From Blood and Ash is the first book of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s “Blood and Ash” series. A young woman marked as a “Maiden” – someone who cannot be touched or make friends (among other strict rules), falls in love with her guard, Hawke.
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.
When I tell you my heart exploded at the end of this book 😳.
First of all, I was seriously bogged down by all of the info dumps and world building at the beginning of the book. It was tough trying to make sense of what all was going on and why certain things were important. What to expect from the culture of the kingdom in the book. I very nearly DNFed it. I mean I say that a lot lately, because I’m pushing myself to read through the mental or writing/world-building blocks at the beginning because almost every single book I read in November was something that I will end up treasuring for years to come.
And “From Blood and Ash” is no different. For all of its flaws, I also loved so much of this book. Our main character Poppy, the relationship she had with her father-figure and guard Vikter and her personal guard Hawke and how she was so determined to make her own destiny, even when it was thrust upon her when she was a child.
The character building is on point, as well. I really enjoyed watching Poppy and Hawke build trust for each other and eventually fall for each other. Also, if you haven’t heard – there are some definite steamy scenes in this book! It works well, I promise.
The ending, though. This book hurt my damn feelings. There were a few major plot twists near and at the end. Some of them I saw coming, some of them blindsided me. All I gotta say is that I can’t wait to read the next book and there had BETTER be some apologizing 😡.
If you like fantasy like (or don’t mind) steamy on page scenes – snap this book up immediately! It’s my favorite book that I read in November.