Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Release: 14th October 2014
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: Received for review via Edelweiss
"Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. The Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been searching for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild their kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of half of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics, and to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own."
In Sara Raasch’s YA fantasy world the kingdoms are split into seasons each with a royal bloodline where either male or female heirs can harness a unique kind of magic that affects only their people and acts as an amplifier to increase things like loyalty, health and business across their kingdom. The kingdom of Winter has been overthrown by the King of Spring and with their magic lost so is all hope.
Snow Like Ashes follows Meira one of the last Winterians who is trying to find where she belongs in the world with no place to call home. She’s a warrior and wants nothing more than to fight for what’s left of her kingdom but Winter’s general has other plans for her and how she can best help restore Winter’s former glory. Meira constantly struggles with what she wants versus what would best help repair her land. Snow Like Ashes is a strong coming of age story about sacrifice for the greater good, community and finding both where and to who you belong in the world, taking place in a unique fantasy setting that sweeps you away into enticing adventure.
One of the many things I loved about this book was how it read like a complete story. I believe it’s the first in a new series but what starts in Snow Like Ashes ends in Snow Like Ashes. It read like a standalone which was so refreshing compared to those long drawn out plots that span over an entire series. There’s only a hint as to what could happen in the next book and I’m so excited to see where Sara Raasch takes us next.
Snow Like Ashes gave me everything I could want in a fantasy read with a strong cast of characters, unique and widely explored world building and shocking twists and turns. For me it is the best fantasy debut of the year and I’m hoping it gets a UK publishing deal because I want as many people as possible to have the opportunity to read this book! Snow Like Ashes is the one for YA fantasy fans.