Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch | Book Review

Snow Like AshesSnow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

4.5 Stars= Amazing

Publication Date: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre(s): Fantasy, Young-Adult
Series Status: Snow Like Ashes #1
Page Count: 416
Source & Format: Bought, Hardcover

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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, and serving her kingdom 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.

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Ahem. Before we start can I please just stare at this book’s cover? Seriously, I love it so much. 😛

Hello everyone! Today I have for you a review on a book I recently re-read; Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. I first read this book way back at the beginning of 2015, and with the release of the second book, I decided to re-read this book—and I don’t regret it one bit.

Reading Snow Like Ashes the first time was a magical experience, one that I loved and fell in love with, and re-reading it didn’t diminish that at all, if anything, just reminded me how awesome this book is. Seriously, I haven’t talked about this book enough on my blog, and I’m here to remedy that right now by giving you a feel-filled review on it! Be warned that may be a lot of rambling and fangirling. Of course, you’re all used to that by now, right?

Let’s get on with it!

Plot

Oktuber was a maze of rickety barns and tents in maroon, azure, and sunshine orange, with the crystalline blue sky gleaming above, a sharp and beautiful contrast to the kingdom’s earth tones. But it was the Autumnians themselves who left me gaping—they were beautiful.

Ahhhh the plot! Where do I even start? Well, the basics of course; I really loved the plot. I’m deducting half a star because the story did have a couple iffy not-so-stellar parts, and had several bouts of info-dumping which kind of left me confused for a while, but overall it was so well-written, I hardly could stop reading—and I already knew what was going to happen!

I also have to mention the plot twists were spot-on, I remember the first time I read this book I was able to guess at a few, but there were some that completely blew me away. I was so invested in the story! Sara Raasch has a beautiful mix of romance, action and the whole theme of self-discovery thing going on, and it made for a wonderful adventure.

As a side note, may I just say that the world-building was on point? Snow Like Ashes is set in a world centered around the four seasons. Already I’m like, how cool is that? It’s not often I see something like this, and Sara Raasch handled it with style. Although sometimes I was a bit lost with the various bouts of info-dumping at the start as I mentioned above, I caught on pretty quickly as the story went on and I fell in love with this world! Magic, kingdoms, seasons; what more could you ask for?

Characters

This is where the fangirling really comes in, guys. Not only can the main character, Meira, completely kick-butt, there were so many other characters who interested me and brought out all the emotions.

“I wanted a life of my own, a life where I could feel myself being a part of Winter. And that, to me, came though fighting for it.”

You go, girl! Meira, as I said, can completely kick-butt. Not only that, she is simply so awesome. I empathized so much with her heartbreaking tale of wanting to be herself and have a place in Winter’s kingdom, to make an impact. I understood her struggle of fighting to get Sir’s approval, needing it yet not wanting to need it. I admired her perseverance in the face of challenges and the weight of others. She reminded me so much of Celaena from Throne of Glass… yet not. They’re both really similar but still both different. Of course, I love them both!

“No matter what happens, no matter who turns on me, no matter what pompous swine thinks he has power over me, I am still me. I will always be me.”

Although there is also romance in the novel, Meira’s goals came first. Her fight to stay true to herself is was what took dominance, and that was wonderfully portrayed. Fear not, of course, there is definitely romance, but I loved how it didn’t take up the whole thing.

Moving on to Mather, another one of our characters and one of Meira’s love interests. Yes, one of. There is a love triangle in this book, one that I will happily say I didn’t mind. Mather was a really interesting character, and I really liked Mather’s and Meira’s relationship. Kind of a forbidden love thing theme going on, except the love is not openly acknowledged. However, there is a certain someone I’m kind of leaning towards as well…

Theron is the name of our second love interest! It’s not insta-love, and it’s not even full-out love between him and Meira, but there are definitely sparks and I really love his character!! *Swoon* He understands Meira so well (not that Mather doesn’t, but you know what I mean) and his ambitions and dreams really made him into someone I love. Currently I’m loving both him and Mather so much; I just can’t wait to see more of them in the next book.

