{ARC} Book Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

December 27, 2015 Review 0 ★★★★

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

{ARC} Book Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara RaaschSnow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on 2014 October 14
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: E-book {ARC}
Source: Edelweiss
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four-stars

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, 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.

Remember how we are always cautious when we come across books that are marketed as the next blah? Or a book wherein “X book” meets “Y book”?  In my case, I usually stay away from books marketed as such because I hate it when publishers capitalize on the success of other books.  And most often than not, these “next” books are a total fail and the only recognition they deserve is that they were able to make it to the literary market.   In the case of Snow Like Ashes, instead of being wary, I got curious with the blurb.  Marketed as “Game of Thrones meets Graceling in this striking fantasy tale of dark magic, dangerous politics, and discovering your true self, from debut author Sara Raasch,” I immediately knew that I have to read the ARC as soon as possible. For those who have been piously following my blog, you already know that Graceling and A Game of Thrones got low ratings from me.  So why in the world did I request this book? Am I a masochist? Certainly not.  As I’ve said, I was curious and see whether the author has something new to offer to the table.  Must I also say that I feel for the author because comparing her work to a book that has made big waves on a global level is a lot of pressure?

Fortunately, Snow Like Ashes delivered to its blurb. Fans may scoff at me for saying this, but I enjoyed this book more than I did with the other two books. As I went deeper into the story, it was not hard to identify some of the inspirations taken from the two books but they were not alarming since the plotline of Snow Like Ashes follows a different direction. The world was wholly new and the magical system was innovative.

One of the things that immediately hooked me into the story is how ambitious it is. Other readers might have a hard time grasping what the world of Primoria is all about.  There are eight kingdoms that you need to be familiar with.  The numerous characters can also be a bit discouraging especially if you’re just at the beginning of the story.  But once you get the hang of this book, everything will progress nicely. And before you know it, you’re turning the pages as if there’s no tomorrow.

I love that the author has taken effort in making the magical system distinctive yet easy to understand.  Though the magical system was definitely praiseworthy, it was also the reason why some parts of the book got swamped with infodumps.   I didn’t mind it that much but it might irk some readers.

I also need to throw this out, the plot moved slowly at the beginning but I felt that it was necessary.  I love my fantasy books fully set up and I don’t want to waste my brain powers wondering about things that the author neglected to explain.  Deeper into the story, readers will get to see a lot of action as battles between kingdoms are finally starting to brew.

The characters were well fleshed out. I didn’t find it difficult to distinguish who was who.  The main character though was something to look out for as she’s not easily likable. I do have a love and hate relationship with her.  She’s very insecure and whiny at some moments.  There were times that her thoughts are exhaustingly redundant that I can’t help but feel the urge to shake her to her senses.  She reminded me of Kaladin and Daenyrys  in some ways. But while I wasn’t irritated with the two, Meira is innately skilled in bringing out the worst in me. Despite that, I can’t stop myself from warming up to her whenever she steps up and unleashes the kickass part of her personality.

The romance was definitely swoon worthy and was able to maintain its place on the sidelines.  A love triangle almost ruined the whole story but halfway through the book, the first contender was immediately eliminated.  And what I got is a beautifully hewn romance between characters that grew up in two different worlds. The feels was definitely there and awaits further development.

Snow Like Ashes ended with a bang.  The immediate conflicts were resolved nicely and left sufficient room for the story to expand.  In conclusion, it was very unfair for the marketers to promote this book as  “A Game of Thrones meets Graceling” book as it should be recognized for its own awesomeness. It just earned a permanent spot on my favorites page.

 

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