Book Review: Snow Like Ashes trilogy by Sara Raasch

Hey everybody! It’s Ariel again, coming at you with another review—of three books at once this time!

Because I’m reviewing the whole trilogy and I don’t want this post to be unbelievably long, I won’t be going into super detail on my thoughts for each book, but rather giving an overview of my feelings for the series as a whole.

Star Ratings

Book One: 4/5

Book Two: 4/5

Book Three: 4/5

Summary

The Snow Like Ashes series is set in a land called Primoria, where there are eight kingdoms. Four of them, called the Rhythm kingdoms, experience normal weather seasons throughout the year. Each of the other four kingdoms’ land is locked into one season forever, and they are named for the season they experience constantly—Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. In all eight of the kingdoms, the rulers carry conduits, or magical items that allow them to influence and enhance their specific kingdom’s land and people.

At the beginning of the first book, our main character, Meira, a Winterian, is on the run with a precious few other Winterians who escaped when their kingdom was conquered by Spring. They are trying to get the pieces of Winter’s conduit, a locket, and put it back together to have a chance of saving their kingdom. From there, the story takes off, and it’s quite a ride.

I can’t say much more without spoiling the books, and I will almost certainly have spoilers in my commentary below, so if any of you haven’t read this series yet, and you want to, my advice would be to stop here and go do that before you come back and read.

***SPOILERS BELOW***

The Review

Let’s start off with the bad news and then I’ll move on to the good, since there’s more good than there is bad.

The main problem I had with this series was the love triangle. And, even worse, the insta-love that started the love triangle. As soon as Meira met Theron, I was internally groaning. I also didn’t like how the two rival lovers, Mather and Theron, instantly hated each other for no reason I could see other than the fact that they were rivals. In order for a love triangle to be effective, it has to be done well and, at least to me, the one in this series wasn’t.

The other thing I didn’t like about the series—and this was mostly in the first book, but it more or less carried throughout—was Meira’s sudden shifts in feelings, especially when it came to the love triangle. In the first book, she meets Theron, and almost immediately, she seems to like him, in spite of the fact that she grew up with Mather and had had a crush on him since she could understand what a crush was. Granted, at the time, she had been betrothed to Theron, so she thought she had no choice but to try to like him, but it still didn’t quite ring true to me. I mean, one would think that it wouldn’t be so easy for someone to just drop their lifelong crush, which is sort of what she does at first.

Okay, enough of the bad. Let’s move on to the good.

First of all, the world of this story is incredible. All of the kingdoms are so fleshed out, with such distinct cultures and people. I especially loved the Seasons, and the way their cultures and people meshed so well with the season they represented. For example, Summer is known for being a fun and pleasure-seeking kingdom, whose people have bright red hair. The actual season summer is the time when people go on vacations, when kids are out from school, and when life seems to be generally more fun than it is at any other time.

Secondly, the characters. My favorite character in this story is the Summerian princess, Ceridwen. I think she is such a strong character. She fights for what she believes in, and I love that about her. She is also deeply devoted to her kingdom, just like most of the other characters in this story.

One of the other things I really liked about this book series was the way it discussed things like duty and finding oneself. Most of the characters in these books, and especially Meira, are fighting a constant battle between being the people they have to be for their kingdoms and finding their own individuality. I think this is something that anyone who has ever been a teenager can relate to. Having more responsibilities, more pressure on your shoulders, more eyes staring at you, can make it hard to be yourself. To me, this book teaches us that you can be both. You shouldn’t sacrifice who you are to become something that you think you need to be for the world.

Thanks for reading. I’ll see you next week.

-Ariel

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