Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Published by HarperCollins on October 14th 2014
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.
High fantasy has always been very hit or miss for me. If I pick up the “wrong” fit, I am bored within about three chapters, and I am wanting to toss it aside. When I grab the “right” fit, it can be magical. Luckily, Snow Like Ashes fell into the “right” category for me, even if it wasn’t a complete home run.
From the beginning, Meira’s character pulled me in. I adored her, and find her to be exactly what a protagonist should be. She wasn’t perfect (far from it) but accepted her faults and was constantly trying to overcome them. She was always true to herself, and while she certainly was feisty, she was sympathetic as well.
Now, there is a bit of a love triangle situation, though I am pretty sure it will be more prominent in future books. I know I am in the minority, but I am quite fond of Mather. My only gripe was that I wanted to know more about him, have him be a bit more fleshed out. Theron was a great addition to the story, I just didn’t get a really strong feeling on him either way, he was a little too typical “good guy”. I think reading more about each of them in the future will help decide who I like best. But for now, I am sticking with Mather. The “romance” in the book was very minimal, so the triangle situation didn’t really come into play much.
The world building concept was definitely unique. I enjoyed how the seasons were all represented, and all fighting. But the Rhythms weren’t any better. Basically it was all just a bunch of greedy people only looking out for themselves in quite a few cases. I did enjoy the element of not knowing which kingdoms, if any, would have Winter’s back. And this is such a minor gripe, and I am pretty sure it is just me, but when there is a map of a world… do you want to know what is on the other side of the sea or ocean or mountain as badly as I do? I need to know! (This doesn’t have anything to do with my actual enjoyment or rating of the book, just a minor tangent.)
The plot itself was definitely enjoyable, and full of twists. I did see a few of the twists coming, but there were enough that I didn’t to make it exciting. There was a point in the middle of the book during which it did seem to drag a bit for me, but then it picked right back up and continued to suck me in. The ending wasn’t a huge unbearable cliffhanger, thank goodness, but it did set up the next book very nicely. I found it both refreshing and well done.
Bottom Line: Definitely a win. If you like strong heroines that will win you over, and high fantasy in general, this is not one to miss! I will be looking forward to Ice Like Fire for sure.
Which season would you want to live in (based on climate alone, not on the politics of this particular book)? I would probably want to live in spring. It is warmer, but not too hot. But only if I could travel to summer on the regular.