Monday, July 24, 2017

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

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.

Rating: 1/5 Stars

"General William, Lady Meira-“
Lady. My nose curls, the title rubbing up my spine. That had better not stick-I’m not sure I want to be a lady.


Snow Like Ashes… how to explain this book? You know, I’ve wanted to read this since it first came out? It was years ago and I was a different reader back then, but for some reason I always thought this would be a book that I would love. SO I’m on winter break, I have time on my hands and say “Why don’t I try this book once and for all?” I had heard it wasn’t great, people who knew me thought this wouldn’t be a story I would enjoy but I was SO CURIOUS! Aaaand in the mood for a bit of a silly read so I thought, why not?


Oh boy… rarely does a book manage to hit every.single.motherfucking.annoying trope so badly that makes me want to reach through the pages and strangle everybody as I laugh maniacally.

I know that I complain a lot in my reviews and… well, in my everyday life too. BUT despite all the tropes and all the clichés what bothers me the most is not a love triangle, nor is it instalove (though those things do annoy me), but my greatest weakness and what will absolutely make me hate a book is stupidity.

Snow Like Ashes was special to me because it completed a perfect trifecta of:

1.Stupid main character.
2.Stupid world building.
3.Stupid writing.

You might be wondering how is this possible, and I have to admit as I was reading I wondered the same thing. Why, why would someone do this? But it’s done, and it’s time to rant about it.

Buckle the fuck up my friends. We are about to start.

The Story and World-Building:

The world (although I don’t think it’s the entire world because Meira mentioned other Kingdoms? But then never again?) is divided in eight Kingdoms: Four seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn and four Rhytms… which are not really explained.

Each Kingdom’s ruler has a Conduit, that is a trinket infused with magic from a giant ball underneath the ground that allows them and their heirs to use magic and help their Kingdom. For reasons not fully explained, the magic ball underneath the ground knows how to differentiate between gender (and makes a big deal out of it because certain Kingdom’s Conduits can be used only by female Heirs, others only by males) and the Conduits affect only the people of their own Kingdom… but it’s not explained what happens when royals marry people from other Kingdoms?

In the book, someone from a Rhytm Kingdom marries Autumn providing a heir that can use the Autumn’s conduct (a girl), but the girl’s magic will only affect the people living in Autumn? And how does the magic know who are the people who belong to that Kingdom? So nobody from any other place has come into any other Kingdom and started a family? Do you have to be born there for the magic to affect you, or do you have to be a descendant of the people living in those Kingdoms when the Conduits were made and the magic sealed??

So many questions! I can go on all day, but I’ll get back on track.

Turns out that the King of Spring is crazy and looking for world domination… because power, I guess. So sixteen years ago he attacked Winter, killed Queen Hannah, broke her conduit and slaved all of her people.

In the present day, Meira is an orphan girl (and if you have read YA before you should know that that makes her special)and one of the eight survivors of the twenty-five people who were able to escape Winter when Spring attacked. She’s in love with her best friend and King of Winter, Mather, who can’t even use his mother’s broken Conduit because he’s a boy.

The book is pretty much Meira complaining and throwing temper tantrums, realizing she’s throwing tantrums, and then doing it again when she gets bored. Oh, and there’s an unimportant love triangle and war going on.

There were so many things in the world-building that don’t make sense! First Meira says how the Winter Kingdom was made of a thousand people. Only a thousand! How can you possibly have a kingdom with only a thousand people? What about the military?? But then Meira gets documents on the number of slaves at Spring concentration camps and it’s roughly the same number so… I don’t get it.

Not to mention that as only eight refugees and none of them with magic, they really don’t have a chance.

if so, how will we defeat Spring, a kingdom steeped in magically induced strength, when all we have are eight refugees and a pretty necklace?


Seriously, the only reason they might win is because deux-ex-fucking-machina. At one point, Sir lies to Meira and sells her hand in marriage to the Prince of a Rhytm court, Cordell, under the promise that they would give her a proper title once Winter was back on its feet, and in exchange Mather would let this King have access to his lands to see if he could find the magic ball of light underneath to get more power.
BUT… it really makes no sense? I mean, they are only eight people with no army or magic, if Cordell’s King wanted access to Winter’s lands he could just walk in and do whatever he wanted. Assuming of course that Spring didn’t see him because EVUL king wanted the same magic.

The marriage plot is only an excuse so Meira stops obsessing about Mather’s beautiful face and instead starts fixating on Prince’s Theron’s corded muscles and sweaty abs.


The Characters:

HA HA HA HA *cracks knuckles* okay here we go.

Meira, Meira, Meira… oh what an annoying, spoiled, perfect snowflake you were! I have to admit it was funny seeing this girl that was clearly written by a modern woman with little understanding of feminism, trying to be spunky and dishing out “wisdom” about being her own woman free of man, when in reality she was a dumb, selfish girl that only ever accomplished something because the author forced circumstances to make it so.

It was strange, because there times when Meira realized what she was doing.

I have been so selfish, haven’t I? Selfish and narrowminded and wrong, because I wanted to matter to Winter, but in my own way. Within my own set parameters that would also fit who I wanted to be.

But then she did it again???

Right at the beginning of the story Meira is explaining how she’s training with Matter (her crush, best friend and King) and how he can easily kick her ass because she’s not very good at fighting. She complains about how she wants to do more for Winter other than staying behind camp, but understands why it is that Sir (the leader) doesn’t let her go into dangerous missions until she can at least stand her own in a fight (which she certainly can’t do). Seems reasonable, right? Until she starts saying stupid things like:

[…] and me, the perpetually intraining orphan girl (who, despite six years of sparring practice, still “isn’t good enough” to be trusted with the important assignments.)

