Title: From Blood and Ash
Author: Jennifer L Armentrout
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.
The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden. A Kingdom… Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.
*Accurate representation of how I feel having finished From Blood and Ash*
I don’t even know where to start. There is just so much I want to rave about with this book! But that would include spoilers and I strive to make my reviews spoiler free, because I like to not know what is going to happen.
Jennifer L Armentrout is just consistent in her work. I wish I could have the talent in writing as she does. Where do these ideas even come from?
This time around Jennifer L Armentrout takes us on a brand-new adventure filled with mystery and heart-break.
From Blood and Ash tells us the story of Penellaphe, or Poppy, who is the Maiden; Never to be touched, talked to, looked upon, and never to experience pleasure. Chosen from birth and stuck in a gilded cage, Poppy’s life is not her own. She waits for the day of her Ascension, a ritual that will allow others to also be chosen by the Gods, and the day she fulfills her duty, whatever that is. With an unclear future ahead of her, Poppy dreams to be out with the guards, fighting the very monsters that killed her parents, and that plague the world she lives in.
Poppy was given a responsibility she doesn’t know she even wants. Her frustrations and lack of self-confidence as she struggled to do what’s expected of her vs what she actually wanted to really helped shape her character. The lack of freedom makes her impulsive and addicted to breaking the rules, which causes her an enormous amount of guilt in the long run. As the book goes on, you see her beliefs start to be broken down and you see her begin to learn that she is much more than just the Maiden thanks to her new personal bodyguard, Hawke.
Hawke tempts Poppy from the get-go with the forbidden. Forbidden thoughts, forbidden actions and forbidden feelings. He completely unravels the reality she had lived all her life while also giving her the tools to see that she is much more than what the Kingdom has deigned of her. Their interactions left me smiling from ear to ear. Hawke is sarcastic, teasing, and a heart-throb all in one beautiful amazing package.
There’s a lot of mystery surrounding him too. New guard transferred from the Capital and already the Maid’s personal guard? The connection Poppy feels with him, as if they had met before?
The bits and pieces given to us throughout the book literally had me screaming!
As far as side characters go, while not completely supporting characters, I felt like they were essential for Poppy’s growth and journey. Each interaction we see with the side characters further Poppy’s story into doubting her role as Maiden and thus being more susceptible to Hawke’s temptations. 😉
I absolutely loved the monsters in this book. They were very reminiscent of Priest’s vampires, feral creatures with no control over their instincts. I wish that we got to see more of these beings in this book.
I honestly feel like this book was a perfect set up for the real adventure that’s to come. I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel. Especially with the ending JLA threw into this book. I’m still reeling!
Needless to say, From Blood and Ash gets a solid 5/5 stars from me. I’m completely in love with it.
Things I didn’t like:
- Not enough Craven incidents
Things I did like:
- The plot twist toward the end
- Poppy and Hawke’s banter
- Poppy’s descent into doubting everything she’s ever known
- The TENSION
- The Craven
There are certain scenes in this book that touch upon sexual abuse.