“Some truths do nothing but destroy and decay what they do not obliterate. Truths do not always set one free. Only a fool who has spent their entire life being fed lies believes that.”
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.
Back in 2014, I read just about every Jennifer L. Armentrout book that was out at the time. She was one of my favorite authors. The Covenant series is still one of my favorite book series. Over the years, like many readers, I discovered other authors, and sadly Armentrout fell off my radar. Recently, I discovered a great podcast called The Bibliovert Podcast on Spotify and saw that they were going to discuss From Blood and Ash. And well, the rest is history.
When I finished this book, I was reminded why Armentrout remains one of my favorite authors. From Blood and Ash was so good! I didn’t realize just how much I missed her writing! From the first chapter, we are thrust into the world of Masadonia where we follow Poppy, The Maiden, who is integral to the future of the kingdom. Told from the first-person point of view, you already can see that being the Maiden is not as glamorous as one might think. She is stripped of all her choices and is forced to live a sheltered life with absolutely no interaction with anyone other than her guards and appointed companion. I loved Poppy. She was everything a strong heroine should be. Though sheltered, she’s fiery and can very well defend herself. Poppy’s had a hard life but this only drives her to take control of her future.
Hawke, who becomes her royal guard, is every bit of the dark and broody love interest that we would be used to seeing in a Sarah J. Maas novel. He’s mysterious, sexy, and swoon-worthy. The romance between him and Poppy is smoldering and everything you want between the two main characters. He is not your typical guard. He both annoys and arouses Poppy, and I loved that their relationship was a slow build. I’m not a fan of the inst-love trope and I’m glad that this wasn’t the case.
Armentrout’s take on this high fantasy genre introduces a slew of creatures that resemble zombies, werewolves, and vampires. I liked this aspect and thought that it made From Blood and Ash very enjoyable. I also like the world-building, though I still had a few questions about certain aspects of the world after I finished this book. I also wish that there was a map added just so I could’ve followed along with the journeys occurring within the plot. I believe with books that talk about towns, lands, kingdoms, and journeys, a map would be very beneficial to the reader.
I also loved and hated some characters. I loved Tawny, Poppy’s best friend, and Vikter, Poppy’s father figure, and guard. I HATED, absolutely LOATHED Duke Teerman and Lord Mazeen. They were the type of characters that made my skin crawl with disgust.
The plot is amazing, it does start slow, but picks up quickly and the momentum does not stop until the very last page. The plot twist is a little predictable, but VERY well done. All the revelations that occurred ended up making me HATE a certain character, my blood started to boil with everything happening. If that was Armentrout’s plan, she succeeded! From Blood and Ash’s last sentence is the epitome of a cliffhanger. I needed book two yesterday! I cannot wait to read the next installment. There are so many things that need to happen in book two and I hope all my worries will be resolved. If you love fantasy, I would absolutely recommend reading this book. Check out Jennifer L. Armentrout’s other books as well!
MY RATING: 4.5 STARS