Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes, #1
Spring’s war on Winter brought about the collapse of a great kingdom, obliterating most of its people and orphaning many others. Meira, one of only a handful of survivors, has been on the run her entire life, trying to stay one step ahead of the evil King Angra. The ruthless tyrant has enslaved the last of the Winterians and is determined to end the life of the last heir to Winter’s throne, Prince Mather, who is also Meira’s best friend.
The last free remnant of Winterians has spent the last sixteen years trying to recover the two pieces of their queen’s locket, a vital heirloom tied to the power of Winter which was severed when the kingdom fell. Against all odds, Meira is able to recover one of the halves, but in so doing she sets off a series of events that will either be the end of her people or their salvation.
“Chunks of tile crumble under my boots as I push into a sprint, a breath away from the edge of the roof and three stories of night air. I launch myself into the void, black cloak fluttering behind me through a smokestack’s bitter cloud.”
Meira has grown up a refugee and has never had a permanent home. She is eager to serve Winter and though her bravery helps her to do so, her youth makes her reckless. She has a complicated relationship with their leader, Sir, who is always pushing her to be better in combat, but who holds her up to impossible standards. Also complicating things is her close relationship to the future king, Mather; though she has strong feelings for him, their stations forever separate the two.
There is a love triangle in the book, but Sara Raasch’s Snow Like Ashes is never heavy on the romance. Mather, weighed down by the responsibilities of the throne, has always kept Meira at a distance, knowing an arranged marriage is most likely in his future. Prince Theron of Cordell becomes an unlikely ally to the refugees and stole my heart immediately. He is the first person who Meira feels understands her frustration at being a mere pawn in other people’s games and alliances, but unlike Meira, he has embraced his role and teaches her that to do so does not mean one gives up who they are.
I do want to point out that the love story of Snow Like Ashes is not romantic. Despite wanting to fight, Meira does not have the memories that tie her to Winter like the older members of her small group. She has fought because she has been taught to, but Meira’s journey becomes more significant when she begins to fall in love with her people and land for the first time.