And then she spends pages and pages moaning about how everybody takes her for granted and how she can do more… when in reality she can’t??? Bitch, you just said you were totally useless in a fight and you’re wondering why it is that grownups don’t trust you, an emotionally unstable and totally useless teenage girl, to carry on top secret missions???

This was something that kept happening. Meira would do something stupid, realize it was dumb and then DO SOMETHING MORE IDIOTIC!

For instance, when she got engaged to the Prince against her will she was clearly mad. Hell, I would have been shocked too, specially because nobody told her (and that was a really dumb decision made to shock readers. Sir could have easily told him that he was planning to get her married with the Prince because it was their only chance at saving Winter, instead she had to find it out by the Prince herself when they were courting).

Meira goes through several stages:

(I am) Just someone who gets bounced around in whatever position needs to be filled, used and used like a candle on a moonless night until I burn away into a puddle of compliance and obedience.

Bear in mind that this was pretty much the second time they had asked something of her, and the first time she begged and cried until she was given the assignment (which she fucked up until the author magically fixed it). She’s such an exaggerated dumbass.

And then:

I instantly hate myself for thinking that.
Other Winterians suffer enslavement while I’m engaged to the Crown Prince of Cordell-someone bring out the sympathy parade, poor Meira is engaged to a handsome Prince.
My life could be worse. Much worse.

So, for nearly a moment Meira is alright with the wedding. I mean sure, she’ll complain every breathing second about how she hates being a lady and all feminine stuff and blah, blah,blah.
But everything is relatively well… until she learns that the King set the date for the wedding in two weeks-time.

Meria, knowing that the wedding is the only possibility to help her people (stupid I know, because Cordell’s King could easily take the Kingdom from these eight useless people) and even though she had made her peace with it, TWO FUCKING WEEKS IS NOT GOOD FOR MEIRA Y’ALL!


Suddenly she gets FUCKING INSANE and starts screaming at everybody at how she won’t be tamed by these men who are trying to control her life as an independent capable woman, dammit! (let’s ignore the fact that she’s none of those things).

I may be trapped in this arrangement , but that does not mean I’ve become Noam’s future queen-shaped slave.


I’m so tired of Noam and Herod and Sir and Angra and all these arrogant, puppet-aster menwho hold all the strings and refuse to give them up.

So, after refusing to speak to anybody who is trying to explain what’s happening. She decides that the smartest course of action is to go SCREAMING LIKE A FUCKING MANIAC to the King’s chambers and bang on his door demanding… what? I mean, if his own son couldn’t convince him to change the date what the fuck does she expect to do? And why the fuck does it matter if they’re getting married in two weeks?? Seriously, the Prince has better marriage offers she should be happy they are getting the deal at all.But the King is an idiot, of course, and left the door open and that’s how Meira finds out that the greedy and very obviously devious King of Cordell is actually betraying them to get access to the giant ball of magic!... Exactly as everybody had predicted…

And then when Meira finds out she’s surprised because… well, she knew he had been using them but not so “ruthlessly”? Ugh God, trying to understand her way of thinking is making me stupider (and I wasn’t very smart to begin with, shit).

As for the plot twist regarding her character (view spoiler)

The love triangle and the two love interest won’t get much from me. Usually with love triangles I tend to choose the guy that comes later (if you have the girl in love with her best friend and a new guy appear I usually like the new one DON’T ASK ME WHY cuz I don’t know), but here? I honestly couldn’t choose any because it was like choosing between two pieces of cardboard. 

Do you want cardboard number 1? Or cardboard number 2? I DON’T KNOW, IT’S FUCKING CARDBOARD THERE’S NO PERSONALITY.

Meira has been in love with Mather, Winter’s heir ever since she was a child. The second Theron, Cordell’s Prince appears though? She couldn’t care less about her childhood friend and I have no interest in seeing hoe the love triangle ends.

The Writing:

I mentioned earlier that the writing in this book was stupid but… what exactly did I mean by that? I have to admit I’m not someone who pays much attention to the writing style unless it annoys me or is particularly beautiful. Here though? The writing was full of inconsistencies and odd phrases that made little sense.

A moment, Meira had her wrists tied and she was awkwardly thrown on a horse with another rider. The next scene she managed to cut her bindings but suddenly she had her own horse, and she was galloping away with the necklace (what she had tried to steal and had been captured for). Not only did the horse appeared out of nowhere, but who the heck puts the stolen item in the same horse as the thief??? Probably the same people who didn’t check to see if she had any knifes on her *sigh*


Both servants are only a few years older than me, dressed with plain but simple dresses made of cloth in Cordell’s hunter green.

Plain but simple???


Finn and I leap, dropping facefirst off the balcony and into the cool night.

If you’re on a balcony and want to safely get on the ground… you don’t throw yourself face-first as if you were diving into a f*ckingf pool??? But I guess it was a magical balcony, because first the building was two stories high, then as they were falling it was like six… so yeah… magic.

And then of course, we have all the typical clichés which I will only mention because I’m bored already:

-Orphan MC
-love Triangle
-Girl doesn’t like feminine stuff
-Girl has make up on and is suddenly beautiful as she gazes at herself in the mirror
-Mentor and father figure dying without revealing the truth
-Rape threats to the MC.
-I mean TONS of rape threats.
-Magic was INSIDE HER all along!!!!!!1!!!11
-Etc, etc.

In the end Snow Like Ashes definitely wasn’t for me. It was a bad combination of awkward writing, annoying characters and painfully predictable plot. Read at your own risk!

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