A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

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 her kingdom rise to power again.

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

This was one of my most anticipated books of the fall, and honestly I wasn’t disappointed. This review is coming just a smidge late, as I read this book a couple of weeks after it’s release date. It just took me a while before I could dedicate time to reviewing it properly (thank you, finals & holidays).

“Someday we will be more than words in the dark” – Sara Raasch, Snow Like Ashes

I can tell you right now that one of my favourite things about this book is the world that Sara Raasch has built for it. For those who have read Game of Thrones, there are definitely some similarities, but they’re different enough once you dive in. There are eight kingdoms in total in the world of Primoria – four seasons: Winter, Autumn, Summer, Spring, and four rhythms: Codell, Paisley, Yakim, and Ventralli. The only thing is that I’m hoping and praying that as the series continue we maybe get a little more insight into the other kingdoms? I feel like this book was definitely a tease and I need more. I want to know the history of this world so badly that it’s all that I’ve thought about since putting the book down.

The kingdom of Winter lies in ruins, destroyed by an evil magician. Most Winterians are dead and no one knows exactly how many art left, or where they may be. Meira is an orphan in the kingdom of Winter and she lives with a small group of other survivors that include Sir, her guardian and rescuer, and Mather, the future king of Winter.

Unfortunately, Winter is a matriarchy, and the magic of the kingdom passes down between female-blooded conduits, not males. Essentially Mather is good for a future queen’s companion, but not on his own. This is such a nice change of pace from most high fantasy! I can’t even express how much I loved this aspect of the story almost immediately.

But now let’s talk about our main character…

Meira… Oh, Meira. Meira is probably one of my favourite protagonists in the past year. She’s a soldier above all else and she repeatedly chooses to fight for those she loves and for her life. Sure, she has normal teenage girl feelings, but they don’t denote the rest of her substance. Her feelings and emotions are normal and utterly relatable to the reader. I think one of the things that I love the most about Meira is how complex her relationships with other characters are, especially with Sir.

I definitely can’t wait to see how she grows more. At first her life seems pretty dire, but soon you realize that it’s so much bigger than she or anyone else could possible anticipate.

The love triangle. Normally I have a pretty big issue with love triangles, but this one didn’t bother me quite as much as I thought it might when it was introduced. I actually find myself in a situation with these characters as I am/was with characters in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I love everyone and there is no overwhelming winner in my head.

“Fear is a seed that, once planted, never stops growing.“ – Sara Raasch, Snow Like Ashes

I found parts of the book to be pretty predictable, but it in no way made me enjoy it less. I still loved the twists and turns that the plot took on, even if I could see them coming. I honestly think that says heaps about Sara Raasch as an author. I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on Ice Like Fire in the fall… like I need it now.

★★★★★