Review | From Blood and Ash
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout.
Length: 634 pages.
(Book #1 in the Blood and Ash Series)
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.
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.
Oh. My. God.
I need someone, ANYONE, to explain to me how I didn’t know about this series earlier?? I am a very big Jennifer L. Armentrout fan. She is one of my most read authors and this book helped me remember why that is.
When I first heard about this book it was sold to me as a Romance with a Fantasy subplot. This immediately caught my attention. I love romance and I really like fantasy, so the idea that this was primarily a Romance set in a fantastical world really appealed to me. However, after reading it, I don’t agree with this description. This book is most definitely a Romance, but I think that the Fantasy is as much of a protagonist. Both genres are very woven into each other. Obviously, hard-core fantasy readers might not agree, because there are a lot of romantic scenes. Despite that, it is not the most important part of it. I believe it is a very good balance between the romantic scenes and the fantasy story.
Truths do not always set one free. Only a fool who has spent their entire life being fed lies believes that.
The world in itself is amazing. I think it was so original and I don’t think I’ve ever read something similar before. Granted, it took me a really long time to figure out some of the most important things. TOO long. And I mean VERY long. I am even a little bit ashamed to admit it. But, in my defense, the author did such a great job in fooling us right along with Poppy–the main character–that when the truth was finally revealed, it actually shocked me a little too. Overall, I think Jennifer L. Armentrout has done an outstanding job in creating this kingdom and this ‘religion’ of sorts.
Character wise, it was all great too. Poppy had an interesting inner dialogue and I really enjoyed reading about her struggles, desires, hopes and dreams… I think her personality was properly thought out and perfectly displayed. The male protagonist was great as well. He resembles more of the typical Alpha male that we encounter a lot, but he isn’t at the same time. Once you reach the ending we discover a whole new side of him. He’s definitely very much like the stereotypical definition of a manly-man, but not to the point that he becomes annoying or arrogant.
As I mentioned before, I’ve read many of Armentrout’s books. And when I say many I mean well over 25. Seen as I’ve had a lot of experience with her stories, I’ve noticed that she recycles some of the things that happen in a couple of her books. Now, I say recycles because she doesn’t reuse them. But this isn’t bad, AT ALL. She takes them and reinvents them in order to fit the story. In my opinion there is absolutely nothing wrong with working with situations you’ve used before and adapt them to fit this new story. In fact, I think this just shows how talented she is and how versatile her writing style can be.
I’ll say it again. I don’t care what you are. I care about who you are.
Also, this author writes very good fight scenes. I am pleasantly surprised and definitely impressed. This book is gory. Very gory. Lots of fights, killing, torturing… Some things were not easy to read and kind of unsettling to imagine. However, it was all very well described. The battles and fights were all incredibly entertaining and I couldn’t pull myself from the book until I finished them. Sometimes I tend to lose track of what’s happening when I read these type of scenes, but that definitely did not happen here. I loved them.
Now, the romance. My oh my. What. A. Treat. I love how this author writes romance. And I love what she did in this story. I am completely, 100% invested. I love the characters, their dynamic, and the TEASING. People. The teasing. I can’t even. Every single time that they had a conversation I had the hugest grin on my face. It was all amazing, funny and so cute. Although, it was also very aggressive. Poppy and Hawke fight a lot. And I mean physically fight. But it was so entertaining to read. Also, this book is steamy, so that’s an official warning for those that don’t really like that type of thing.
Overall, this was truly an experience. I can’t wait to continue reading this series and learn more about this world, its history and all of the characters. I definitely recommend it for Romance and Fantasy readers alike.