Last, but not least, a little insight on the other characters; Sara Raasch sure knows how to have your emotions in a twist! My thoughts on Sir must’ve changed a thousand times, from angry, to confused, to frustrated to understanding, and that’s without counting the other characters! There was a variety of people we meet throughout the course of this book, who make reading this book a thrilling experience.

Writing Style

“One flake falls, twisting down through the empty sky. One frozen speck of snow. Then another, and another, and before I know it the roads will be covered in dozens of distinct flakes. All these little pieces combining to create one giant, volatile snowstorm, something beautiful and dangerous and epic.”

The writing was simply fantabulous! It allowed the readers to create vivid and clear images in our heads of this world we’re in, and I simply fell in love. Reading it for the second time only re-introduced me to this beautiful writing! Even through the info-dumping I mentioned above, the writing made it so it wasn’t too confusing, even if a few things flew over my head. Also, there was no cliffhanger in this book, which in itself is pretty rare these days. (Not that I begrudge authors using cliffhangers—you have to admit, they’re pretty handy!) The ending was written perfectly, wrapped up enough to have me satisfied, but not too much so that I’m no longer interested in continuing the story. (And let’s be real here, given how much I loved this book, even if the ending was terrible, I would definitely not abandon this series!)

Overall…

Go read this. Now. Especially if you like fantasy! Or Sarah J. Maas‘s books! Or anything magical and amazing! I can almost 100% assure you that you will love this book. There are themes of being true to yourself and persevering in times of difficulty. There is a world full of magic and beautiful descriptions. There are characters you will fall in love with. All in all, a must-read! I can’t stress enough how much you should go pick this up. 🙂

A little wrap-up of everything I’ve said:

  • the story is addicting
  • the world-building is amazing
  • Meira is a wonderful character with spunk and personality
  • Mather and Theron are both great love interests and characters
  • the writing was engaging and full of beautiful descriptions

So, the final question. Do I recommend this? That’s a big YES from me!!


Discussion time! What do you think of this novel? Have you read it? Do you want to read it? What expectations do you have for it? Let me know in the comments below!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

(Throne of Glass #1)

Published: August 2nd 2012

Synopsis:

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly.
Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?


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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Genre(s): Fantasy, Young-Adult

Page Count: 404

Format: Paperback


Hello! Today I have for you a review on Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, the first book in the epic fantasy series of the same name. Since Queen of Shadows (SO EXCITED), the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, is being released very soon (September 1st, to be precise) and I plan to read it as soon as I receive it (I pre-ordered it), me being me, I decided I had to review the previous three books. So here I am, with a review on the first book, from where the adventure all started!

I’m usually terrible at reviewing a book in a series when I’ve already read its accompanying sequels (and it was a while back too) but I’ll be giving it my best shot! To write a more accurate review, I’m going to be [attempting] writing the review from the viewpoint of when I first read it, without the knowledge of the events in the second and third book. Let’s get on with it!

Plot

I love this story so much! Everything about it had me addicted. However, one thing that might irk some readers is the fact that it isn’t constantly in action. There is action, though, if you’re patient enough to stick with the story. From the very first page we’re thrown right into the story, and from there the plot and storyline builds up everything rather slowly (but artfully) to its end point where all hell breaks loose. I found myself enraptured with the whole story, even if we were at some point where it wasn’t exactly an active scene. (And there was magic included! Magic! I absolutely love when there is magic involved in a story, there are so many open gates for the author, and the reader, to explore which allows for quite the enticing story.) There was just enough going on (despite the lack of constant action) in the book, what with the incredible world-building, the romance, the mystery, the magic, and it all flowed together seamlessly. It was truly magical!

Characters

“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”

I loved Celaena. She is everything I love in a strong female protagonist and more! She is by no means perfect, but her personality (a mix of fierce, arrogant and feminine) is perfect for her occupation and is quite endearing, if I’m to be honest. Her wit and sarcastic nature led to amusing interactions with other characters, which I truly enjoyed quite a bit! But what I love about her the most is the fact that she’s an amazing representation of a strong, female lead. How? Well. I know lots of readers think negatively of the fact that Celaena comments positively on her own looks, and think that makes her arrogant and selfish. But while Celaena may be arrogant (she says so herself if I’m not mistaken), is being confident in her looks a bad thing? There are so many female leads out there who are insecure about how they look, and I loved how Celaena wasn’t like that.

