Firstly, a big Thank You to HarperCollins Children and Edelweiss for this review ARC.
In this compelling novel, where The Selection meets Game of Thrones, debut author Sara Raasch has devised the ultimate attention-grabbing story of kingdoms so vast and warriors so fierce. But what’s above it all is the sheer brilliance with which, she manages to send every chapter sky-rocketing into levels of excitement, mind-boggle and absolute fantasy.
Meira was only an orphan when Sir William and his wife Alysson fled Kingdom Winter with her. Ruler of Kingdom Spring, Angra has taken over Winter, enslaving the remaining Winterians and spreading havoc everywhere. Sixteen years after, only eight Winterians who escaped live free, moving from place to place in order to avoid being caught. And amongst them is Mather, heir to the Winterian throne. Meira has had a crush on him for as long as she can remember but its always been grilled into her that Mather is born to be a king and so is meant to be with someone of greater stature. Any hope for their future dissipates when Sir and Mather sign an agreement with ruler Noam of Kingdom Spring to seek an alliance against Angra. A contract that thrusts Miera into the world of politics and sacrifice for one’s own kingdom.
Apart from Sir’s appreciation and Mather’s love, the one other thing Meira strives for is a sense of belonging to Winter. Her affection and inclination to Winter are spun from stories narrated by others and since the fall of Winter, she only longs to fight for her kingdom, for her people to lead a good life. Such a chance presents itself in surprising rapidity. But will Meira be able to decipher her role in this war before Angra’s wrath slams down on the rest of the Winterians?
In the beginning I found this book to be too overwhelming. There was so much of information to absorb, it got tedious at a point but I’m glad I continued reading. There’s the ever present element of magic in the story wherein each kingdom derives its magic from its Conduit. And each of the eight kingdom – four Rhythm and four Season – have their own objects of power (magic) which of the Winterians was destroyed by Angra. Meira (sounds like my name, doesn’t it?) is one of the best protagonist characters I have read this year. She is fierce, determined and very very mature. She does admit to being selfish in the book but I don’t think so. The way fate and others around her, play matters of serious importance, has a detrimental impact on her.
I understand why Sir was strict and guarded with her but I wish he had been more loving and affectionate. She totally deserved someone who is more than a guide and like a friend. That brings us to Mather who is kind yet challenges Meira, trying to motivate her into doing her best. He sort of shapes her personality to what she becomes towards the end. And hence is integral to the novel. Sara Raasch writes in such an incredible manner that I’ve instantly grown fond of her writing and am looking forward to her future books. There’s a lot more going on in this novel than can be summed up in a brief review. Its a wonderful journey that each of you should take up on your own. You will not be disappointed. Its a guarantee! And also it deserves a lot more than just 5/5 stars. So three cheers to Sara Raasch and Snow Like Ashes. Hurray!
Ratings – 5 stars on 5.