Snow Like Ashes, by Sara Raasch
Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Someday we will be more than words in the dark.
Where do I even begin?
I picked up this book thinking it wouldn’t be special. I figured it would just be another fish in a school of the YA high-fantasy craze, which despite myself, I can’t resist. I didn’t think I would like it that much.
I have never been more wrong. Never.
I fell for this book, and I fell for it hard. Oh my god. There is nothing that I dislike about it, not even the love triangle. Raasch wrote a book that entertained me from the first word to the last.
The blurb makes the world sound complicated – It’s not. At least, not the way it’s explained in the book. There are four Season kingdoms and four Rhythm kingdoms, the difference between the two being that Seasons have only one season and Rhythms have all four. There is a source of magic that lies beneath the earth, and the Kings and Queens can draw from it with their Conduits – objects that contain magic – to help their kingdom prosper.
Winter was enslaved to Spring sixteen years ago. Meira and seven other Winterians are the only ones of their kind that, though hunted, are free. The rest are in slave camps around the Spring kingdom. Meira sets off on a quest to restore Winter’s Conduit and free her people, but she realizes that though she wants to save her kingdom in her own way, none of this battle has anything to do with what she wants. What she wants doesn’t matter; she has to do what’s best for Winter, even if it means not fighting on the frontlines.
I love Meira. I love her so, so much. She is likeable, she is strong, and she is also weak. She can fight long-distance, but has trouble in close combat, so she is not the strongest soldier on the field – and I loved that. Her mentality goes back and forth from high peaks of optimism to lows full of doubt, fear, and defeat. Her emotions are very raw and open. When Angra tortures her, she’s not gritting her teeth and sucking it up; she’s screaming, because broken ribs hurt like a motherfucker.
I didn’t just fall in love with this book. I fell in love with her, too.
The chakram soars through the sewer, slices clean through the captain’s leg, and continues its spin back to me in one elegant circle of purpose. He screams and drops into the sewage, grabbing his thigh like, well, like I just sliced through it.
“Oh.” I run one hand down the flat side of the blade. “That’s how it works.”
And the love triangle? Honestly, don’t worry about it. Mather and Theron are two totally awesome guys, so wonderful that it’s hard to pick a side. (I did though – Theron. Oh, that man.) Meira swoons for both of them, but never enough that it becomes a problem. In fact, she’s in love with Mather, her best friend and future King, but she puts off his advances because she knows that there isn’t a way for them to be together; it wouldn’t be what’s best for Winter.
The writing is gorgeous. It is the best I have read in a long, long time.
Cold. Everything is cold. The world is ice, coated in thick, solid wonder, nothing but gleaming surfaces and clouds of frozen breath. I’m locked in it, a part of it, my limbs hardening into the jagged branches of an ice-covered tree, stuck in a suspended state of hibernation while the world freezes around me. My bones shift with a grinding sensation, moving against the ice, shattering it as my body heaves forward, fingers curled in claws, mouth opening in a bloody screech as I dive through the shadow at Angra’s face.
Action, badassery, even some humor await. And god, I want to marry this book. I want to sleep next to it in bed. I JUST WANT MORE.
This is the best book I’ve read in 2016.