Young Adult, Fantasy
Part of a Series?:
The first in a planned trilogy
October 14th, 2014
You Can Find the Book At:
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.
Why did I read this book? Can I be completely honest here? I really liked the cover, I heard it was fantasy and I heard it was an incredible. I was technically on a book buying ban because I’m in the worst slump EVER but I saw the book and I thought, I can’t resist. Maybe a book like this will break me out of my slump. Now while it didn’t exactly break me out of this incredible slump that I’ve been in all year, it did completely blow my mind.
I’ve been itching for a really good epic fantasy for awhile. The last one that really blew my mind was the Seven Realms series by Cinda Chima. The world building and romance and everything of that series just…ugh, my heart is exploding with feels. But anyway, reading Snow Like Ashes…I felt like I’d finally found a truly great YA fantasy again, and by an incredibly talented debut author.
First off, she creates these amazing characters. Meira, Mather, Sir, Theron, all of them are so incredible. They feel like they could be these real people, which is incredibly important in a fantasy. The thing about fantasy is that its supposed to take you out of our world and into a world that doesn’t feel familiar. Exciting, sure but not familiar. What is supposed to pull you in and keep you there and make you care about it is the people. The people, their lives, their personalities, their successes and struggles have to feel real in order for you to fall into this world. And that’s exactly what Sara does. She instantly makes you love every person in this novel. From the moment I read the first page, when Meira is struggling in a mock fight with Mather, I knew that I was madly in love with her as a character. Every character was so developed and changed over the course of the novel and I just loved that.
And then there is the story itself. The thing about fantasy is that there are so many similar stories but it is the way you tell the story that makes it so unique. Meira and the people of Winter, what few of them are left, are hanging on a thread of hope that is King Mather, in the hopes that they can bring their kingdom back together, that they can go home. You feel it in every single page, from the elder members of the group who remember everything about their home and even in Meira, who feels such a strong tie to a place that she never even knew. I wanted them to get their home so badly, it hurt. I wanted them to do anything and everything to make it happen. I knew nothing about Winter except stories but it felt real and I wanted them to get it back. I wanted Mather to be king and I wanted Meira to figure out her place and I wanted Sir to realize how important Meira is and all of that.
The world building of the book is perfect. Its really perfect. When there is an issue in world building, it can cause the believability of the story to go down. Everything about the world felt real, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, everything. The stories, the myths, the cultures and music, the way they fight, the things they believe in, it all felt so natural. It read easily. I felt like I knew the place without having to be confused or having to flip to the map constantly. There was no over explaining or any of that. It just felt real. I love that about a good fantasy. You don’t question it. I want to go there, and be a part of that world.
But I think what really makes this a great book is that she completely takes you by surprise. Completely. Obviously most books have a really good twist but this one…I didn’t expect it. I thought something was a little wrong, I had a feeling that something wasn’t quite what it seemed but when it was revealed, I definitely was surprised. There was so much more to the story than previously expected and that’s what made it even better than what it had been before. I am already dying for the next book, because I’m ready for the next one. Its an absolutely fantastic debut by Sara and I’m so glad to read such a great fantasy. I’m SO ready for it.
5 out of 5 stars