Thursday, March 12, 2015

Barb's Book Review... Snow Like Ashes

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 Winter rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she's scaling towers and fighting enemy soldiers 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.

Sara Raasch's debut fantasy is a lightning-fast tale of loyalty, love, and finding one's destiny.


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First off I have to say this… OMG I EFFING LOOOOOVED THIS BOOK!!! Like a fat kid likes cake. And I can say that because I am said fat kid. (snickers) But seriously this book is totes the bomb. (blinks) Yeah, I just went there. I may be ruined now.. but in a good way. For a few reasons.

  1. I’m not a fan of Fantasy.. usually its too convoluted or so out there I can't wrap my brain around it.
  2. The men in most fantasy books are total morons. Totes wanna smack’em in the face with a brick.
  3. If there is a ‘heroine’ she is mental in ways only a badger on crack can understand.
  4. I just can't get a grip on something that has names and places in it that I can't for the life of all that is holy figure out how they are pronounced or what they are supposed to be. (With that being said I am dyslexic and I get confused easily… not the authors fault in anyway just keeps me from diving into a book that could possibly be epic. Frustrating to say the least.)

So… I digress….

As you know “Snow like Ashes” is a high fantasy. A flipping fantastic fantasy at that. Again, not something I usually read but I heard sooooo many good things about it via FB, and Twitter that I looked it up on Goodreads. Then I did something I don’t usually do… I went to Amazon to see where I could buy it. The synopsis had me drooling to read it. I love a good story, I mean who doesn’t. I was like okay, we can try this. See if its as good as we think it is. Well I got reallllly lucky when I saw it was available on audiobook. That was a life saver to start with. So I bought it right then, sight unseen so they say. I downloaded it onto my phone the moment it hit the list and from the first few words I was hooked. No lying I was like hooked.

I even messaged Sara Raasch on twitter and was like dude I love it! (laughs) As with any other high fantasy there was soooooo much going on and peoples names I couldn’t fathom how to spell and such, since I only have this one on audiobook, that means I don’t have anything to reference my thoughts to… keep that in mind. And my review would be a small book by the time I was done. (laughs) This way its much smaller… even if I ramble.

***small spoiler alert***

The Winterians’ kingdom was taken under, the locket containing the kingdoms power was broken and the members who survived the chaos were sent into slavery sixteen years ago. There was a group of 25 that managed to escape that fate, of which only eight are left. Eight survivors. Eight Soldiers. Eight beating hearts that are looking to right the wrong of their people. They have No kingdom, no monarch, a bleak life as it was. They did what they needed to do to survive in the area of the lands they live. Tents in the  fields are what keep them from the elements as they search for the missing pieces of an object said to hold their magics. If they can find the pieces they can restore the power to their kingdom. It's like searching for a needle in a hay stack.

There are 3 other season kingdoms and four rhythm kingdoms with the Ronya plains between them all. So as the last ‘free’ members of the Winter Kingdom fight tooth and nail to find the locket halves they are also contesting with the teaching and training of the two youngest members in the group. The future King Mather and Meira. A small orphan girl who Sir (William) and his wife Allison have been taking care of since the day they escaped the kingdom. Mather and meira are more than countrymen they are best friends. They play together, fight together and survive together.

Meira, God love her she is a handful to say the least. She has a driving force behind her to be a Winter soldier. The gal just wants to kick ass and take names. And finally, thanks to Mather and a little tiny white lie she gets her chance. She and another Winterian sneak into Spring (in front of everyone) and set out stalking the places they need to. They have word that half the locket is here. And she is determined to find it. To prove herself to her fellow Winterian’s. She gets that chance when her and her team mate get busted and they split up. He runs away… Meira runs inside the building she was just running from. (laughs) But by the grace of all that is snowy she manages to actually find the locket half. Kick some ass and escapes with it. Though she is a helluva lot stinkier days later when she makes it into the camp. The Spring kingdom had it hidden in the sewer and just.. (shudders) So saying she is a little chafed and in need of soap is putting it lightly.

When she gets back to camp everyone is… what's the right word.. amazed that she made it back and with the locket half. Whoever said a gal can't have her revenge and eat it too.. HA. The only bad part of this is that somehow Spring soldiers followed her back to their camp. And after taking 4 of the 5 down one escapes. So now.. they are on the move again. They break up into teams of two and goes their own directions and will meet back up. A days later that is what happens. Meira and Sir are the last two to make it to the Cordellus kingdom (Rhythm kingdom). There she meets the King of Cordellus and after he gives her the ‘eye and sends her off to clean up.. she gets a bad feeling. That feeling is later confirmed when she is washed, dolled up and wrapped in a pretty red dress. If that doesn't scream run… nothing does.

