Title: From Blood and Ash
Series: Blood and Ash #1
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Published: March 30th, 2020
Reread: Two Times
From Blood and Ash is a high fantasy novel, a first for Jennifer Armentrout who usually writes more of Sci-Fi and Paranormal Romance. First off, she is one of my favorite authors. I’ve devoured most of her series – Lux, Dark Elements, and Wicked. From Blood and Ash doesn’t disappoint.
The beginning of the book is slow-paced. The story is initially focused more on introducing us to the brand new world that’s breathtaking and dangerous, rife with tension – and you get sucked in, wanting to know more. Although I got confused when I read this the first time, there were several terms thrown around and understand the complicated layers of Solis and Atlantia (the Two Kingdoms).
We meet Penallaphe ‘Poppy’ Balfour, 17 years old, known as the Maiden, chosen by the Gods. The future of the Kingdom of Solis rests on her shoulders. She is to bring in a new era on her ascension.
Although that destiny looks prestigious, it is anything but. She is secluded from everyone, bound by the strictest rules – to never talk or socialize, be seen, and always cover her face with a veil. Other than her two personal guards and her handmaiden, she doesn’t have much interaction.
She never did what she was told, though. Whenever she could, she’d let her rebellious side take over, and she’d wander off to new places, to experience the life other girls lived, and be free from all the burdens in her life.
Poppy quickly became one of my favorite female heroines! The World wasn’t much giving when it came to her, but she took control of it. She has these hidden facets, and with the story told in her POV, I could certainly relate to her. Her character development is one of the best parts of the book.
Hawke Flynn is a Royal Guard, making all the heads turn since his arrival at Masadonia. With high references from the Capital, he takes over the guard duty of Poppy, after her personal guard Rylan is killed by a descenter.
Honestly, I was intrigued by him ever since he showed up in the first-second chapter. He is this rugged, tall, dark, and handsome fellow, so witty and snarky, you don’t know if you want to laugh or get all stabby like Poppy does.
He gets under her skin like no one does. He wants to understand Poppy, what makes her tick, and likes her for WHO she is. I was laughing out loud at all of his snarky comments – and I wish I could take Poppy’s place. Hawke never holds anything back, is intense, playful, and a complex character.
The romance takes a back-seat in this book. It is slow-burning – that heat, the attraction between the two of them they keep fighting – well, Poppy fights it. There are a lot of sweet moments between them and the sexual tension is electric.
I couldn’t get enough of their interaction, I was addicted to both of them. It was Daemon and Katy all over again for me.
The story is a perfect mixture of light and dark. Poppy’s life is in danger, with the descenters rising against the Ascendants and supporting the ‘Dark One’, Prince Casteel, who claims to be the rightful heir to the Atlantian throne. The Dark One wants Poppy, for reasons we don’t know.
With threats looming in Poppy’s life, both inside the castle and from Prince Casteel, we see her journey of self-discovery, sexual awareness, and evolving from the Maiden to a girl who can finally choose for herself.
It takes a darker and emotional turn, with a few deaths that left me reeling with sadness. And takes an even faster pace after the 80% mark. If you haven’t read this book, I suggest not to read the reviews or the blurb of the second and the third book. Just go in blind.
I knew what was coming. I’d accidentally came across a spoiler – but it was predictable too, so didn’t lose much reading wise. It still managed to shock me. I remember it was around 3 AM, and I had to work the next day, but that specific chapter – Holy Crap.
The writing style is amazing. The setting, the descriptions, they just grab you. I loved the World Building, the slow-burn romance and the dynamic characters.
The story is packed with emotions, steam, betrayal, friendships, amazing main and side characters, an intriguing plot, a dangerous world, and so much more. It is definitely worth all the hype, and I definitely recommend you to pick this up!
From Blood and Ash blurb:
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.
Find it on Goodreads:
About Jennifer L. Armentrout:
# 1 NEW YORK TIMES, # 1 International, and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in West Virginia. She also writes under the name J. Lynn. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write. She shares her home with her husband, his K-9 partner named Diesel and her hyper Border Jack Apollo, and a slew of farm animals that include alpacas, goats, and sheep.
She is well known for her Lux series, Dark Elements and Wicked Series.