For someone who isn’t big on high fantasy, I really enjoyed Snow Like Ashes! Fabulous main character, interesting world and brilliant development.
I knew absolutely nothing about this series going into this, and I’m kinda glad I didn’t. It made this read so much more surprising! The world centres around 4 Rhythm kingdoms and 4 Season kingdoms. It gave me a lot of ACOTAR vibes (or vice versa since this was actually published first), which is a good thing. Now, what I’m not good at when it comes to high fantasy is the array of magical creatures and their homelands which I have to keep up with. What I LOVED about this universe is everyone is utterly human. Yes, there is magic (with a fascinating magic system), but the magic is held by these humans who are, without magic, utterly powerless. It gives the story a power complex which is reminiscent of one in our world – some people crave power and others think it’s poison.
The characters were fabulous. For me, characters are the pinacol of a YA novel and when they aren’t engaging, neither is the book. But I adored Meira and her narration, as well as the main side characters with many diverse personalities. But what I loved most about Meira was her history. Generically, you get a random girl in her place, but Meira’s past links her into the story quietly throughout the book – and then hits you like a wrecking ball.
Feminism is a prominent theme is Snow Like Ashes. Meira is constantly trying to prove herself as a soldier but she is frequently told to get off the battlefield and into the cleaning tents. The equality theme links with fate and destiny too, and whether Meira’s life is really hers if she is devoted to make a difference to her kingdom.
A surprisingly good read, definitely one to check out even if you aren’t into high fantasy. Can’t wait to read the rest of the trilogy!
All Six Of Crows fans (like me) who are scared that this sequel won’t live up to the first – you will not be disappointed. I found it difficult to believe Six Of Crows could be matched, let alone beaten! Crooked Kingdom is everything I wanted and more: development of the characters and relationships, twists and turns that are completely unpredictable, emotions sky-high through the whole thing and both a satisfying and heart-breaking ending.
I love the writing style of this duology*. Usually, multiple POV isn’t my thing, but the fact that it’s written in third person rather than first makes it more refined and I would say sophisticated. Leigh Bardugo has expertly chosen which section of the story should come from which character, revealing just enough about what’s going on so that the reader understands and is excited about the events but is still kept guessing. Another thing I thought was achieved really well was the seamless flashbacks throughout the narrative. They were almost rationed throughout the story which made it easier to swallow and intriguing.
And how can I review this book without talking about the characters?! They are all so beautifully flawed and have so much depth and personality. Each complements and clashes with the other stunningly – and you just can’t help but fall in love with them!
Usually this is the part where I talk about the negatives… But I don’t actually have any! Loved it beyond belief and something I will always remember.
(*I know I talk a lot about the actual writing of books but personally I think that it’s just as important as plot or characters)
Another amazing instalment of this series! Although I don’t feel like any of the sequels surpassed the first one, I very much enjoyed all the development we get in this book. Seeing the characters we adore evolve through this story has never been better. And seeing their relationships evolve, too. Lots of new characters are introduced, each with their own deep and heart-felt stories that I loved exploring (I have a new favourite character after this book).
One thing I will never stop mentioning (because I don’t think it gets appreciated enough) is the way Sarah J. Maas can write in third person and still address all the characters’ emotions. The narration slips seamlessly from one character to another, explaining everything that needs to be explained whilst also withholding information from the reader without us noticing until it’s revealed.
Another thing I think is important about not just the writing but the plot as well, is that the reader is able to keep up with it without it being over-explained or slow. Sometimes, especially in high fantasy series, a backstory or a plan of attack can be so confusing that it becomes almost mindless to the reader. But this story is complex, but still understandable.
The only negative I have is that it went on a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it – but I found myself wanting it to end so I could move on.
Currently Reading: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh! I finished Everyone We’ve Been on Thursday for one of my book clubs, and I’ve been working on this book ever since. I’ve been trying to dedicate time during my weekends to get some reading in since I’ve been so busy working during the week. I’m about one hundred pages in, and I’m really enjoying it! It’s like Mulan but set in feudal Japan, with lots of complex, flawed characters! It makes me glad that I have The Wrath and the Dawn on my shelf. Have you guys read any of her work? If so, what did you think? What are you guys currently reading this weekend?
Currently Reading: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor! I just Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by @elizabethgilbert yesterday, and it was wonderful. I feel so inspired and validated. What a motivating, inspiring book! Now on down the library stack I go! I’m so excited for this book. Taylor is one of my favorite authors; she won my heart with her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, and I can’t wait to see what Strange has in store for me. I’m not even a hundred pages in yet, but I’m kind of a little bit in love. I have a feeling a big adventure is in store for me. What are you guys currently reading this week?