Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.
Another fantastic YA fantasy to add to the list! I found Snow Like Ashes to be very similar to Graceling by Kristin Cashore, but in a good way (how could this be a bad thing?).
Series: Snow Like Ashes Trilogy, Book 1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: Audiobook, narrated by Kate Rudd
Rating: 4.5 stars
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.
Another fantastic YA fantasy to add to the list!
I found Snow Like Ashes to be very similar to Graceling by Kristin Cashore, but in a good way (how could this be a bad thing?). It takes place in a very unique fantasy world where each country is based off a season that dominates their climate. There are many “rules” of the specific type of magic featured in this book (similar to the “rules” of the Graced) that were quite confusing at points, but apparently aren’t even fully understood by their own people! Snow Like Ashes is packed full of great characters, starring Meira, a perfect fierce warrior heroine to join the ranks of Katsa (Kristin Cashore), Alanna (Tamora Pierce), and Elisa (Rae Carson).
However, Meira is not completely flawless — a good thing for a person and a realistic character of course, but maybe not so much in this case. I found her to be too hesitant and conflicted for me to take her seriously throughout the entire book. She was always debating and coming to different conclusions about whether her duty to Winter and her yearning to be appreciated by her home country was important enough for certain personal sacrifices. I’d have appreciated a little less back-and-forth, but also realize that we humans do this often enough on our own!
One very nit-picky criticism of this book I have is that the word “stoic” was very overused. I understand that the characters are suffering through many ordeals with a brave face, but thesauruses exist for a reason!
In the area of romance, Snow Like Ashes features a love triangle. I had no clue which of the two guys she’d pick, since she seemed to go back and forth herself (another sense of that indecisiveness)! I loved them both and honestly had no preference for most of the book. There is (of course) the loyal friend she’s grown up with, who is now turing into more than a friend but inaccessible because of difference in status, and there is the boy she (spoiler) becomes engaged to, who at first she is averse to (just because she just doesn’t like the idea of a forced marriage), but he is very sweet and considerate and seems to care for her a lot. Who does she choose??? And for those who read the book already, did you choose a “side”?
I absolutely cannot wait until October 13th, 2015, when book 2, Ice Like Fire, will be published!
(This book counts for the School YA Bingo Challenge in the category of “A Book With a Female Heroine.”)