“Snow Like Ashes” by Sara Raasch

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Isn’t it beautiful? I wish my copy was this light.

I’ve wanted to read this book ever since I saw the cover of it in a booktube video. Is that a bad reason for wanting to read a book? I used to think so but I don’t anymore. I love the cover’s design, though I think it looks better on the computer than in my hands. On the computer, it looks lighter and brighter but in my hands it’s a little dark. After reading the story, I appreciated the design a little more because it includes a chakram, which the protagonist is known for, as well as elements of the story’s distinctive world.

Quick summary:

I usually summarize the story myself in this section. Often it’s a shoddy job. This time I decided to use the summary on Goodreads. Most times the summaries provided on Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, and other book-buying websites don’t give a good summary and you’re left still wondering what the story is about but this one does a good job.

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.

My thoughts:

I didn’t mention this above but Snow Like Ashes is a young-adult, fantasy novel. Since I discovered it at the same time as Throne of Glass, I often compared the two, especially the protagonists, while reading. By the end, I decided that Snow Like Ashes was the better one of two though they both have faults and I gave them the same rating on Goodreads.

Snow Like Ashes has a slow build up. It took a while for me to become engrossed in it to the point where I could hardly put it down. Since I read this in busy June, I read much of the story in spurts and though I wanted to stick my nose in it and not look up until I’m done, I was interrupted so frequently that I became impatient with its pace. Actually, I’m not sure if the plot is slow or just moderate. It does speed up in a few spots but that only occurred when I had time to read uninterrupted. I think the numerous interruptions loosened the story’s hold on me. :(

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

[Totally off topic but suppose there was an evil book that people couldn’t stop reading? Once you open the book, a spell is casted and you can’t look away, no matter what. And all the stories are about you living out your worst nightmares. Hahahahahaaaa…. (had to do an evil laugh there.) The only way to escape the spell is to be constantly interrupted while reading but you find it hard to look away from your own doom. Lol, that just popped into my head. I had to share.]

— Back to the story — Because of that, I noticed that Raasch holds out too long in some spots before getting to the point, or to the action. This was a tad annoying because then the story seemed predictable since I could tell what’s to come before the narrator got to it. I mean, the whole mystery surrounding Meira, the protagonist, is predictable but I expected that so I wasn’t bothered by it but I don’t like to be ahead of the narrator though I like knowing what happens before it happens (totally confusing trait of mine but I prefer to actively spoil myself by reading the ending before I get to it rather than easily figuring out the plot).

Since I mentioned Meira, let me jump to her. She’s gutsy, smart, brave, and immature. Because of her immaturity, she is sometimes annoying. There are moments when she throws tantrums or totally disregards the rules but as annoying as I found this — especially the tantrums — I agree with all she did. If she hadn’t grabbed the opportunity to do what she wanted or seized the chance to prove her point, the Winterians wouldn’t have made much progress. I like that as the story progresses and she learns more about herself, who she wants to be and who she is, she becomes more mature. Yea, that’s expected but that doesn’t happen in all stories (I’m thinking of Talon here). I just hope that the next installment in this series picks up at the level of maturity that Meira is at in end of this one.

What I admired about Meira is that she doesn’t want anyone to dictate her life and she tries to direct it herself, even when it seems an impossible thing to do. She’s not a favorite character of mine but I like her and I like how she progresses through the story. Compared to Celaena from Throne of Glass (I can’t help comparing them for reasons stated above), I find Meira the more believable of the two. They have similar experiences (and their authors have similar names) but while reading Throne of Glass, I often found it impossible to believe that Celaena is a dangerous assassin or that she really suffered as a slave in the mines. Apart from her mentioning the mines sometimes and a few bad dreams, it’s hardly mentioned. But with Meira we see her struggle and we believe her when she says she sympathizes with the Winterians suffering in Spring and want to help them escape. Her mind is always on the Winterians so it’s easy to believe that she cares for them and want to help. Celaena only thought of the people back in the mines a couple times.

Also like Throne of Glass, there is a love triangle. I think love triangles should be retired from all stories for a decade but it worked well in this one, meaning I wasn’t annoyed by it. I like that one of the love interests resulted from a situation beyond Meira’s control and that by the story’s end it seems definite where Meira’s interest lies. Both suitors are appealing but I wonder if one of them will become evil. I don’t know why I thought and keep thinking that but the idea is stuck in my head that one of them will become evil.

As for the writing style, it’s more than moderately detailed…does that make sense? When I think about the writing style, I compare it Talon, which was sparse on the details. I discovered Talon around the same time that I heard about Snow Like Ashes and Throne of Glass, and Snow Like Ashes is more detailed than both books. I like the details. I like detailed books; but because I was interrupted so frequently while reading this book, I thought the details bogged down the story and I got annoyed by it. I’m pretty sure the details are okay. I’ll probably attempt to reread this uninterrupted when I get the next book in the series.

