Title: From Blood and Ash
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrount
Publisher: Blue Box Press
Audience: New Adult
Genre: Fantasy Romance
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.
I knew that I would love From Blood and Ash heading into it, but I didn’t realise I would love it this much. Fantasy Romance is a genre that I am currently diving into, and I love it so far. I am very much a character and relationship reader, and From Blood and Ash had everything that I wanted and more.
The characters in From Blood and Ash were characters that I connected to, which meant I was invested in their story from the very beginning. I loved Poppy as the main character and the way she rebelled against the rules that had been imposed on her. Hawke is a great love interest, and I think there is still more to be learned about his background. I also felt very attached to the side characters, which does not always happen, but it made me more interested in the story, and how it would play out. The side characters added some depth that was necessary to keep the story moving forward without it getting stuck.
As From Blood and Ash is a fantasy romance book, I can’t not mention the romance between Poppy and Hawke. I loved the chemistry and sexual tension between them from the first page, which followed through until the very end. I can’t wait to see where it will go in the future as there is room for a significant amount of development.
With some fantasy romance books that I have read, there is not a great deal of plot, but that was not an issue within From Blood and Ash. The plot is well thought out and flows nicely throughout the book. At no point did I find myself getting bored or distracted; I was always engaged and couldn’t wait to see how it would play out. I have to admit that I did guess all of the plot twists pretty early on, but that didn’t detract from my reading experience. It is probably because I have read so many fantasy books, so it takes a lot to surprise me.
From Blood and Ash is a high fantasy, so I particularly enjoyed the world building. There were a couple of info-dumps at the beginning of the book, but I feel like that helped with my understanding of the world, rather than detracting from it. I am a reader that likes to know all the background and the setting before really diving into the story, but I can see how that may be annoying for other readers.
I will definitely be picking up more Jennifer L. Armentrout books in the future because I loved this one so much. I hope that the sequel A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire lives up to all the hype that I have now placed on it.
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