Snow Like Ashes – Review // A High Fantasy Like No Other

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Book 1 in the Snow Like Ashes trilogy
Genre: YA high fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: hardcover
Source: library
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

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plot: 20/20
characters: 20/20
setting: 20/20
relationships: 20/20
twists: 20/20
100/100

Snow Like Ashes has been on my radar for a few months now, and prior to my last visit I hadn’t prioritized it when I went to the bookstore or the library. I really should have, though, because it was more amazing than I ever could’ve guessed or hoped. It was such a unique, wild ride, and I will definitely need to buy my own copy. πŸ˜€

the plot

At first glance, the story seems simple and similar to other fantasies: a girl and a small group of other people are trying to take back their fallen kingdom from an antagonistic monarch and free the other citizens that had been enslaved. But upon reading and deeper thought, it’s so much more. There’s intricacy, intensity, betrayal, a love triangle, magic, ulterior motives, and many other elements that make it a very gripping fantasy read. I liked it immediately, and by the halfway point I was completely invested to the story. It earned its spot on my favorites list, and I can’t wait to see where the story goes next. πŸ™‚

the characters

Meira is an amazing main character. She’s so complex and relatable, and I just loved her. She’s constantly wondering whether to be true to herself or do whatever is necessary to help her kingdom, and readers can feel her emotional turmoil. It’s tangible through the pages, and it made for a great reading experience. I also loved that Meira was so brave and prepared to do what was right, but it didn’t make her a cardboard cutout of other heroines with the same attitude. She was flawed and not ashamed of it; she excelled at long-range fighting but was more of an amateur in close-range, and didn’t know royal etiquette because she’d been raised as a nomad. And on that note, I also thought it was so cool that her favorite weapon was a chakram. I don’t think I’ve ever read about a character that used that weapon. I remember Axel from the video game Kingdom Hearts used chakrams, but in regard to books I applaud Sara for coming up with a small, unique detail like that one. Meira handles everything thrown at her very realistically; many things shock her and make her momentarily vulnerable, but she gets over that quickly and does what has to be done. I’m talking specifically about one twist, but really, that applies to the whole book. I can honestly say she’s one of my favorite female characters within the fantasy genre. πŸ˜€

the setting

Primoria is probably my favorite fantasy world that wasn’t created by Sarah J. Maas. At the very least, it’s high up on the list, in my top three or top five. It’s so unique. Whereas other fantasy worldsΒ seem to follow an elemental trend, this one revolves around the four seasons. It still might not be the most original thing, but I thought it was really creative and I loved getting to know every minute detail of the world. There were the four Season kingdoms, and each one’sΒ capital was a month of that season (Winter: Jannuari, Spring: Abril, Summer: Juli, Autumn: Oktuber). Each kingdom also had only that one season. Then there were the four Rhythm kingdoms, that cycled through all four seasons like our own world does. All eight of the kingdoms had a magic conduit that could be harnessed by a monarch, and some could be wielded only be female rulers while others could only be used by male rulers. The conduits took the form of a certain object, and depending on the kingdom’s existing strengths, the magic within could build upon that. My explanation might not have made sense, but in the book it did. In the book everything was so clearly explained, and between that and the gorgeous map, I was never confused. πŸ˜€

(Also, one other thing I think is really cool that I just didn’t know where to put was how each Season kingdom’s citizens had certain traits. Winterians were pale and had white hair, for example.)

the relationships

Of all the Winterian citizens, all but 8 remain. The rest are either dead or enslaved. The people in that group were very close and loyal, but still had disagreements. They understood each other most of the time, but not always. They felt a lot like an average family, but they didn’t have blood relations and did have a lot more pressure. I really liked the bond between them all. πŸ™‚

There’s also a love triangle. Some people might not enjoy the book as much because of that, but it was written excellently so I didn’t mind. Meira and Mather grew up together in the small group of refugees, and over that period Meira had developed feelings for him. However, they couldn’t be together, because Meira was an orphaned solider and Mather was the future king. A similar situation unfolded with Meira and Theron, who she met when the group went to Cordell in hopes of forming an alliance. Soon enough, she was harboring feelings for both princes and didn’t know how to deal with it. Personally, I loved Theron, because while both were dutiful to their kingdom, Mather was rather stoic whereas Theron was personable and passionate about art and literature. I do like Mather, don’t get me wrong, just not as much as Theron. πŸ˜‰

the twists

The best kinds of stories are those that have a story that’s both really unique and a crazy adventure. I’m happy to say that this book falls into that category. I’ll admit, the first few chapters weren’t incredibly gripping, but I can understand that because the world needed to be set up and the characters introduced. But soon after there was a twist, and from there more and more followed. I was so attached to all of the characters and their journey, and I couldn’t wait to find out what Meira would do next, or what her friends and enemies would do. I couldn’t predict that or what secrets might be revealed at any given moment. This book was a wild ride, and it didn’t take me long to fall in love. πŸ™‚

overall

Snow Like Ashes is one of those stories that you love so much, you can’t help but mentally smack yourself a few times for not seeking it out sooner. It was a thrilling introduction to the trilogy, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next. If you like any sort of fantasy, you should give it a try, but especially if you enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses and/or Falling Kingdoms. πŸ˜€

my rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR? If you have read it, what did you think? I’d love to know! Tell me in the comments! πŸ™‚

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I’m off to devour more of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, which I’m happy to say I now own a copy of. πŸ˜€ I hope you all have a fabulous day/night! ❀

Until next time…

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