Did you ever have that feeling after you’ve finished a book and, as you’re closing the cover, you feel a little sad? That is exactly how I felt after reading “Snow Like Ashes”. Let me back up a little bit.
This is a Young Adult Fantasy novel written by Sara Raasch, which was released in 2014. Yes, I’m late to the party. Oh and I’m definitely not a young adult. I’m not even a new adult. I’ve been around the block a few times. What makes this book so good is it is a fantasy book whose protagonist just happens to be a sixteen year old girl. At no point does the author dumb down the story or pull any punches. She puts her characters through some pretty rough stuff but not so bad that the book tips over into the category of adult fantasy. She walks that line with finesse.
Let me start with the story. I promise, no spoilers. We open with a mock sword fight between Meira and Mather both refugees from their kingdom that was destroyed and its people taken into slavery. Meira, Mather and a small band of their people are the only refugees that have escaped and they’re trying to free their people and rebuild their kingdom. I’m not going to give you anymore than that because I really want you to meet the characters with the same expectation that I experienced.
Speaking of the characters they are well thought out and three dimensional. They’re heroic and flawed. Meira is young and questions authority, acts rashly and just wants to figure out where she fits in. All things people both young and old feel at one time or other during their lives. I loved her and I was rooting for her throughout the whole story but, being an adult reader, at no time did she frustrate me with her actions. They made total sense given her circumstances.
The writing is crisp and tight and flows very quickly. At no time is it bogged down by a lot of flowery, unnecessary paragraphs describing the landscape or event. It is straight forward and yet you still get that picture in your head that is rich and real.
I can highly recommend this book for both young adults and older folks too. You will be transported to a world that is exquisitely built and rich in vision. And the good news? This is the first book in a trilogy. I’m deep into the second book and it’s actually better than the first. I’ll review that one once I’m done but I am taking my time because I have that great feeling where you don’t want to finish the book because you don’t want to leave the world or your friends. Read this book. You’ll thoroughly enjoy yourself.