When I finished reading Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch I just wanted to tell everyone about it. The strangers at the supermarket were not impressed, so it’s up to you, dear blog reader, to experience my excitement at one of my favourite reads of 2014.
Snow Like Ashes is set in a world where magic is controlled by each kingdom’s reigning monarch. This power was unbalanced when Spring’s king murdered Winter’s queen, destroyed their magical conduit and enslaved all Winterians.
I haven’t been this excited about a series since Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass and, not surprisingly, similarities exist between Meria and Celaena Sardothian. Both are blonde, beautiful and deadly. Both are trained fighters who do not shy from battle. Both have a wicked sense of humour. Both have had the people of their land murdered and enslaved by a cruel and corrupted king.
Despite the similarities, the storyline and the characters of Meria and Celaena, head in different directions. Celaena is a trained assassin and employed by the king. Meira, one of two dozen refugees who managed to flee the destruction of the kingdom of Winter, is an orphan who has spent sixteen years on the move, learning about her lost homeland through shared memories and campfire stories.
Celaena wants revenge. Meira wants to matter.
It’s hard to pin point exactly why these books grab me more than others. To weeks earlier I read The Young Elites by Marie Lu. Her Legend books are great and I eagerly anticipated her next series. Unfortunately The Young Elites left me disappointed. My problem wasn’t with the writing or even the storyline – both were good. It was the main character I couldn’t connect with. I realise she was struggling with the darkness within her but there was little in her personality to redeem her. I didn’t want Enzo to develop feelings for her because, well, she was a bit of a jerk. To be truthful, I could understand where the monarchy was coming from wanting to remove people with dangerous abilities. This made me cross; I didn’t want to side with the “bad guys”. I certainly did not approve of their methods, but Adelina had a dangerous ability, was not a very nice person, and was known to put people’s lives in danger.
Celaena Sardothian struggled with her own darkness in Maas’ Heir of Fire. Hers was a journey so emotionally exhausting and all-absorbing that my own mood became an extension of hers. Much to my family’s displeasure. Sorry family. Even so, for every one of her character flaws, she had a redeeming feature. I wanted her to succeed.
Meria too, she’s young and desperate for acknowledgement that she is capable and that she can help Winter but her desperation is tempered by her determination and self assurance that she knows what she wants.
I was elated to learn that Throne of Glass is a series of six books. I’m just as excited to follow Meria’s journey. Thank you Sarah J. Maas and Sara Raasch, for writing such kick-arse characters.
As for the Young Elites – maybe I’m just not ready for a YA anti-heroine.