From Blood and Ash
“Fear and bravery are often one and the same. It either makes you a warrior or a coward. The only difference is the person it resides inside.”
From Blood and Ash is written from the perspective of Poppy, a nearly-19-year-old girl who has been raised from birth to believe that she is ‘The Maiden’ – the one chosen by the Gods, who holds the key to the future of everybody in their country. Being ‘The Maiden’ means she must be veiled at all times, as no one may look upon her face, and that she must withdraw from all pleasures and be confined to her room for most of the time, except for important causes, lessons with the head priestess and an evening walk she is allowed with her guard.
However, Poppy longs for freedom and the choice to experience small pleasures, to live her life. A new guard called Hawke is assigned to her and he is clearly powerful, a skilled fighter, and beautiful; he seems to have either amazing talent or powerful friends, because despite his young years, he works his way up to his position as her guard, which is a very coveted role with access to power.
Poppy and Hawke begin to bond, despite the rules against it, and she finds herself falling for him, experiencing an existential crisis over her feelings and her duty. But, this, by no means, is the extent of the story. In fact, these events are only the prelude to a cataclysm of chaos that will shake this world and Poppy’s future, and many layers of secrets that only time and research will reveal. Perhaps one of the most amazing features of this book are the sharp twists and dramatic drops.
“You’re an absolutely stunning, murderous little creature.”
I had an inkling of an idea about where this book was going when beginning it, or rather – when Hawke was introduced – but, I have to say, I only had a small part considered and this story branched out like veins from a heart.
“What I felt was… it was messy and raw. I hated him, and… I didn’t. I cared for him, as idiotic as that was. And I wanted him—his kiss, his touch. But I also wanted to hurt him. We weren’t lovers. We were enemies, and we could never be anything else.”
Tropes & Types
Character/plotline tropes and types you might have seen before that feature – or are similar to – the content in this book.
Tragic Backstory, Antihero, Orphan, Hero antagonist twist, Fierce women, Naive women, Bad boy, Secretly good villain
Chosen One, Undiscovered Power, Vampires, Waiting Evil, Parents are Dead, Evil government, Secret royalty
The romance was *swoon*-worthy, with beautiful lines and yet, underneath, understanding, hate, passion, love, lust and more. And it was SEXY. Good gods, bring a fan, girl, because you’re going to get hot. There are some steamy scenes with some mad tension, and passion with hate and lust that’s gonna consume you. And, without revealing everything, it was kind of like falling in love twice.
Armentrout’s world-building was intriguing, using a premise that has been explored in many ways before, yet somehow in a completely original framework. And their relationships? The banter? The dialogue between characters, it just flowed effortlessly. It felt real, it felt real enough to make you doubt your sanity. Some of it was hilarious.
The relationships were built beautifully, and you didn’t doubt a single one of them, whether bad or good. Every time you might question something in this book, or think…. ‘is that a plot hole’ the author will go back and MAKE. SURE. that you understood, by questioning the entire world. It’s seamless, flawless, diamond-tier.
“I am not a good man. But I am trying to be right now.”
WOW. I came in with few expectations, and thought I had it all figured by about page 50, but boy, was I wrong… this was more than addictive. You cannot put it down once you start, let me warn you. This book will get your adrenaline pumping, your curiosity peaked and your heart madly attached.
Poppy was… well, I fell a little bit in love with her. That is, I think she is an easy person for anybody to resonate with in some way, because she feels trapped, and wishes for so much more, yearning for the freedom to experience life. But, despite her sheltered lifestyle, she is in no way shy or fearful. She is brave, brazen and a risk-taker. She is a fighter, and she’s fierce. She is innocent, and a little naïve in some ways, but one can understand why considering she’s spent most of her life locked in a room. However, she actively acknowledges that she’s naïve and seeks to change it. She barges in headfirst, despite the wicked things in her life, and cares without question. And when her heart is broken, when her world is shattered, I, as the reader, felt so drawn in that I broke a little for her.
“Death is like an old friend who pays a visit, sometimes when it’s least expected and other times when you’re waiting for her. It’s neither the first nor the last time she’ll pay a visit, but that doesn’t make any death less harsh or unforgiving.”
Hawke… well, Hawke is so fucking frustratingly annoyingly horrible and loveable. Without giving too much away, the author really wrote him with such depth, an ingrained dark outlook on life and troubled past that still reflects some of the crazy, dangerous choices he makes now and his lack of concern for his own safety. He is flawed, he is bad, he is passionate, he is annoying… he has an ego the size of Russia and he knows it… but he is also good… he is real.
The Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
From Blood and Ash (Book #1)
Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Book #2)
The Crown of Gilded Bones (Book #3)
“With my sword and with my life, I vow to keep you safe, Penellaphe,” he spoke, voice deep and smooth, reminding me of rich, decadent chocolate. “From this moment until the last moment, I am yours.”
I sat for a while, trying to come up with some ‘cons’ for this review of From Blood and Ash. Like, brain-scratching, question-marks above head. I know others found the start slow… and I didn’t. However, I don’t mind a slow book. But I definitely agree that the start of this book is MUCH slower than everything after the catalytic events. Once the big curtain has dropped, the plotline takes off like a Space-X shuttle. So, I suppose, if the faster half of the book is what you find perfect, then the start is slow in comparison.
“His words had touched the deepest part of me, and it was thrilling. I felt alive, like I was finally waking up.”
From Blood and Ash is a recent read, but it has up onto my All Time Favourites list, and might be one of my favourite books ever. I was a fan of the ‘Lux’ series as a young adult, and cannot fault Jennifer L. Armentraut’s writing, but this series has blown Lux out of the country. The black, white, and shades of grey within this morally encaptivating piece will intrigue you. The writing was without fault, the story was layered and detailed with surprising plot twists that were impossible to guess correctly. The characters will stay with me for a long time, their relationship so complicated and passionate… and the sexual tension, *whew*!
To summarise, if you’re asking ‘Should I read this book’ the answer is ‘absolutely hell yes’, unless you hate: badass girls who’ve been wronged, lust-love-hate-lust-hate-love-hate relationships, and, creative worlds with blood, betrayal and magic. Fair warning – you will NOT be able to put this book down. You will likely become obsessed with it. You’ll get drawn in so deep that you’ll forget that you’re not Poppy. You’re going to fall in love, and your heart is going to be broken. But… live a little. DO IT. If you like fantasy and/or romance, you should add this book to your to read list. Or, just get ahead and buy it now on Amazon.
“From Blood and Ash… We will rise.”