Snow Like Ashes

Snow Like Ashes

eBook - 2014
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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. 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 the ancient locket that can restore Winter's magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find 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.
Publisher: New York : Balzer + Bray, 2014
ISBN: 9780062286949
0062286943
Branch Call Number: EBOOK YA OVERDRIVE
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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RebelBelle13
Nov 09, 2018

I'm torn how to rate this book, honestly. On one hand, there are several ideas that Raasch introduced here that are refreshing to the fantasy genre and kept me interested. On the other hand, there's that handful of YA tropes and cliches that were added that bring the whole novel down several pegs. There's a big, scary bad guy that's in control of several kingdoms. There's a girl who'd rather fight and wear pants than be ladylike and wear a dress. There's magic that's been lost over time. And there's a protagonist who is an orphan and who is unsure of her lineage (I won't spoil it here, but if you've read at least one other YA fantasy, you know where this one is headed). I can understand why authors resort to these overused plot devices- it's the whole "if it's not broke, don't fix it" idiom. But for those of us who read a lot of fantasy (*raises hand*) it gets old and annoying really fast. Why can't an orphan just be an orphan? Why can't a king just be a king?
Now, the positives. Meira's world is divided into 8 kingdoms- 4 seasons and 4 rhythms. Each season kingdom only has that season in it- summer it's constantly summer, spring it's constantly spring, etc. Each kingdom's ruler has a conduit for magic, which only the blood heir can use, and can manifest in whatever way they choose, even to the point of manipulating their people. This may not be anything new (Maas' A Court of Thorns and Roses does something very similar) but the magic system made it new and interesting, and distinctly separated the kingdoms. The fact that Winter has been completely taken over by Spring, while ironic, gives the story a driving force. Meira is a strong character, albeit a little cliche. Theron was a breath of fresh air, which was nice to see. Also, Raasch's detail really helped in the immersion of the story. Her characters commenting things like "Sweet Snow" and "what in the cold is this", while cheesy, really drove home how important the connection to the seasons was for the people.
There were some slow parts- the section in Cordell and the Spring work camp- all in all, it was entertaining enough that I enjoyed myself. I will probably eventually read the next.

r
Rozywang
Jul 23, 2018

This book is very capturing and great for young teenagers. The story is nice and the writing is very descriptive. There is a lot of action and adventure. The characters have very diverse personalities as well. Not one of my favourite books but I would recommend to some younger teens.

daniellevk_0 Feb 22, 2018

This is a good story about a fallen kingdom getting back their kingdom and power and fighting against the other kingdom who brought them down in the first place. I really cheered for the main character because she is strong and cares for her kingdom. She wants to fight and really wants to make a difference.

r
rslars001
Feb 01, 2018

This is one of the best books I have read in a while; the storyline in intriguing, the characters immediately steal your heart, and the writing style is simple enough that it does not provide a challenge, but poetic enough to enthrall you with every word. I could hardly put this book down. Amazing, I would definitely recommend checking this one out!
Note for parents: Although this book is a very great story, there is one scene near the end of the story where Meira, the main character, is taken captive by the king, and later one of the king's men throws her on his bed, crawls on top of her and hints at trying to rape her. Now, it is not in detail and I would not judge the entire story by this one part, but I am just putting a warning out to parents to just be aware of this if this is being read by a younger reader. But once again, this story is incredible, and I loved it!

kirstd31 Jan 22, 2018

I really enjoyed this book. A great fantasy adventure.

PimaLib_ChristineR Dec 08, 2017

Interesting read. Fun, if superficial.

I found Snow Like Ashes to be an action-packed story with Meira and Theron being the most filled out, but it felt like character building and world building were second to action. Even as I've finished this within minutes, I've already forgotten the names of Meira's fellow exiles and their relationship to her. I'm unclear on why these particular people escaped or even their relationships to each other. I don't understand why the Rhythm kingdoms feel the Season kingdoms are barbarians or why magic is tied to a specific sex. In fact, there was a lot left out on the magic front, like the author hadn't quite worked it out herself. That said, there's plenty of action, the good guys are clearly delineated from the bad guys, and generally it's a fun read.

