Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

17399160

The basics

Title: Snow Like Ashes

Author:

Series: Snow Like Ashes #1

- Snow Like Ashes (October 2014)
- Ice Like Fire (October 2015)
- Untitled (2016)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

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.

In short

In the land of Primoria, the Winterians have been in exile for sixteen years. But when Meira is successful in retrieving one-half of the Royal Conduit, Winter is that much more closer to being freed. Sir asks for Cordell’s aid in freeing Winter and so Meira is hastily engaged to Prince Theron. However, King Noam plans to own Winter in exchange for giving King Mather to Angra but his evil plans go awry when Spring marches on Cordell. A battle ensues in which Sir apparently dies. Meira is captured and taken to a Winterian work camp in Spring. There, Meira discovers that she’s the daughter of Queen Hannah which makes her the fucking Queen of Winter and yes. Meira kills Herod and Mather breaks Angra’s staff which results in his disappearance. Sir is alive as Meira was able to heal him. Spring falls into chaos without its king, the slaves are freed and the Winterians, along with Theron and his army, arrive in Jannuari where Meira vows to not let Angra stop them from achieving peace in Winter.

What went down

  • Sixteen years after the fall of Winter, only eight Winterian refugees remain out of the original twenty-five, including the future king of Mather.
  • They haven’t stopped searching for their royal conduit that King Angra of Spring took from them as Winter fell.
  • In order to gain their standing back as a kingdom, Winter needs it royal conduit back.
  • Meira has always been exempt from taking part in any conduit retrieval missions so it comes as a surprise when Sir, General of Winter, agrees to let her go on one such mission.
  • Meira and Finn go into Spring and Meira is successful in retrieving one-half of the conduit.
  • That’s real progress after sixteen years of a seemingly endless search.
  • However, they were followed by scouts straight back to their camp somewhere in the Rania Plains and have to hurriedly split up and escape to Cordell.
  • Sir and Meira team up for the journey where Sir tells that their plan is to rally support for an army that will help in freeing Winter since the other half of the conduit is on Angra’s person.
  • It should be noted that Meira gets flashbacks about her mother, Queen Hannah of Winter, on the day that Winter fell but she doesn’t know their significance until much later.
  • The Winterians converge in the kingdom of Cordell and are taken to King Noam who has planned a ball for that night.
  • Unbeknownst to Meira, King Noam has agreed to aid Winter in exchange for a marriage between Meira and his son, Prince Theron.
  • Meira and Prince Theron meet and that’s when she’s told of the exchange.
  • Cordell is aiding Autumn as their Princess, Noam’s niece, grows old enough to use the conduit and it’s in Cordell and Winter’s similar interests to overthrow Spring. However, they won’t extend their aid if it brings about war between Cordell and Spring.
  • Noam also intends to reopen the mines of Autumn and Winter, if need be, in order to find the chasm’s entrance.
  • The next day, Sir and Meira argue and Meira gets a vision of Queen Hannah telling her to do what she must as Angra is coming.
  • Mather talks to Meira about finding another way to win back Winter but Meira is all set to sacrifice herself and her love for Mather which Mather doesn’t feel so good about.
  • Theron and Meira bond over books and art.
  • Meira begins her queen training which doesn’t involve weapons so she spends her free time reading Magic of Primoria trying to figure out what happened when the conduits were created.
  • Meira’s wedding to Theron has been scheduled to take place at the end of the month which again comes as a shock to her.
  • Meira storms Noam’s study and when she sees he isn’t there, locks herself inside and goes through his papers to see if he’s actually helping them.
  • He’s not.
  • Obvs.
  • He’s actually going to sell Mather to Angra in exchange for the ownership of Winter.
  • Mather decides to give himself up to Angra so that at least Winter could be free even without its magic when a Spring battalion arrives in Bithai.
  • Theron stands up to Noam which is satisfying to see as Noam’s generally throwing a tantrum and being self-righteous.
  • Meira disguises herself as a soldier and Winter and Cordell fight alongside.
  • Sir dies.
  • Mather forces Meira away from his body when an explosion occurs. Meira is left behind and is captured by General Herod, the one she stole one-half of the conduit from.
  • During her blackout, Meira sees Hannah again who shows her the reality of how the Decay is still present because King Angra welcomed it inside him when the Royal Conduits were created to dispel said Decay. It made him immortal as he’s been ruling Spring for thousands of years.
  • Meira is taken to Angra’s palace where he heals her with his staff and it’s all kinds of painful.
  • When Angra touches Meira, she is pulled into a memory from his mind when Hannah made a deal with Angra to let him take the conduit and kill her if his army would never set foot in Winter. At that time however, Hannah was pregnant and Angra’s plan was to destroy Hannah in her weakest moment.
  • Meira is taken to a Winterian work camp where she meets three siblings who take her to meet with the rest of the Winterians in the tunnel below the camp. It’s a humbling experience for her.
  • After spending weeks in the work camp, Meira forms a plan to attack Spring by bringing down the ramps. A boy gets injured in the process and somehow, Meira is able to heal him.
  • Winterian slaves cheer as Meira is taken to Angra who asks her how is Hannah feeding her magic since she’s still connected to Winter’s magic.
  • Angra intends to know everything and when he touches Meira’s forehead, she goes into a dreamlike state wjere Hannah reveals that when a Royal Conduit is broken in defense of its kingdom, the ruler of the kingdom becomes the conduit. However, as Hannah was killed before the conduit was broke, the magic when to the heir and the heir is of course, Meira.
  • Mather is actually Sir and Alysson’s son who they raised as the king to lessen the threat as Winter is a matriarchal kingdom.
  • Meira the queen of Winter, hells yeah!
  • Meanwhile, Angra has Herod bring out Theron, who tried to sneak into Spring to rescue Meira, to make Meira talk.
  • Meira and Theron are thrown into cages together where Theron tells her what happened at his end and Meira confessed the truth about herself. However they’re interrupted when Herod arrives to torture and kill them.
  • There’s a struggle between Herod and Meirs and Meira is able to kill Herod and escape with Theron to free the Winterian slaves with the help of the army that Theron brought with him.
  • Before splitting their ways, Theron kisses Meira.
  • In the ongoing battle, Meira is able to free Winterians and is face-to-face with Angra when Mather and Sir arrive.
  • Sir is alive since Meira was able to heal him with magic.
  • Mather breaks Angra’s staff at Sir’s command. But since the staff was the only thing keeping the Decay at bay, it is released into Angra, along with the magic in the conduit, becoming one.
  • Angra disappears.

How did it end?

Angra’s disappearance results in a quick surrender of Spring. The work camps fall easily and Winterians start their journey home to Jannuari. Cordell’s army along with Theron accompany them. Meira fears that Angra isn’t dead but has turned into something worse than before. Sir tells her that they’ll handle one thing at a time. Meira vows to not let Angra stop her from rebuilding Winter.

Anything else

Royal conduit – An object that contains magic to aid the kingdoms.

Season kingdoms

  • Autumn, a mix of Arabian and Thai
  • Summer, African/Islander
  • Winter, Greek-based
  • Spring, American

Rhythm kingdoms

  • Cordell, Nordic/English
  • Yakim, French or Germanic
  • Ventralli, Italian (specifically Venetian)
  • Paisly, Eastern European

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