As she looks for Mather and Sir she runs into Theron, the Cordellan prince. And that is when she gets the shock of her little delicate.. life. (laughs) She is to be his wife. Problem is NO ONE TOLD THE POOR GIRL!! Talk about someone being ten shades of pissed and ready to kill. Yeah she was. When she managed to get through the ‘engagement’ announcement and through the crowds of bodies she confronted both Mather and Sir outside. Where she pounded them with rocks from the garden. And of course the Cordellan King had to jump in and say it was this or nothing. If she didn't agree to the arrangement that was made to combine the two kingdoms they’d be without any help and no way to fight Spring to get Winter back.

But after spending some one on one time with Theron she grows.. closer to him. Dare I say it. He is good to her and understands the particular position she has been put in. (no pun intended…) They become friends as she hides from her fellow Winterians. The king makes her attend etiquette classes so she is using that and any other thing she can use to avoid them. (Which may be healthier for all of them…) That is until they corner her in the library and see that she is with the prince. Mather of course is a bit green at that fact but it al goes to hell in a handbasket made of tissue when Sir tells her she is supposed to marry Theron at the end of the month, which is like 2 weeks away. Well, lets just say Lady Meira turned into bitchy Meira soldier girl and stormed off to the kings office. YES THE KINGS OFFICE. The gal has brass balls.

She finds his office empty so what does she do? She pushes her way in and locks everyone else out. (snorts) Then she starts snooping. When a locked drawer catches her attention… well lets just say its not locked long. She finds a paper, a letter the Ass of Cordellus, oh I mean King sent to the Ass of Spring. (meant it that time.) He was offering him Mather as a ‘engagement gift’. Um, yeah that little tid bit did not go over well. By the time the king broke into his office Meira was ten shade of snowed off. Then the king went to punch her. He was going to hit a GIRL. But Mather put him into the wall, hand on his throat and his son, Theron made sure he was between the king and Meira. Then that letter made its way around the Winterians and then to Mather and Theron. Everyone was disgusted but it was too late. It had been sent the day they arrived in the kingdom. Before this information is settled into their minds well enough.. a guard runs in and says Spring soldiers are headed their way. So its every man or woman to their stations.

Of course Meira is told to stay inside the castle with Sir’s wife Allison… does that mean she stays in.. erm no. Theron helps her get away from Allison and gets her padded down, armor on and battle ready. When they are walking to the tower and Mather catches up he makes her put a helmet on and stay close to him. But after a good talk with the king the Winterians leave. She can;t just follow or Sir would bust her ass. So she stays silent and hidden in her armor. But she can't hide from him when the battle starts. And they fall together. Sir dying in her arms as she yells at him to stay. But before Mather can get her back inside the walls… she is taken by Spring soldiers.

Spring is a beautiful place run by darkness and Meira is now subjected to weeks of grueling hard labor in the hopes that she will crack and give the king of Spring what he wants. But she can’t give something she doesn't know she has, now can she. As she bonds with the slaves in the work camp her self assurance grows. And just when she thinks she is going to break, she fights harder.. but her resolve turns to anger when Theron is brought into the chambers she is in with the king. Theron had come to save her only to be captured and now tortured as well. The kings top man, well he is a real sweet man, if he were a rabid dog that is. He threatens them both and is finally given permission to play with her. (makes a face) But the ruggy bastard gets what’s coming to him when Meira kills him. (snorts)

Chick 1.. dick.. none.

Then an all out war starts when Spring is attacked not only by Cordellan soldiers, the rest of the Winterians but also the soldiers of Autumn. Its a united front to get Prince Theron and Meira back. There was no choice. And it was an epic battle. One that made it clear just how strong Meira was. That she could help take care of her people, and make it better. They could take back what was once taken from them. And rejoice in the knowledge that for now, as a people they were safe…

So yeah… as I said its an EPIC story. So go read it. And for all of you out there that need to know the emotional roller coaster of feels its a little like this…

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And that ladies and gents… is all (face plants) Not sure how I will survive until October.. but I see me listening to this audiobook again.. soon.

Until next time, keep the pages turnin’.

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