From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Blood and Ash, #1, #1
Published by Blue Box Press on March 29, 2020
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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.
From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L Armentrout has been on my radar for some time after hearing about the series from another reader. I’m no stranger to Jennifer L Armentrout’s writing, having enjoyed her Lux series. Two excellent reasons why I bumped this series up my TBR list and then unsurprisingly spent a day of indulgence devouring it!
The story is told purely from Poppy’s point of view and as such, the reader is only privy to her knowledge and opinions. I would have loved to have gotten inside Hawke’s head to gain a deeper insight into the world this series is set within. The paranormal elements are a combination that I wished were referred to in common terms. It wasn’t until I was close to the end of the book that I had a clear concept of what to expect in the series.
Considering how Poppy is the chosen maiden and closely protected to remain virtuous, she sneaks in many adventurous moments. Her knife skills are impressive and handy, her sense of curiosity keen, and the opportunities are frequent enough to keep her protectors on their toes.
It was easy to see why Hawke captured Poppy’s attention. He was off-bounds, intriguing, easy on the eye, charismatic and not your run of the mill cliched bodyguard. He remained protective while subtly suggesting snippets of freedom Poppy hadn’t experienced before.
My only qualm with Hawke was I wanted him to have to fight more and work harder to win Poppy over. That’s saying something because he gets to see her resistance on most days but he is such a smooth, smug operator that he breaks through her defences a little too easily for my liking lol. Thankfully, he has a long way to go before he can boast that he has won Poppy over.
What I struggled with:
- Adapting to the ‘others’ in this new world
- Cold-hearted rulers
- Knowing who could be trusted
- Polly’s acceptance of her destiny
What I loved:
- Hawke’s charm
- Tawny’s companionship
- Viktor’s fatherly care
- Polly’s need to make a difference
For a page-turner, some sections felt slow and a tad repetitive but I never lost interest in Poppy’s fate. The story ends on a ‘to be continued’ note that left me eager to read on!
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