Book Title: From Blood and Ash (From Blood and Ash #1)
Author: Jennifer L Armentrout
Published Date: March 30th 2020
Number of Pages: 634 pages
Book Rating: 3.5 stars
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.
Ok, so I felt a bit bad giving this 3 stars. Everyone is raving about it and I went in with very high expectations, and maybe that was the problem. It didn't quite reach those expectations. I was hoping for a new all time favorite and it was more of a "pretty good, lots of potential for future books".
Now this isn't a bad thing per say. I didn't love ACOTAR (the first book in my all time favorite series) at first. It liked it a bit more than this one on the first read but still, not an all time favorite right away. When I read the next book in the ACOTAR series that's when it hit me and I was: "OMG, new.favorite.series".
This is what I am hoping will happen to this series. Also good to note that I feel upon a sort of spoiler before reading this book and it tainted the reading experience for sure since I knew what would happen.
Now let's get into the book. This book is very bloody and very morally gray. How much? Well, at one point someone who is a good guy chops someone into tiny bits, another good guy stabs someone in the heart and hangs him from the ceiling. Then another good guy pins dead bodies to the walls like butterflies. So ya, very gruesome. I think this was one of the things which made me iffy about the book. I understand violence when in battle or when in life or death situations but the violence in this is sometimes unjustified. Some characters which you are meant to love are the most violent and morally grey. If it was the real world they would be serial killers, with no hearts and wanted dead or alive. In this book, well, they are still kind of bad guys even though they are good guys. Part of me if like, "I like them". The other part of me is like, "but do I?"
Everyone goes on about how the love interest is so hot and amazing and swoon worthy. I think for me some of the things this character has done makes it hard for me to agree. Like, I kind of like him but also I kind of think he is a monster. I have nothing against the, 'boy has trauma makes bad mistake, does horrible things, and now is a better person' trope. I sometimes really enjoy it. But this one is 'boy makes bad mistakes, does horrible things, has trauma. Boy embraces it and loves violence, blood and being twisted'.
So ya, many feelings and not sure what to think, who to trust, debating who to like and if I can actually like them, of maybe just appreciate the love story and how the potential couple is a good match.
The love story is one of the things which let me down for the reasons above so that is something which contributed to 3 stars.
As for plot it was interesting! It seems simple but I was trying to explain it to someone and realized it's actually quite complex. I can't say much on it without spoilers but let's just say there is many layers to this story. The author did very well in layering motives, varying interpretations of the worlds history, and other small facts. There is just enough of it to be left with a lot of questions, but not too much that the book is just a mess of questions with no answers.
The ending was OK. It was a bit confusing and this is when the violent, lust driven romance makes an even bigger entrance. Like I said, I was spoiled the ending before I read this so it wasn't as "wow" as it could be.
Now, do I recommend it? I started the second book and I have high hopes for it. I love this author usually and I am intrigued to find answers to my questions and see where the romance goes. So ya, I would recommend giving it a try and seeing what you think. Please note this is NA(new adult) or I could even classify it as Adult. So if you are younger I would suggest not picking it up right away.
This first book didn't blow me away and from the first pages of the second book I can see violence might be even more graphic in this one but I still want to see what happens. Just add that to the conflicted feelings this book makes me feel haha.
That's it for this review! Thank you for reading :)