Fantasy, High Fantasy, Young Adults
Snow Like Ashes, Book # 3
Balzer + Bray
September 20th 2016
January 26, 2021 January 28, 2021
Beat the Backlist, Finishing The Series, The Backlist Reader
Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the leader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, she jumps at the chance. But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to control—and make the biggest sacrifice of all.
Mather will do anything to save his queen. He needs to rally the Children of the Thaw, find Meira—and finally tell her how he really feels. But with a plan of attack that leaves no kingdom unscathed and a major betrayal within their ranks, winning the war—and protecting Meira—slips farther and farther out of reach.
Ceridwen will do anything to save her people. Angra had her brother killed, stole her kingdom, and made her a prisoner. But when she’s freed by an unexpected ally who reveals a shocking truth behind Summer’s slave trade, Ceridwen must take action to save her true love and her kingdom, even if it costs her what little she has left.
As Angra unleashes the Decay on the world, Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen must bring the kingdoms of Primoria together…or lose everything.
About the book
Please read this only if you’ve read the first two books in the series. And since it is the last book I’m not introducing the main characters.
The book is a direct continuation of the second volume with the Winterians locked up in the dungeons of the King’s Palace in Ventralli and Meira escaping with a man who throughout the previous book was a mystery.
Angra is alive and has infected many kingdoms with the Decay (the magic born from the evil deeds of men) and Theron is also infected with it. Meira must flee in order to stay free and she must learn to master her magic which is still out of control. In doing, so we finally move to Paisly, the only kingdom not yet visited (together with Autumn, but we have at least seen its royals), which is lost in the mountains and difficult to get to. Will Meira be able to master her magic before the world as she knows it disappear?
What I think
I loved this book. I loved this series despite the second book, but this third and last book brought back the joy of having read the series.
What I liked the most was the concept of magic. Magic is both good and evil and is something that must be eliminated because, even if good magic prevails over evil (as it almost always happens), evil magic is always there. There is always someone who wants to use magic to their advantage and therefore there can never be a world where only good exists. Usually, in fantasies where there is magic, magic, in the end, is something that improves the world, in short, the good guys with magic always win, but it doesn’t happen here. If you want a better world, magic must be eliminated and that’s what Meira has been thinking since the beginning of this trilogy. And I admire the author for introducing this concept.
I also liked the fact that the characters don’t question Meira when she says she wants to eliminate the conduit magic. Everyone has seen what the Decay can do and therefore everyone agrees with her (except Angra of course).
Well, if you stop and think, what Angra and Co want to do is not really wrong. Giving magic to everyone so that everyone chooses how to use it and what to do with it, it’s not wrong as a concept, fairness and equality are concepts we still struggle with today, only the premises I’ve made are always valid: magic is a double-edged sword, there cannot be only good magic. Truthfully, what Angra does is not “to give a choice” to have magic and he knows it. Perhaps it is better to say that what Theron wants to do is right, because behind his work in the beginning there is the hope of a better world.
The style does not change, but a point of view is added, Ceridwen’s one, in addition Mather’s POV (both in third person) and Meira’s one, in first person. Once again the chapters are smooth and not too long and for this reason (and because I wanted to know the ending) I read about 120 pages in one day and 170 in the next. The pace is so pressing that I could not put the book down, in fact I don’t usually read in the evening, but I couldn’t help it this time.
The author is not afraid to kill the characters we are fond of and I respect her for that. A bit like Martin, but despite the fact that I am sad about some deaths, I’m not very upset in the end.
I have to say that in the end I wanted to skip Ceridwen’s point of view. I mean, I just wanted to know about Meira so I didn’t want to read her part but don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t boring at all, but in a nutshell I just wanted Meira’s parts to know how it all ended. But no, I didn’t skip them, I was patient.
I liked Meira more here than in the second book. She has no doubts about what she has to do and she doesn’t think too much about what she could have done.
Mather, to whom I was a little indifferent in the first book, I loved him here, too. His love for Meira is so pure that he would do anything for her and it showed in the end.
Meira and Mather are so nice when they interact that a few times I found myself laughing. First of all, their friendship born from years of war is beautiful, they know each other very well and this leads them to do what they do together and without doubts (obviously to know what, you need to read the book).
I also loved Ceridwen, her “adventures”, her “friendships” and also her bluntness. I like that although she got rid of Simon, she misses her brother.
Theron was unbearable in the second book and here he is even more so. But “unbearable” doesn’t mean “disappointed me”, quite the contrary. In the first book he was introduced in a way that didn’t make me hate him later on, he’s so well described that although he went from “good” to “bad” it didn’t make me say “so why did I read the first book? “. And sorry if I always compare this to that series, for the third time, but in ACOMAF this is exactly what happened, why did we read ACOTAR? Because there, I felt the author made fun of me, but it didn’t happen here. So the author was very good at writing these characters also for this reason.
I loved all the relationships. Not only them but all friendships as well and honestly, I would like to know what happens next, the epilogue isn’t enough.
The world is a little gem. In three volumes we have visited all the kingdoms and often, while reading the descriptions, I could be there with them and imagine the reddish leaves of Autumn, or the incessant snow of Winter, not to mention the suffocating heat of Summer, or the flowers of Spring.
I love Winter, even though we are shortly there, but I think it’s my favorite kingdom. I don’t like the cold because I’m always cold, but I love snow and having a kingdom perpetually covered with it, is beautiful.
I have to say two things that I didn’t like that much, one is about the Italian edition and the other is something that you all can overlook.
For the Italian edition, in addition to not having the map of Primoria (which I’ve repeated ad nauseam) there are several typos, especially relating to the names. For example one sentence referred to the capital of Summer, Juli, but it was translated as if it were the month of July. In Italian, months don’t have a capital letter so that word was written as a normal word – luglio – and not as a capital city (with a capital letter). Throughout the entire series the capitals of the various king/queendom kept the original names, so I could accept Luglio (capital letter) as a translation, but not luglio, because the entire sentence changed meaning when written like that. Even Cordell was written wrong. These are tiny things (except the missing map) but I think the new edition, if there will be one, need corrections.
The other thing is that Meira always says “this is a trap”, “Angra knows we’re here”, “he already knows everything and that’s why I’m here because he wanted me here”, which then leads nowhere because if Meira hadn’t said “it’s a trap”, the reader wouldn’t have noticed since in the end it is not. Unfortunately, I can’t explain well without giving examples and therefore spoiling. But saying “it’s a trap” is redundant and out of place. Maybe I got this feeling because we didn’t get Angra’s point of view. I don’t know, this is the only thing that bothered me a bit, but the fact remains that the series is a masterpiece.
So yes I recommend it, the world is very well done, the descriptions phenomenal and also the characters, but above all for the world.