Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Release Date: 14 October, 2014
Source: Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

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.
Review by Nara

Someday we will be more than words in the dark.
Young Adult high fantasy doesn't get much better than this. Snow Like Ashes is the type of book that high fantasy fans were waiting for: fantastic world building, badass and very well developed protagonist and a plot revolving around a bloody war. And who can stay away from a pretty cover like that one?

THE WORLD BUILDING MY GOD. Those of you who know me somewhat well know that I'm a ridiculously huge world building reader, and THIS BOOK. You can really tell that a lot of thought has gone into setting up the world- the eight kingdoms, the magic system, the characters. It's just fantastic. I have to admit, it's a bit infodumpy at the start, but it's not so much so that it slows the pace of the book, or that it's boring.

Meira was such a fantastic character. While admittedly, she's very slightly bratty at the start of the novel, as the plot progresses, she learns much about her people and what they've lost, and matures into a much more reasonable character, while retaining her generally badassery and awesomeness. Although that being said, she's still a tad headstrong, which I definitely foresee being a bit of an issue in sequels (an issue for those who are trying to look after her, in any case).

Time to talk about Theron. Sure, I realise there are a lot of Mather x Meira shippers out there, but THERON. I mean, he reads for crying out loud! Any character who reads = instant swoon fest. He's also a poet and has an appreciation for art, and is super nice to all the palace servants. How can you not like him?!

I must admit that some (maybe all...) of the twists are a tad obvious, but a large part of that is because the author included quite a lot of foreshadowing to make them obvious. In general, the plot was very fast paced, and the battles were suitably brutal. This is a high fantasy, after all, and YA or not, a certain amount of blood should be spilled to maintain believability. (lol that sounds really bloodthirsty of me...)

Well, in summary:
1. Excellent world building
2. Badass protagonist
3. Action-packed (albeit predictable) plot
4. Beautiful cover
5. Please get a copy. And enjoy!


Overall: 10/10
Plot: 4.5/5
Writing: 5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 5/5

Want more young adult high fantasy? Try these:
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

...sorry. I love high fantasy, so I got a bit too excited about the list haha