Review: From Blood and Ash
Title: From Blood and Ash
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Date Published: Published March 30th 2020
Publisher: Blue Box Press
A Maiden… 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. A Duty… 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.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was fully emersed and involved in the world and Poppy’s life. The opening scenes were amazing and had me gripped immediately, we met poppy aka. The Maiden, doing something she should definitely not be doing. We got thrown into her world and her desire to live life immediately and I loved it. The introduction of Hawke was amazing, and I was already sold on both of these characters after only a few chapters. However, after this very exciting start the story slowed down rapidly for the a long while. The story was still important, and I understood why we needed to see Poppy’s life and understand their world more, but the pacing just wasn’t what I had hoped for after the stunning start.
Aside from the slow start I completely loved the rest of the book. For the majority of Poppy’s life, she’s had everything mapped out and dictated to her. She is the Maiden and must not be talked to or seen or really do anything with her life other than sit in her room. She must follow the path set out for her and perform her duty to the kingdom. However, this is not the life Poppy has ever wanted. She is interesting, funny, brave and her desire to truly experience life is beautiful. As the time draws nearer for poppy to preform her duty to the kingdom the less sure she is she wants to do it, all she really wants to have a choice in her life, and this is not her choice. In her lonely position she is drawn in her new guard *enter Hawke*, who treats her like a person and intercedes on her behalf, something not even her closest friend has ever done for her. This brings about a whole set of new and confusing feelings as well as the shock of potential unrest as some rebel groups become more vocal.
The premise of the book was very intriguing and the new world that Armentrout has crafted was beautiful and captivating to read. As the book progressed, we learned a lot more about the world, but as we learned a lot of what Poppy knew, there were still a lot of missing pieces of information. I am excited to have some of this answered in the new book.
I enjoyed reading about Poppy’s life and we really learned about her position, purpose, and life which really made me feel for her. She was a wonderful main character with a lot of depth and watching her grow into herself and really admit and understand what she wanted out of life was just perfect. Her journey throughout the books was amazing and I’m sure she will grow even more in the books to come. I loved the character of Hawke and watching him become a part of Poppy’s life was perfectly done and learning about him and his history was particularly exciting. The dynamic between the two was wonderfully done, and I appreciate that they didn’t need each other but accepted that they had an impact on each other’s lives. There were a lot of twists and surprises in the book which gripped me and had me reading late into the night. The surprises were well placed to keep to story moving forward and thankfully the author didn’t hold back from adding some intense but necessary scenes which really added to the story.
Overall, the story had a range of rich characters, – many of whom I expect to be explored more in the sequel – beautifully crafted world building, and a captivating premise that allowed a lot of expertly done surprises. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read the next one.
Rating: 4 Star