This book took me for a ride.
I have no idea what to say about it. Never have I been on such a rollercoaster in my life. Let me try and explain.
Ten pages into Snow Like Ashes I wanted to throw it across the room and never pick it up again. It felt like every other YA fantasy.
1. Female hero who wants to prove herself? Check.
2. Male best friend she’s been in love with her entire life? Check.
3. Four – Eight Kingdoms where their differences are summed up with one trait? Check.
4. Everything was alright until
the Fire Nation one country attacked. Check.
So why didn’t I put it down? I was at work, I was bored and we had no power. With nothing else to do I pressed forward into Snow Like Ashes.
There were some things that I really liked about this novel. Our main character Meira being one of them. Her entire life Meira has been told stories about what was lost when the country of Winter fell. She wants to do what ever she can to free her people and see Winter back to it’s former glory. But as Meira points out. She has no idea what Winter is like. She was too young to remember her homeland. Everything she knows about it has been pieced together from the other survivors. This put Meira in this really great position where she is fighting for something she doesn’t really know. She wants to do right by the people of Winter even if she doesn’t really understand what they used to be like.
Meira wants to be important, even though she’s just a common girl that Sir rescued during the attack on Winter. She’s best friends with Mather, the future King of Winter. For the first third of the novel, Meira and Mather are set up to be love interests. I was annoyed but not surprised, in how many books does the main character fall for their best friend.
And then Raasch throws her first curve ball. Mather and Sir offer her up to one of the other Kingdoms for an arranged marriage with their Prince.
All of a sudden the book had my complete attention. We were breaking the usual form, changing things up….
And then back to the normal stuff.
You see, Snow Like Ashes is a rollercoaster. Just when you recognize the usual pattern, it takes a detour into something else. Not all the twists come from left field, there are a few you can call easily. But it’s worth the read for the few different ones.
Raasch started Snow Like Ashes when she was 12, and understand it does show. The weird premise of eternal season kingdoms versus normal kingdoms, the use of Maguffins, and the love of the bait and switch trope. But that being said, this novel is solid. The execution of the story is well paced, our heroine is likeable and the villain is both evil and mysterious.
It’s great to see someone take the tropes of the genre and give them a different spin. So if you like high fantasy, then check this one out. It’s an entertaining ride.
“Someday we will be more than words in the dark.”
“Holding on to some part of your past even if it means also holding on to the pain of never again having it. That pain is less horrible than the pain of forgetting.”
“That’s why literature is so fascinating. It’s always up for interpretation, and could be a hundred different things to a hundred different people. It’s never the same thing twice.”