Snow Like Ashes

17399160by Sara Raasch
YA Fantasy
3 of 5 stars
Debut novel – October 14, 2014

I admit I was hesitant to check out this series at first because it has been hyped so much to me, but I finally got on board. A first person present tense narrative is unusual for fantasy, and I like seeing new techniques in popular genres. And the cover art is gorgeous and there’s a pretty map inside, and I can’t say no to that!

The first 150 pages felt very slow, mostly because I was conflicted about the orphan soldier, Meira. She has a passionate devotion to her fallen kingdom, Winter, but as someone who spent over a decade training for battles, she felt inept and overwhelmed any time she encountered conflict.

The middle of the book smoothed out the pacing, but I followed Meira’s thoughts and reactions like a seesaw. One minute she feels confident and decisive, she has a plan, she knows her feelings, she pulls you in. The next, she’s distracted by something and is telling me what she wants (always italicized) while at the same time acknowledging she shouldn’t want whatever it is (a relationship with Mather, approval from Sir, choosing her own fate) and then she decides to go along with the opposite of her dreams. Meira tells you a lot, but I had a hard time connecting to her. There are definitely moments of intense sympathy for Meira’s situation (and some truly beautiful lines!), but just when I started to feel like a part of her story and the world, I would get jolted out of it by something immature Meira says or does. I admit I’m a picky person with narration, but I found Meira’s voice distracting, especially since she is also slow to realize obvious plot developments.

The sequel Ice Like Fire comes out this fall, and I like Meira’s world and potential character arc enough to check it out. This is a debut novel, and I think the author has a lot of potential.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Snow Like Ashes is available on Goodreads and its parent company Amazon. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!


Similar reads: 

  • Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M Lee – An orphaned teenage girl surviving in a magical, post-apocalyptic city discovers why she can see and manipulate the threads of time, and what it means for her destiny. See my review here, as well as the sequel’s review here.
  • The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – An orphaned teenage girl living in the desert gets taken in by a nomadic, magical Hillfolk tribe and learns her destiny is to become a legendary warrior that could save her kingdom. This is part of a duology about the magical country Damar. See my review here.
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – An orphaned girl cursed with the fairy “blessing” of obedience tries to obtain her freedom before the curse puts her in her evil stepmother’s power forever. This is a cute, middle-grade retelling of Cinderella with a lot of original material.
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13 Comments (+add yours?)

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  2. Killian
    May 09, 2015 @ 05:30:00

    I’ve seen this floating around the blogosphere but I’ve never really had a huge compulsion to read it. I also have a weird dislike of books told in the present tense, with the exception of Chaos Walking, because it always feels a little gimicky, like the author is trying really hard to be ‘different’. The plot of this does seem interesting enough though. I’m on a quest to find good YA books to try and seeing as fantasy is one of my favourite genres I might try this one out at some point. Thanks for the review!

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    • Amanda
      May 09, 2015 @ 10:28:06

      I have to be in the mood for the first person present tense. I try not to discount a story just because of it, but it’s definitely not my favorite. I’ve read plenty of YA fantasy this year I enjoyed more! The Darkest Part of the Forest might be my favorite so far.

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