Published by Disney Hyperion on October 14th, 2014
Genres: science fiction, young adult
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Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.
Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.
When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.
When the start of the year rolled around, I made it a point to read the two Snow-titled books from 2014 that hit at the same time: Stitching Snow and Snow Like Ashes.
So many were in favor of Ashes, while Stitching seemed to fall behind, rating-wise. To my surprise, my personal taste went against the trend. Snow Like Ashes ended up as a DNF while Stitching Snow landed 5 stars. When I battled the two books against one another, my preference found that the challenge ended up a slaughter.
Characters. You have Essie, the bold and slightly anti-social main girl, our secret princess-in-hiding and her soon-to-be beau, Dane, who decided to charm her with the good ole time-tested trick of abduction. Alright, yes, this does sound like the run-of-the-mill sci-fi pick up line.
However, Essie’s slightly abrasive attitude and Dane’s frustration/borderline anxiety about the future of the head of the empire makes them work well together. Essie showed intelligence and logic when figuring through her issues rather than depending on rashness and the power of I Want It to rescue her. She was a wonderfully balanced, and her fighting skills came from necessity and reason. She wasn’t instantly the BEST FIGHTER ever, and used her brain as a weapon more than her physical strength, which I love to see. Hooray for a tech-saavy female!!
What made this story shine, for me, the real reason why I added an extra star after rating this one was that her “dwarves” – the mining drones that Essie tended to, much like the Snow White of lore. I personally wishes for more drone scenes, but it is hard to fit in 7 minor characters into a stand alone novel (can we have some novellas, please??). I excited read through it just so I could see what Dimwit was doing, or what Cusser would say next. Even though I did enjoy the story, the real pleasure came from the injections of humor from the actions of the drones.
Romance. With fairy tale retellings, romance is expected.
The love story between Dane and Essie was actually very exciting and well constructed. It didn’t make up the entire plot of the book, and Dane was a bit of a back seat character, but I appreciated that a retelling turned the focus on Essie’s background, instead of finding the “Perfect Prince.” Besides, I really can’t turn down an enemies-to-love-interest romance plot. No insta-love, no brooding over the beauty of the male hero, it is a story of two people who accidentally found that they were compatible. They did make a really cute couple.
Fairy Tell Elements. My fascination with retellings has quite a bit to do with how the key elements are utilized to capture the basics of the fundamental tale. Cinderella has the show, Robin Hood has his arrows, Aladdin is connected to the lamp, Alice is seen with the White Rabbit and the grinning Cheshire cat, and so forth. For the Snow White archetype, there are the dwarves, the stepmother, and, of course, the poisoned apple. Just like the rest of the story, the element of the fruit was woven into the novel with a beautiful twist on folklore meets technology approach.
The world building was a huge plus. I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to gloss over politics, and I have DNF a book for heavy-handed civics in the past, but I actually enjoyed how the entire political system was constructed. There were some big shocks (HELLO RAPE TRIGGER WARNING). The oppressed struggling against the corrupt. The royal head of the oppressing planet is a corrupt, nasty group. Good stuff right there.
I am sad to see that this book was disregarded due to similarities to Cinder (I just…totally never saw it) but I am thrilled I gave this one a shot. The story was tight, the humor was perfectly placed and touched on the story with a light hand, and the romance did not overtake the story and hijack the plot. I loved Essie as a main character, and I can tell that this one is going to become a reread. I hope the author releases more about the drilling drones, since they helped capture my heart.