviews727 followers
July 1, 2017
“Fear is a seed that, once planted, never stops growing.”

EPIC.

Is the word that comes to mind to describe snow like ashes.

I was hesitant when I started reading it. I knew trouble were coming, 50 pages and they got the half locket? All they need to do is find the other half and get the magic back, easy task, right? I mean what could go wrong?

SPOILER: Everything went wrong.



The world building is phenomenal. We have 4 rhythms and 4 seasons. Ruled by 4 males and 4 females:

Seasons:

♥ Spring (Male): King Angra Manu who destroyed winter's kingdom sixteen years ago
♥ Winter (Female): Queen Hannah was killed by Angra. Her conduit was broken in half. and Magic disappeared.
♥ Autumn (Female)
♥ Summer (Male)

Rhythms:

♥ Yakim (Female)
♥ Ventralli (Male)
♥ Paisly (Female)
♥ Cordell (Male)

King Angra destryoed Winter and killed their queen and enslaved their people. Meira and 24 other winterians escaped, Only 10 of them remained alive. Meira's mission is to find Winter's conduit and restore magic to free her people. but there's one tiny, tiny problem...

“Even if we manage to get our female-blooded conduit put back together, how will we know if the magic works when our only heir is male?”



“No matter what I want to do, no matter how well I lead or how hard I train, I won’t be able to force life into frozen fields, or cure plagues, or feed strength into soldiers like I would if I could use the conduit. The Winterians would probably rather have a cruel queen than a king with good intentions, because with a queen they at least have a chance that the magic can be used for them. It doesn’t matter what I would do with magic, because leaders are valued for the wrong things.”

Mather's Character was great. i didn't like the romance thou. Please Let Meira chose to be with theron. he's a much better match to her.

“I don’t need made-up strength. I’m strong enough on my own—me, Meira, no magic or conduit or anything.”



I. LOVE. HER.

Finally. a heroine that can save herself.

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