Snow Like Ashes didn’t knock me out of the park, but I did enjoy it. It was an interesting world and was thankful for how things kept happening. The novel kept up a nice pace always making it feel like there was real progress being made in the story. It moved from place to place, situation to situation and I found myself really absorbed in the constantly twisting plot.
I didn’t fall in love with the characters, but none of them really struck me as eye rolling. That is a huge accomplishment. I genuinely liked the characters, but I didn’t like them enough that I felt invested in whether they lived or died. I have to mention that Meira really is a great proactive main character, filled with doubts and uncertainty. She carried the novel and did so well even if she struggled at times.
The ending worked for me, but left me feeling like the story could have ended there. Sure, there was a big aspect of the novel that was still looming out there like an unknown force, but it felt complete. It didn’t feel like it was necessary to go into further adventures. It would be nice of course, but things felt wrapped up enough that I was content.
At the end of the day, I liked this story. I may not walk around recommending it to everyone, but that is not because I found anything so egregious that I couldn’t tolerate it. I simply didn’t fall head over heels.
From here on out there will be spoilers many spoilers. If you haven’t read the book, I would suggest that you don’t read any further.
Meira was about as self assured and rearing to go as one could hope for a main character. She’s a fighter, which isn’t really new territory for female protagonists. However, she’s not the type to just spin her wheels. I really enjoyed that she took things into her own hands and tried to work for her people. While she wanted to rebel against the role she was forced into she still put the needs of all Winterians over her desire. She takes life, yet also values the live she takes and doesn’t do so easily.
There was a twist in this novel. I’m not sure if it was meant to be some sort of surprise, but it was hinted at so heavily throughout the novel that it was more of a relief that they finally got to the truth. In fact it seemed glaringly obvious. Things just kept happening that didn’t make sense unless the suspicions you had were true. From the beginning Meira was gripping that necklace and the moment she said she felt luckier with it, while it did nothing for Mather I knew. Well, I didn’t know exactly. I initially thought there was going to be a Luke Leia kind of situation going on. Either way, I still knew that this was the Meira show. She wasn’t just a pawn on a chessboard. The whole game road on her.
The world that was created was interesting yet shallow. While it’s nice to see that the Winterians had their signifying trait, white hair. It grew increasingly stale that each of these bordering kingdoms had people that looked so uniquely different. Especially when you consider that it only took days to get between each, that’s a small span of land to have people to look so incredibly different. It felt a bit off to me and I struggled with that every time. Maybe I’m just not a big fan of that sort of segregation in my stories.
That said, I was intrigued by how the world and it’s magic worked. I’d like to get more on how the magic is wielded now that we have a better in to the magic, but it was an interesting set up. The fact that magic is nebulous, yet still not all encompassing could present troubles in the future. We know that conduit magic can heal, it can summon things like a blizzard, but it’s hold on people is more of a suggestion. If someone doesn’t follow the orders given through conduit magic, I want to know what happens. We are told that it isn’t advised, but it is possible. Do people who disobey end up sick? Do they lose their minds? Does regret cripple them? What is the downside to not obeying these orders? Does the wielder of the conduit magic grow weaker the more their subjects rebel? If there is no downside then the conduit magic isn’t quite as strong as it portrayed, nor does it wield consequences.
There was a big reveal near the end of the novel that Sir, who raised Meira, who she saw die in battle, was in fact still alive. He was the first person to be healed by her. In some ways, I’m glad that Sir was back. With the new role that Meira has been thrust into she needs support from people she can trust. She needs advisors and people who will look out for her best interests. However, Sir is a crutch. When she lost him, Meira had to be strong on her own. She drew from his memory to plow forward and help her people. Magicking him back to life certainly helps Meira, but it’s something that could make her too comfortable. It would have been a lot more interesting if his death stuck and Meira now had to figure things out on her own with Mather at her side.
Speaking of Mather, I was oddly indifferent to him. Mather was a good guy there’s no denying it. He’s sweet, strong, caring, and willing to fight for Meira. The relationship between him and Meira is strong as they know each other so intimately it would be hard for it to not be. The problem for me was that I never connected to him in a way which I cared about their budding romance. Thankfully, he hasn’t done anything to make me think him to passive or too aggressive. He hasn’t made any moves that infuriate me. That means that I could still come to love him even if I don’t yet. All I think he needs is some more page time. Not necessarily with them getting all romancey. I just need to see more of him in a more intimate setting where I get to know more about him kind of like Theron.
Yes, I was almost instantly smitten with Theron. Unlike Mather, we quickly got to know the kind of person he was. The actions he took weren’t to grant opportunity or because his hand was being forced. Theron simply acted because it was what he wanted to do. Even though it was a small gap of pages I rather quickly felt like I knew him better than Mather. It didn’t hurt that I liked the kind of person he was.
What did you think of Snow like Ashes?