Series: Snow Like Ashes, #1
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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.
Snow Like Ashes immediately caught my attention with its gorgeous cover. I found the insides of Snow Like Ashes just as beautiful as the outside. The descriptions of the kingdoms in Snow Like Ashes easily created pictures of mind. By the end of the story I had a pretty clear picture of the worlds described in the story, along with the complex magic interwoven with the kingdoms. I can’t wait to see more of the worlds Sara has created in future installments.
However as much as I adored the world building, there were moments where it really brought down the story. Especially in the beginning, I felt bombarded with information, mostly in the form of lengthy info dumps. Though I enjoyed learning about the kingdoms I felt like there could have been more balance with the descriptions. Having so many info dumps in the beginning made the pacing quite slow to begin with. I can see why some would have difficulty with getting into the story with all over the overwhelming information. As the story went on the lengthy descriptions were lessened though, and I hope this trend continues in other books. I think it’s good to have solid world building, but not the point when the only thing in a story is info dump.
No matter what happens, no matter who turns on me, no matter what pompous swine thinks he has power over me, I AM STILL ME.
I will always be ME.
Meira’s narration was quite enjoyable and felt very natural. I feel like she goes through a lot of growth throughout the story and really matures. In the beginning I would definitely call her reckless and a bit of a brat, but by the end of the story I felt like she truly grew as a character. I was cheering for her as Meira kicked some serious ass with her chakram, this is one girl that definitely doesn’t need some man to save her from dangerous situations. I also enjoyed how loyal and passionate that Meira was regarding the Kingdom of Winter. Her undying need to save the people of Winter never wavers, even when hope seems slim to none. I find that really admirable in a character.
There is a love triangle in this one. The two love interests involved didn’t bother me on their own, however I feel like they could be developed further. This is something I’d especially like to see in future installments. I feel like there was a lot of unexplored potential in them. For the love triangle itself, by the end of the story it seems fairly obvious which love interest Meira will choose. I’m okay with her decision, it does make the most sense. Also the love interest she chooses seems like he’s a lot more complex of a character. I honestly feel like the love triangle could have been cut out of Snow Like Ashes and instead one of the love interests could just be a platonic friendship. It would have made some of the more angst-y moments a lot more tolerable. There was one scene in particular where I felt myself rolling my eyes and wondering why this was all so necessary. I really do hope the love triangle will not be brought up in the sequels because by the end of Snow Like Ashes it seems fairly conclusive.
There was a twist in the ending that looking back on it, should have been pretty obvious. However, I didn’t manage to guess it prior to learning about it. I felt as though it was well done and there were some hints dropped throughout the book so it didn’t just come out of the blue. The ending itself felt conclusive enough where this book could stand on its own, but there was still room for continuation. There wasn’t an evil cliffhanger in the middle of all of the action which was nice. The twist really does set up the plot for the other books in the series and I can’t wait to see where Sara goes with the plotline. I feel like Snow Like Ashes is just the beginning and there’s just so much exploration to be done for this world. There are some who would compare this book to Throne of Glass, though I personally wouldn’t put the two books on the same level at this point in time. I think Snow Like Ashes has the potential to however grow into a sprawling fantasy that would rival Throne of Glass with future installments.
Overall I would say that Snow Like Ashes is a pretty good fantasy debut and I’ll eagerly be waiting the following sequels.
~Thank you HarperCollins Canada for the review copy~
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