Saturday, January 10, 2015

Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Narrator(s): Kate Rudd
Series: Snow Like Ashes, book #1
Length: 10 hrs 56 mins
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Source: ARC from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to 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.

I read this one prior to its release last year, thanks to the publisher, but I was also offered an audiobook version for review, which I'm obviously just getting to. And in such a short amount of time, I'd already forgotten just how much I enjoyed this story.

The audio narration is great, too, with the narrator going above and beyond to bring the story to life. For example, at one point, the MC has locked herself inside a room and her companions are on the other side of the door, and the narrator covers her mouth to make their dialogue sound muffled. Also, she doesn't do that thing that some female narrators do to make their voices sound deeper, which totally annoys me.

Kate Rudd is a fabulous narrator. She performed the audiobook for The Fault in Our Stars and has many, many more audiobooks under her belt. I kind of love her and hope to experience more of her narration in the future.

As I said I reviewed this one last year, so I'm just going to add my original review of the story below, in addition to my thoughts on the audiobook above:

I am always, always on the lookout for a new fantasy series to flail over. So when early buzz started heating up over Snow Like Ashes, I told myself, "Jen...Jen...let's not get ourselves worked up over the book yet. Let's wait and see what some of our friends think before we go getting burned again." And I did. I waited. And I waited...not so patiently, I might add...until I could wait no longer and had to dive in. And I must say, those early reviews were spot-on. This book was fan-freaking-tastic. I couldn't put it down. I couldn't stop thinking about it when my family forced me to put it down in order to pay attention to them. Hell, I still can't stop thinking about it and it's been a couple of weeks since I finished reading it.

Just imagine Xena with white hair and you've got some idea of what Meira is like.
Meira is a character to root for. She's fierce and determined and skilled with a chakram. Meira is also loyal to a fault and wants nothing more than to be a functioning member of the ragtag group that managed to survive Winter's siege some sixteen years ago. She's plenty capable and more than a little strong-willed, and I really enjoyed seeing her come into her own as the story develops.

I did find her budding romance with the Crown Prince to be inexplicable, considering they each knew that it was impossible for them to become involved, what with Mather expected to rule the kingdom once they'd secured it for their people again and Meira only being an orphaned peasant girl, but that situation worked itself out, much to my delight. However, some readers -- particularly those not fond of triangles -- may find the way in which it does get resolved to be tiresome. I did not. It's one of those situations where the relationship never fully developed -- where the characters outgrew each other -- because of everything that stood in the way, and then a much more suitable candidate swooped in to steal our girl's heart. The circumstances in which Meira finds herself in this more suitable love interest's company weren't the best, but I found that even that was perfect, as if the whole scenario was fated to happen.

Sara did a great job of tying the magical elements into this story without ever giving too much away. I'd think I had a handle on everything, had the whole mystery of that fateful night sixteen years ago figured out, and then she'd throw me for a loop again. This happened several times until I just stopped trying to guess the outcome. Basically, the author surprised me at every turn, with her inclusion of magic in the story and how it was used, with her characters, and even with the romance. And I could not stop reading for fear of what the next surprise would bring.

Snow Like Ashes reads like a stand-alone, which I loved. There's the introduction to the world, which is a bit daunting at first but it becomes easier to understand the kingdoms and their monarchies as the story progresses. Plus, there's that awesome map to help things along. (I adore maps.) There are fight scenes and intense battles that solidly pit good against evil. And there's a firm resolution to this book, meaning no heartbreaking cliffhanger to wail over at the end. Though, if you're anything like me, you'll still wail over the fact that you don't already have the second book in your hands.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Sara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then -- her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, is coming out Fall 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures. She is represented by Charlotte Sheedy Literary.

Find Sara:

Tumblr | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest | YouTube


  1. I was sent an ARC copy of this but never got around to it so maybe I will give it a chance as it sounds pretty cool. :)

  2. I LOVE Sara Raasch! This book is epic and I still remember how excited I got over its release. This review was great and though I've never really been into audiobooks, I might have to try it sometime.

  3. I've never listened to an audio book before, but I do want to read this one. Thanks for sharing.
    Danica Page @Taking It One Page at a Time

  4. Ohhh. I listened to TFiOS audio and thought it was pretty good. I love that it reads as a standalone. I need to read this one.

    Great review!

    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

  5. I need to read this already! Especially since you used that Xena gif. How can I resist? <3


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...