In short, Celaena Sardothien was blessed with a handful of attractive features that compensated for the majority of average ones; and, by early adolescence, she’d discovered that with the help of cosmetics, these average features could easily match the extraordinary assets.

Also, did I mention she loved books? Yep, along with being one of Erilea’s most feared assassins, she’s an avid reader.

“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

Despite being who she was (a self-confident and kick-butt assassin) she was so relatable and girly, even. Which is, of course, another thing that puts her apart from other characters. She proves that you can be feminine and still be a badass, and be a badass and still be feminine. Amazing, really, when you think about how few books there are with characters like that.

Next we have Prince Dorian Havilliard, who wasn’t completely what I expected. He was a typical character in that his princely roles, obligations and duties were familiar (needed to marry, obey his father, etc. etc.) but I did not expect to like him as much as I did. He wasn’t a stuck-up and arrogant snob (well, not too arrogant, at least) like some royals I can name (*Cough* Eadlyn *cough*), but instead a caring and thoughtful person. He is quite charming and his and Celaena’s interactions were quite cute and fun to read. However there is a teensy little problem…

…Which comes in the name and form of Chaol Westfall, Captain of the Guard. He is amazing. I loved him, really. He’s all scowling and gloomy, but really, he has a heart of gold. So why wouldn’t I love him? (I’m almost not even joking, he’s simply to die for.) His interactions with Celaena are more different than the ones she had with Dorian, but no less entertaining and cute to read about. Their relationship is more subtle, and really, more stronger in my opinion! Though do not let my judgement influence you. 😉 Overall, Chaol is still a total cutie pie!

Writing Style

“Sometimes, the wicked will tell us things just to confuse us–to haunt our thoughts long after we’ve faced them.”

I refuse to believe this is the debut of Sarah J. Maas. Nope. The writing in this novel was absolutely fantastic. First off, I loved how the world was written; we aren’t given, like, heaps and mounts of information on this world we’re in, but we’re able (or at least *I* was able) to imagine the world we’re in, understand its history and what it’s like. And I loved that, because often in books of the fantasy genre, it’s hard to fully get a grip on the world we’re in, but for Throne of Glass, it was like second skin. Another thing I loved about the writing was that it was seemed so poetic and flowed so nicely with the tone and mood of the book. It was effortless, reading this book, and I enjoyed reading it so much because it was written so nicely!

Book Trailer

Overall…

This is a book you should not, under any circumstances, pass on, because it is truly wonderful. The plot is crafted so well that although it isn’t jam-packed with action (trust me, there’s plenty of that in the next book) it’s compelling and incredibly hard to resist. For me, anyway. It might take some time to get into it for some, but it’s definitely worth your time! I absolutely loved the characters, especially Celaena and the love interests, because they were created marvelously! Celaena is a fantastic representation of feminine badass assassin, and we definitely need more female leads who are confident and not insecure of who they are. She may be seen as arrogant, but that so-called arrogance gives her the ability to acknowledge her strenghts, something that countless other characters undermine. This was simply so refreshing! There is a love triangle, but it is more subtle and doesn’t take over the whole plot, and instead provides some excitement and emotional attachment from the reader. The writing is poetic and perfectly fits the story. Really, must I go on? I say not, because bottom line is: this book is fantastic. And I must say, if you do not at least give a chance to this book/series, I shall be quite offended and will unfriend you. 😛 Just kidding. But still. I command you to read it!!

Have you read this book? If you have, I shall be quite sad if you don’t join in on my fangirling!! (Especially with Queen of Shadows being released very soon!) And even if you haven’t, I will be equally sad if you don’t leave a taste of your thoughts on whether you will read the book or not. 😉 Bottom line: talk to me! I’d love to hear from you. ❤

Now, I’m off to bed! I think I’m kind of sleep-deprived right now… Enjoy your day/night, bookworms! Just remember, this book must be gobbled up asap. 😀

Analee 10