(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Published by HarperCollins on September 15th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Family, Love & Romance, Orphans & Foster Homes, Survival Stories, Young Adult
A striking fantasy tale of dark magic, dangerous politics, and discovering your true self—perfect for fans of Game of Thrones, An Ember in the Ashes and A Court of Thorns and Roses.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.
“…sometimes placing out 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 read practically any book that piques my interest even a little, no matter the genre, age specifications, or heinous/positive reviews decorating Goodreads or various blogs that I follow. Snow Like Ashes was an impulse buy, a book that I’ve heard wonderful things about but never actually read the inside cover or back of the book. I knew the genre (fantasy), and I knew the section to find it at the bookstore (YA); I even knew what the dedication page said because I am one of those people who reads articles that highlight some of the most memorable dedication pages. So, after winning a Black Friday contest hosted by Paula Stokes, I had an excuse to get this book that I knew so much, yet so little, about. That’s right, you guys, I had a Barnes and Noble card burning a hole in my pocket, and coupons sitting patiently, unused, in my email. To end a long, trialing tale of my adventures in the bookstore, the card didn’t even make it a day.
“’There will always be a they in your new life, Meira. They make decisions; they mold your future. The trick is to find a way to still be you through it all.’”
This world had my attention from the first page. Separated into Seasons and Rhythms, war raged in something that we have take place all year round, that constant change of weather (unless you’re in South Carolina right now and living through 70 degree temperatures in the middle of December), but the people that lived in each Season were accustomed to a certain way of life, a certain temperature. More than just the weather separated them, though, and people were categorized by their appearance. Meira, a winter, had never known life as a Winter, even though Winterian blood ran through her veins, showed in her stark white hair, and proved itself in the heat of day (everyone knows a Winter would rather be frozen than sweating). I loved the divide between kingdoms, a greater divide between those that lay outside of the Seasons’ courts. The world building in this novel was phenomenal, and that is enough for me to want to continue the story in Ice Like Fire.
“’I want to be someone worthy of my kingdom. I want to be someone worthy of you.’”
If you hate love triangles, go ahead and groan because this book had one. I adore love triangles. To me, they’re like the peppermint Hershey’s kisses, and if you’ve had those, you’d understand how much of a proponent of love triangles I am. Now, I don’t have to have them in every story, but I will read them and will enjoy them, swooning and enduring the endless scenes of deciding who I love more. And no, I haven’t made up my mind yet, because while Raasch included a love triangle, it did not suffocate the story, and a lot has yet to happen, another reason I’m looking forward to the sequel. Love for her kingdom and respect for those that did remember drove Meira to defeat the forces that tried to control more than they bargained for. Yes, she might have had two men vying for her heart, but she also stood on her own when no one could save her but herself.
“That, I think, is a truer mark of belonging somewhere—being willing to do anything,everything, that needs to be done, regardless of what I want.”
The plot development and characterization in Snow Like Ashes was superb, and I will be getting the next book in the series to see what happens next (crossing my fingers that it doesn’t suffer from Second Book Syndrome, though I’ve heard otherwise). If you’re not into fantasy, I beg you to reconsider and at least pick up this book while perusing the shelves at your favorite bookstore.