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 by Sara Raasch is the first book in the Snow Like Ashes series. It follows the last remaining free citizens of the fallen Winter Kingdom and their journey to resurrect it from the ashes. Let`s see what happens to Meira, Mather, Sir, and Theron on their expansive plans to do so!
When the Kingdom of Winter fell at the hands of the Kingdom of Spring and all of it`s citizens were enslaved, only a few lucky ones were able to escape. Now sixteen years later the eight escapees devise plan after plan to reclaim their kingdom and it`s magic. Meira, training to be a soldier and her best friend Mather, the future king of Winter would do anything to get their kingdom back. So when they discover the whereabouts of their kingdom`s magical amulet Meira sets off to retrieve it. things don`t go so well and Meira begins to realize her destiny was not what she thought it was.
Everything was developed perfectly, from the characters to the plot and its history. There was a lot of background knowledge that you pick up on throughout the book and it’s vital to the story that you at least understand the basics, but what’s better is that even with the history of eight kingdoms and their alliances, I never found myself lost or confused.
The writing is beautiful and flows seamlessly. The amount of detail is absolutely insane. It’s incredible. Absolutely stunning. Raasch really hit it out of the park with the way she wrote the story, created the characters, and built the expansive world.
Meira, being the main character I had a lot of high hopes for a super heroine! Usually when I expect too much I end getting let down, but not this time around. Meira is strong willed, clever, athletic, and not the typical girly girl. Most of this has to do with the way she was brought up by Sir. Being a refugee meant she had to be strong and courageous if she ever thought they would get their kingdom back. No matter what she did throughout the story, not once did I doubt her intentions or face palm at her mistakes. She continuously grows as the novel progresses and learns to accept her new destiny.
Mather, the future king of Winter was another one of my favorite characters in Snow Like Ashes. He was brave, stubborn, and strong willed as well. No matter what happened he would always try to figure a way to fix it. Always optimistic and continuously did what was best for Meira and the rest of the refugees in hopes that one day they would get back their kingdom and his throne.
Theron the dreamy prince of Cordell, one of the Rhythmns Kingdoms. I routed for this guy since he was first introduced in the book. He was lovable, caring and not the asshole that his father is. He doesn’t want to conquer Primoria and take control over the magic from Winter but does everything in his power to help Meira get her kingdom and people back from Spring. As the novel progresses you can’t help but fall head over heels for this guy and his sweet personality. Quite the opposite of his power controlling Father, King Noam. King Noamis ruthless and only thinks of his kingdom and what he can gain from aligning with Winter to get their kingdom back. I only felt true hate for this man and nothing changes as the story goes on.
Then we have the major antagonist, Angra, the king of Spring. If you could think of all the worst qualities and traits a person can have then you pretty much envision Angra. The only words I could use to describe his power hungry ways is EVIL. That’s it. Just complete dark, black clouds of evil. Which doesn’t surprise me that his favorite henchman Herod is a piece of trash of a character. Scary, ruthless, and disgusting. What more could you want from a powerful antagonist such as Angra and his sidekick Herod.
Last but not least we have William (Sir), and Hannah. William is the general in charge of the refugees and the kingdom of Winter. His powerful and courageous leadership is what gives hope to each one of the refugees fighting to get their precious magic and kingdom back from Angra. His sacrifices and hard attitude toward Meira really shows just how much he truly cares for her and everything she will become. And then theirs Hannah, the Queen of Winter who sacrificed her life for the lives of her people. You only meet her through Meira’s dreams and hallucinations. But what we learn of what she did for all her kingdom really shows her true selfless personality. What more could you want from the Queen of you kingdom.
Primoria is divided into two major regions, The Seasons, and The Rhythms. Then divided into 4 kingdoms in each regions. Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter; Cordell, Ventralli, Paisley, and Yakim. So you can imagine how much would have to go into the story to create such a fanatsic world.
All the Season’s of course only experienced one type of weather, where as the Rhythms experienced all our weathered seasons. And in each Season the people that lived there all had specific appearance differences. Such as the Winterians have white hair and blue eyes, and Autumnians having black hair, darker skin, and brown eyes etc. There was so much detail that went into the world building that didn’t give me any trouble trying to envision it inside my own head. Most other stories make me fill in blanks with what I think things look like, where as in Snow Like Ashes everything was very well detailed that there was no confusion.
One other thing I thought was clever was the names of some of the cities in the Season’s kingdoms. Such as Jannuari in the Winter kingdom, Abril in the Spring Kingdom, Oktuber in the Autumn kingdom, etc. Using the months that occur in each season was clever to use as the cities names in each kingdom. Too bad I’m probably the only one that thought that was super cool. Nerd alert.
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch was everything I could ask for in a fantasy story. The world building, unique kingdom names and of course the impressive cast of characters. I couldn’t have asked for a better first book in this trilogy because it truly makes me want to read more and more of the story. Ahhh… so many unanswered questions by the end and so much untold story. Seriously makes the wait for the next book unbearable.. but totally worth it.
Pick up this book if you haven’t already. You’re missing out on an awesome fantasy read! One of the best I’ve read this year so far.
Until next time,