MelifluousView Nov 03, 2017

Meira's struggle to fight for and be connected to a home that she has never known was an interesting part of her story. There were twists I anticipated, but twists I did not in Meira's story. I flew through the book and enjoyed it thoroughly! I'm still thinking about the kingdoms that stay one season year round.

a
akzfineart
Dec 02, 2016

Sara Raasch’s Snow Like Ashes was an unexpected gem for me. I was confident I’d enjoy it, but there were definitely some elements that bumped it up to a five star rating. To be honest, my first impression of kingdoms named after seasons felt cheesy, but after reading there’s absolutely nothing cheesy about it. Raasch has this skill to take wholly original ideas, add in incredible writing and create a novel I was hooked onto from the first page. I went into this knowing it was a series and Snow Like Ashes has fixed me onto it; there are a select few books that can do this! Make no mistake, if I enjoy book one, I’ll definitely continue with the series, but I’m not usually fully-engrossed until book two or three.

I loved the writing! Snow Like Ashes was a very fine example of 1st POV; the quality reminded me of Blood Red Road or The Hunger Games. I actually felt like I was in Meira’s head or even that Meira had a camera because everything she saw or experienced was described. I read an article by Rachel Starr Thompson called “How Writers Can Be Storyshowers instead of Storytellers”. To paraphrase, humans used to be storytellers so stories were told, with the majority summarized and action happening from a long-distance view. We really need to be storyshowers; writing in scenes and having our novel rely heavily on scene rather than summary (Thompson). Through talent and hard work, Raasch proves to be a storyshower.

World-building and plot. I felt having ‘winter’ as the protagonist and ‘summer’ the antagonist was an interesting twist. I generally find winter is associated with bleakness, cold and long nights, and in some fantasy worlds winter is not something you want; the protagonist may even be fighting against winter/a winter-themed villain. Raasch provided a refreshing twist on this archetype. Additionally, whenever I had a question about the fantasy world (ex. which kingdoms have female blood-heirs and which have male), it was immediately answered on the next page or chapter. Using the example above, I wasn’t sure whether the Season Kingdoms had all female blood-heirs (as I knew Winter did) and the Rhythm Kingdoms had all male blood-heirs (I knew Cordell did), but this was quickly answered.

Onto our main character, Meira. There’s always something about the protagonist that makes them extraordinary, but a lot of the times it can feel like they were born with this “something”. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I sometimes feel like the main character is a hero/heroine before the novel begins. Lineage-wise Meira is ordinary – her parents were peasants, which is about the only thing we know about them (at least in Meira’s POV) – and it’s amazing to observe her go from ordinary to extraordinary. The back of the copy I read described this book as, “a hero in the making” and as I read I could actually believe this. As Meira builds her own destiny, her actions make her extraordinary. Moving on, Meira is a very conflicted character. Her country was destroyed when she was an infant, so she doesn’t feel any emotional attachment to it. This in turn created guilt, and character development like such was just as important as freeing the Kingdom of Winter.

I really truly loved this debut! Tons of action, a conflicted but strong heroine, and great writing had me falling in love with Raasch’s fantasy world. There were some plot twists I did not expect – I’m usually pretty good at figuring out any/all foreshadowing – and there was one type of scene that had me pondering the dynamics/how it could be happening. I couldn’t decide if it was a dream, memory, or some kind of magic involved, but it stood out a lot to me! I’m extremely excited for the sequel, Ice Like Fire and what sort of challenges lie ahead for these characters!

​Like many fantasy novels this one has a lot of world building and it takes a while for you to get used to the world Raasch has created. Meira is a fighter. She is strong, determined, and more than a little rash. She longs to prove herself, and free her people. In some ways this novel was predictable--as I saw the ending coming. Still it is a well written and entertaining fantasy for those who love books like Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

m
MysticalNightmare
Apr 12, 2016

IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! A must read.

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rslars001
Feb 01, 2018

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akzfineart
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