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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Snow Like Ashes By Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 423
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance

   buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
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.
*An advanced readers copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

What would you do if your home was gone?

   I was honestly dreading reading this book after the first chapter. In the beginning, Raasch uses a lot of explanation and does more telling than showing which is such an epidemic in fantasy literature. However, I am very pleased to announced that this book is an interesting, face-paced ride that literally will get your heart pumping with anticipation and action. I could not put this book down once I got into it.  There's a lot of mystery to this book and emotion plays a large factor in the way the narrator, Meira, tells the story; it's not just about getting back the source of Winter's magic, it about what makes a country a place a citizen calls a home.  It's book that's more than just about magic or battles, it's a story about the value giving people something to believe in.

   The main problems with this book are little things, but they are little things that matter, like the names of the countries.  I literally cringed when I realized that four of the eight lands in the book were named directly after seasons and the capitals were merely months (Spring's capitol was Abril, Winter's capitol was Jannuari, etc).  Raasch had the potential to really play around with the names and she picked some low hanging fruit. The romance was kind of weak too, so if you are really looking for romantic subplot I wouldn't suggest Snow Like Ashes because of lot of it is confusing and unsatisfying.  And my final nitpick: the final twist is alright, you can kind of feel it coming, but it adds a lot of the story and to almost all of the characters involved so it's better than most twists we've seen before.

   Here's the thing, that's all I can say that's bad about this book. The action and battle scenes are amazing, and when things get dark in this book, they get dark, and yet still the reader is supplied the same faint feeling of hope that the narrator, and the enslaved Winterians feel.

I'm excited to see what Raasch does with this world and it's characters in later books, and I highly recommend this book to people who love a good fight scene.

Four targets, and missed by an inch!