Title: From Blood and Ash
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Pub. Date: March 31, 2020
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.
This will be a spoiler free review.
How do you write a review for a book when internally you’re like this –
I went into this book freaking excited and already knowing I was going to love it. So, it’s not a shocker that I did love it and having finished it, I’m now dying for book 2. With the way this book ended specifically those last couple pages and especially with that last sentence, I need to know what happens next.
A year long wait is going to be torture.
As torturous as a knife to the chest.
This book had everything I love in a high fantasy – high stakes, bad ass heroines, hot knights, traveling in a dark wood, having to sleep together to share body heat, growing to know each other, allowing yourself to live and have what you want, betrayal, sexy moments, snark, sass and some danger…in this case, in the form of vampires! It also has a few other things I really and truly love, but they’re spoilers, so read the book.
If you’re fans of SJM or Elise Kova, you’re going to absolutely love this book. I also love the freaking resurgence of Vampires in YA/Upper YA. In the last 8 months, I’ve read three new YA vamp books, each bringing something different to the table, and each very enjoyable.
From Blood and Ash does not disappoint and if you’re looking for a high fantasy vamp book, put this on your TBR right now. But, if you’re not necessarily looking for a vamp book, but a high fantasy full of sass, snark, chemistry and some badassery, then you’re going to want to put this book on your TBR.
True to JLA fashion, her characters are full of sass, innuendos, snark, chemistry and honestly chiseled by the hand of a God (seriously, the way I imagine Hawke…phew). I love Poppy so much. She goes through so much, but she doesn’t let the trauma define her. She rises above it, against it and uses her anger to good use. She uses her power to control her life – well, the aspects that she can control.
I think I’ve talked about it before on this blog, but I love it when female characters are tough, are badasses, can whoop any solider in a sword fight. I like it when they curse like sailors, and step into what might be a typical “male role”. I also like when those same female characters have moments of weakness, when they’re more the damsel in distress, when they break down and have these soft, emotional moments.
Don’t get me wrong, I love it when the male characters are the same way. Give me soft, emotional moments from the male characters. But I love it when the female character finally breaks down, and stops holding their shit together, stops being strong, and has to be rescued – whether physically rescued, or just held and comforted. I eat that up.
Anyways, I’ve digressed. Let’s talk about Hawke, because holy hell, he might be my new favorite JLA character.
If you liked Roth, if you liked Seth, if you liked Daemon then you’ll love Hawke…though, he puts all three of them to shame. Easily. He’s full of innuendos and dirty thoughts, he’s kind of a glutton for punishment, he pushes buttons unabashedly and he doesn’t let you forget he’s in the room. He’s sexy, in your face and he’s got a thing for Poppy.
I love them.
I will say that I had a little trouble picturing the world – not the specifics, those came to life in my mind – but geographically, I didn’t quite understand the world. I should mention I read an eBook version of this book, so I’m not actually sure if there is a map in this book. I kept having this feeling that it was set in an alternate, or fictitious Europe? I have no idea if that’s accurate, or if it’s a completely made up land. It kind of seemed like it pulled from Greek/Roman mythology, which I’m not complaining about in the slightest, but it made it a little difficult for me to really pinpoint the world. On a whole though, I really liked the world, and the history Jen created. Not entirely sure I’d want to live there, but hey, right now anywhere is better than being stuck at home.
I also really, and I mean really enjoyed the twists in this book. I had my suspicions about a certain character very early on in the book, and when my suspicion proved to be true, I was so damn excited. I was giddy. At no point was I dreading that I would be right. I freaking wanted to be right and I was and now I really, really need book 2 because I really need to know what happens next for Poppy.
So much was brought to light at the end of this book and it flips everything you think you understand as a reader and it was fantastic. I really think Jen outdid herself on this one. I wish I could wipe my mind and reread it for the first time, because omfg. I started this book at like 1:30 AM the other night (because I was tired of waiting to start it, late hour be damned) and I’m pretty sure I stopped reading when the birds started chirping and light was coming in through my window. Then I slept for a few hours, woke up, and went right back to reading. Don’t be like me and start reading at in the middle of the night, but be prepared to read this in one sitting, despite its size because you won’t want to put it down.
This book is already out, so I don’t know what you’re waiting for. You need to read this book; you want to read this book. JLA hits it out of the park with her first foray into High Fantasy, and if you’ve been a fan of her other books, this one isn’t going to disappoint.