“From blood and ash, we will rise!”
Title: From Blood and Ash
Series: Blood and Ash, #1
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Blue Box Press
Genre: new adult, fantasy, romance
My Rating: ★★★★☆
This review is spoiler-free.
Captivating and action-packed, From Blood and Ash is a sexy, addictive, and unexpected fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Laura Thalassa.
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.
[ This synopsis is from Goodreads. ]
Jennifer L. Armentrout is an auto-buy author for me at this point. When she released From Blood and Ash from seemingly out of nowhere, I was not ready. I kind of lost my mind. I immediately bought the a copy and dove straight in.
One of the main reason I love JLA’s books is that she’s amazing at writing strong female leads and romance. This book is no exception. I’d expected that Poppy was demure, but she’s actually a badass in a bad situation.
Speaking of romance, I can assure you that there are no love triangles awaiting you in this story. I have a love-hate relationship with them, much like many readers. For one, I do find them very entertaining to read about. At the same time, however, they’re very unrealistic, and I can’t take the story seriously when the main character is in a love triangle. It always ends up the same way. There’s this girl who’s in love with two dudes. One dude is coined as the “nice guy” while the other is the “bad boy with a heart of gold”. The girl starts off with the nice one but always ends up with the bad boy at the end of the series. Always.
Anyways, where was I going with this?
Oh yeah. TL;DR: No need to fret. There are no love triangles.
There was one minor thing that I wished was explained more in the story: what exactly is the Maiden? From what I’ve gleaned from this book, the Maiden Ascending is supposed to this massive event that marks the change of an era. What my question is how the Ascension of the chosen Maiden actually changes the tide. I got that she had a lot of restrictions on what she could and could not do, but I never understood as to why those rules were put in place other than to make her as “worthy” to the gods as possible when she’s presented to them before she Ascends. I dunno. Maybe I didn’t read carefully enough, but I feel like the role of the Maiden wasn’t explained enough in this story.
The story in general, much like JLA’s other works, was super easy to read. I flew through the book faster than I thought was possible. I found myself staying up later than I’d like to admit as I promised myself I’d sleep after reading one more chapter… for the eleventh time. It’s fast-paced and you really get to get into the mind of Poppy, who is not your average simpering fool.
Do keep in mind if you want to read this book that it is not young adult. I’d categorize it more as a new adult book, on par with A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. There are more graphic violence and romance scenes than you would see in a YA novel. There are a couple scenes that are very much not child-friendly, so keep that in mind if you decide to pick up this book.
I honestly wish that I waited to read this book until the sequel is about to be released because the cliffhanger it ended on was kind of brutal. Granted, all cliffhangers are brutal but this one especially killed me when I realized I would have to wait probably at least a year before getting the second book. Speaking of the next book, I checked on Goodreads and it appears that there isn’t a second book in the works at the moment. Or at least, JLA didn’t list one on Goodreads. Maybe she wants to keep the release date of its sequel a secret much like she did for FB&A. I don’t know. I just hope we don’t have to wait for too long before we get to know what happens to Poppy and Hawke.
Poppy a.k.a. the Maiden
I can’t wait to see her kick everyone’s butts… again.
Much like Hunt from House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas, I don’t think I like this dude as many of the other readers do. I like him as a character but I don’t think I can truly get behind some of the things he does. I’m excited to read the sequel to see how/if he redeems himself.
I give From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout 4 / 5 unicorn horns. If you’re a fan of JLA, you will love this book (obviously). If you don’t really know JLA but love new adult fantasy and romance, then this book is also for you!
Until next time….