Aly in Wonderland

Snow Like Ashes

Snow Like Ashes - Sara Raasch "Someday, we will be more than words in the dark."

For a long, long time, I didn't touch YA Fantasy. Why? It got repetitive, boring, with the same special snowflakes, the same innocent, pure heroines. It got to the point where I'd be reading a book and thinking, "Take away the names and places, and this could be exactly the same as any other fantasy book out there."

All the stories were formulaic. As if it wasn't physically possible to write anything different.

Lately, I've come back to it, and I gotta admit: YA fantasy has started branching out. I'd forgotten how much I'd loved the magic and forbidden love stories, the strange creatures that lurked in the dark, the different kingdoms, the results of a beautiful imagination. Snow Like Ashes, even though it followed the "special snowflake" trop, was all of the above and more.

Meira is a Winteranian soldier, one of the twenty-five survivors that escaped the night Angra, King of Spring, invaded. Now there are only eight survivors, and the race to piecing the locket holding all of Winter's power is tighter than ever. Angra has one half, and the second half is floating. When Meira is entrusted with the mission to recover the floating half, she can't believe her luck. Finally, she can show Sir just how good she is!

Once the locket pieces are restored, Mather, the love interest and prince of Winter, can return to his rightful place on the throne and free the Winteranian's from the work camps. However, things are not quite as they seem and, as Meira and her friends embark on another journey, she's going to find out just how difficult it is to be really "free."

There is a love triangle. I don't mind. Meira is a special snowflake. I don't mind. There's, sometimes, a bit of deus ex machina at work. I don't mind. Raasch weaves a story of mystery and love, betrayal and strength, so well that it sweeps you up and carries you on. I found myself sitting down with this book in the morning and finishing it in the evening. It is that good.

I loved the idea that the seasons were kingdoms, and each kingdom's cities had month names like Abril, Jannuari, Oktuber. If it had been me, I'd never have thought of it in a million years. A clever twist. I also loved the humour in the story -- there wasn't too much to take away from the severity of the cause, but there wasn't little enough to make the story drag. Theron and Meira like to banter, and it's sweet and funny.

There's a pissing contest, where Mather and Theron both try to prove their worth, and it's not only funny, but also interesting to see Meira "pull away" from the love that cannot be and "free" herself of it. It's nice to see a heroine grow into her role, and take on bigger responsibilities, shirking the ideas of "I just wanna be me".

While there's a lot going on in the story, a lot that needs to be followed, the info-dumping doesn't happen frequently. I liked that it came in as dreams, so it was still interesting enough to hold my attention and didn't rattle off into a book of facts. I can't stand it when the narration switches to tell you the whats, whens and whys and completely takes away from the story, so I'm really happy about that.

Yes, some of it is highly predictable but there are also some twists and turns that took me completely by surprise. The fighting scenes were really well-written so I wasn't bored out of my mind and skimming, and the love is just... *sighs* I do like me some Theron.

I am going to highly recommend this to everyone I come across, and I cannot wait for the second one to come out!

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