October 02, 2015

Review ~ Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch


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. 

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I had so much feels in this book. This is now my favorite high fantasy book, the only one that I wish I could crawl into and live there. Only a handful of books made me wish that since I have always been pretty satisfied to see the characters living in their own world, but Snow Like Ashes made me want to not just see it in my mind, but to feel it as if it is my own.

I love the world-building of this one. I'm in love with Sara Raasch's brain, and her talent in weaving words together and make them appear magical, and with her world that takes me back to my childhood where I wished there was magic--but this time so I could live in Primoria.

Meira, the Winterian girl who tells the story of her kingdom, is just what I want when it comes to female characters. She has a backbone as firm as a steel, and a personality that somehow remind me of my own (though she's more badass than I can only hope to be). Her fears, doubts, selfishness, and immature thoughts felt genuine--so genuine that even though this is a fictional book and a high fantasy at that, her character felt realistic. Meira is more realistic than many other female characters I have read in contemporary books. The thing that made me like her more is her flaws. It's very amusing to know that she's weak when it comes to handsome guys getting in her line of sight. In all her badassness (I firmly believe this should be a word), she gets weak in the knees when there is a hot guy around. It should be annoying, but the way it is written made it amusing instead. It'sa good thing she didn't wallow in girly, dreamy thoughts over hot guys when they are not around--out of sight, out of mind.

This book awakened my enthusiasm and violent reactions when I'm reading. I didn't just breeze through the whole thing like I always do recently. Snow Like Ashes actually made me scream in frustration, straighten my spine in excitement, kept me on the edge of my seat in anticipation, punch the air and squeal in delight when something good happens, made my heart thunder in my chest as if there was a battalion of horses beating against it, made me heave a huge breath of relief, and even proved that I'm not completely numb to emotional pain that stirs a few tears. I used to do all that once upon a time, but too many dull books and bad plots/character developments have dampened that enthusiasm. In Snow Like Ashes, though, my reactions flew out of me as if they were never snuffed out at all.

Sara Raasch's magical talent in forming words that drip with emotion also helped restore that enthusiasm. I didn't just read those words--I felt it. I didn't just read the characters and sympathized with them--I felt them. I felt their desperation, their victory, their loss as if I was one of them. I didn't even mind the love triangle, and that's saying something.

Snow Like Ashes is an action packed, thrilling, and haunting read. It's perfect in its own way. It is worth every minute of precious sleep I lost because I couldn't put it down. It is an experience I want to live, a world I wish could be my own.

~ Zee


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