Snow Like Ashes is a gem. An absolute gem.
At least... in a lot of cases.
Raasch's debut reminded me of Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series with the first three books jumbled together into one book - in a good way. The only difference between the two (aside from the fairies obviously) was the mere fact Meira has no memories of the kingdom of Winter aside from what the remaining refugees tell her. It's an interesting situation to devote loyalty towards a kingdom you haven't even seen before.
Meira might be another character I like... but only because she's like Kestral from The Winner's Curse - flaunts the rules and expectations the other refugees have for her (which is basically sit back and let the rest of do the work) and has spunk. She's also ambitious and extremely loyal, which could potentially be a downfall in the long run. In the case of trying to spare my brain from crying, I do hope Meira's loyalty and ambition won't lead to a fantastically tragic ending.
The love triangle is fabulous (no, the world hasn't ended). Both Mather and Theron are equally fantastic and humble - a rarity compared to many books I've come across in awhile, in which the majority of them focus far too much on developing the romance rather than developing everything else (like the plot!). Aside from the fact Mather spends a bit of his time being the next Adrian Ivashkov, I am totally peachy with this particular love triangle. No sarcasm intended.
The world Snow Like Ashes is set in is quite magical - a world with 4 Rhythm and 4 Season kingdoms in supposed balance with intriguing history, background, and conflict. Winter, despite the fact we aren't introduced to the kingdom until very later in the book, is imaginable from the memories of the refugees and Meira's dreams.
In all honesty, I have no regrets whatsoever for getting my hands on a copy of Snow Like Ashes when I saw it at the library - there is rarely a dull moment in this book and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel when it appears at the library.