Overall: ★★★☆☆

It’s an entertaining read but not as great as I thought, and hoped, it would be. The world (totally forgot to mention this above and don’t feel like going back up there) is interesting and different and one of the reasons why I want to continue with the series. The land is called Primoria and there are countries divided by the seasons they’re known for (so it’s always winter in Winter so I wouldn’t want to live there), while there are others that fluctuate through the four seasons but are known for different talents, like the arts.

I liked the idea of countries with just one season so much that I was willing to continue reading just for that but I’ll continue with the story because I am curious about what will happen next. Will the bad guy be caught? I know he will but I want to go along for the ride. What is Meira like as a leader and how will she provide for her people without exploiting her land? Will one of the suitors become evil? Will magic return?

Ice Like Fire (book 2) —>

Quotes from the book:

“Sometimes placing our belief in something bigger than ourselves helps us get to a point where we can be enough on our own.”

Comics2 Collage

Comics Roundup #2: a crazy-ass ghost and an amulet

After my last comics roundup, I bought two more. I intend to explore as many as I financially can. I bought Vera Brosgol’s Anna’s Ghost when I saw it on Book Outlet. It’s mentioned in many Booktube videos and I thought I should give it a try because I liked the cover. And since I was curious about Kazu Kibuishi’s comic series, I bought Amulet: The Stonekeeper to give his stuff a try. Again — Book Outlet prices aside — comic books are friggin expensive though these are just two.

Anya's Ghost

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Quick summary:

This is a young-adult, paranormal comic about a girl who’s haunted by a ghost. Anya and her family are Russian immigrants, something that Anya is self-conscious about along with her body. She attends a private school but often skips classes to smoke with her friend. One day, while walking through the park she falls down a well, where she meets the ghost of girl who was supposedly murdered about ninety years ago. The ghost becomes Anya’s friend but isn’t as friendly as she seems.

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Exploring My Bookshelves: Stacks of My Favorite Nonfiction Books

“Exploring My Bookshelves” is a weekly meme created by Victoria at Addlepates and Book Nerds. Since Victoria is on vacation, I’m following along with Shannon at For the Love of Words since she has created her own topics.

How it works:
  1. Take a “shelfie” (a picture of your bookshelf). Preferably literal, but e-shelves work too.
  2. Write something on the day’s prompt.
  3. Give the blurb and the cover of the book (and what you thought of it if you’ve read it).
  4. Link back to Victoria’s post.

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weekend reads

Weekend Reads #13: For the love of blogging

Weekend Reads is a Goodreads group created by Nici, a booktuber over at LitPixie. Basically book lovers can record a video or write a blog post about what they plan to read on the weekend, and also answer a fun question.

The question for this weekend:

What is your favorite thing about blogging/ booktubing?

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Top Five Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday #7: Used and Abused But I Like Them

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by GingerReadsLainey. For more information on this meme, visit the Goodreads group. This week’s topic:

Favorite character tropes

The chosen one

— Of the many, many fantasy novels, I like how this plays out in the Wheel of Time series. Well, in the first three books of the Wheel of Time series. We, the series and I, do not always get along well.

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Top Ten Tuesday #8: Fellow Book Nerds

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic:

Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds (love reading, are writers, work at a bookstore, etc.)

I've always liked this cover best.

Game of Thrones

Tyrion from The Song of Ice & Fire series by George R.R. Martin

— an obvious choice. He’s one of my favorite literary book nerds.

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“The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth

Some people liked the illustrations but I didn’t. :(

Totally wacky but adorable read. The Phantom Tollbooth took me on a wild ride that I, unfortunately, could not appreciate at the time I read it.

A quick summary:

The Phantom Tollbooth is a middle-grade novel about a boy named Milo who is bored by his everyday life. Nothing appeals to him or surprises him. One day he comes home to find a phantom tollbooth in his room with instructions for getting to the Lands Beyond, a perfect place for Milo to pass the time. He sets off and meets strange people and creatures — a dog with a clock for a body, a boy who grows down instead of up and whose feet doesn’t touch the ground until he’s an adult — and visits even stranger lands — the Doldrums that makes people there listless; the kingdom Dictionopolis, where one can buy words and letters on market day; the island called Conclusions, where people appear on if they’ve jumped to a conclusion.

“This is Dictionopolis, a happy kingdom, advantageously located in the Foothills of Confusion and caressed by the gentle breezes from the Sea of Knowledge.”

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