SNOW LIKE ASHES, by Sara Raasch, Balzer & Bray/HarperCollinsPublisher


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, 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.

Out October 2014

blast past header large print


I found this and the second book at a local Thrift Shop and picked them up to read and review.

The premise is what caught my attention, right next to the amazing book covers. Very, nice!

For this review, I’ll be discussing my thoughts about the first book only.

A fantasy story told from the MC’s perspective is difficult to write and tell.  When told by the MC, the point of view is restricted to only his/hers. You see things as seen through the MC’s eyes and this gives a very bias viewpoint to the story. I think this novel would have benefited being written in third person. In doing so, I would have connected more with the characters, gotten glimpses into their character and what drives them. As it stands, this does not happen.  The secondary characters serve a small glimmer of a point and then disappear. They don’t provide a driving force for the Protagonist to realize her goals, which is something secondary characters are meant for. Although the MC is part of a ‘small group,’ you really don’t get to know them all.

This also stunts the MC’s growth and she falls flat a few times.   This also affects the plot motivation, pacing and development of arcs.

What saves the day, is the premise and story-line, not to mention the writing itself, which is extremely good. The concept kept me riveted to the pages. I devoured each one wanting to know what was going to happen next. A few times, this pace slowed with backstory, which was awkward and often times unimportant to the plot.

The world-building was brilliant! The concept of equality between men and women, inspired, and the magic system unique and enjoyable.

It amazed me how slow the beginning was.  In fantasy writing, because of the genre itself, you have so much possibility looming in front of you as the author to hit the reader right between the eyes with a whammy of a hook, grabbing their attention and then lacing that attention with exciting writing to keep them invested in the story. Reading how many found the beginning boring… this should have been edited.

In fantasy writing, backstory is extremely important because of the complexity of world-building and the often used magic systems unfamiliar to us boring humans. The trick is to find a way of introducing backstory without it becoming information dumps.  Dumping chunks of information on the reader pulls them out of the world they’ve been drawn into, makes them lose their place in the pacing and plot-line. Then, they have to re-instate themselves back into the story and many times, this is hard to do. The risk is having them put the book down for good.

I thought the main character in most part was interesting and refreshing. Her character traits were without the usual gorgeous beyond belief traits, and everyone couldn’t get enough of her blow… She was three-dimensional and realistic.  Even during the love triangle, she was kept realistic… yes, there’s a trope, but it is done well and not harmful to the overall story.

In the end, I enjoyed reading this book, the main character and the world created by the author.  Although enjoyable, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was spectacular! It was a good, solid read, despite it faults and worthy of a purchase.

I gave this book:




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