Snow like Ashes is one of those books that are hard to review, because I kind of liked it but the story is in the end lacking.
It starts with a lot, and I really mean a lot of info-dumping. Almost the complete first half of the story is a recounted history of all eight or twelve kingdoms, we are given a detailed explanation on the magic system, and last but not least we have to suffer through Meira’s reflections on her personal history as an orphaned girl. Honestly who cares about all the other kingdoms? I didn’t. I don’t get why the kingdoms have to be called Kingdom of Winter, Summer, Spring, Autumn or why the capital of Winter is called January? The people of the Winter kingdom all have white long hair, pale skin and blue eyes whereas the people from Spring have blond hair, green eyes and normal skin color. This part of the world building was to be frank a little bit uninspired and way too long. I am all for world-building but world-building should be embedded into the overall story. In Snow like Ashes the background information is delivered in a way that reminded me of the potholed streets in Africa.
And then the love triangle! Why isn’t there a warning that there is a significant love triangle that takes way too much space in the story? There isn’t even need for a love triangle. Both boys are quite similar, they both are very nice to Meira, they both are tall and sport six-packs and wide shoulders, they both are good with weapons and military. At least Tahereh Mafi made Warren and Adam opposite characters with totally different looks. And it’s not even real love. It’s about the hormones of a teenage girl, who gets hot when she sees half naked sparring boys and two kisses from two teenage suitors. It’s an annoying habit, this dragged out love triangle thing in YA novels.
Otherwise the second part of the story was interesting and had some drama, but nothing really special. If not for the info-dumping and the hormone-triangle I would have given this a higher rating.