Hi everyone! I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve written a review for a book that wasn’t an ARC, so I decided that today is the day that I’m going to sit down and actually write some reviews. It’s been a while since I actually finished From Blood and Ash, but I’m hoping that will actually help me out instead of hindering me. I find that usually right after I finish a book the ending influences my rating, because if I really enjoyed it chances are I won’t be able to remember all the things I didn’t like about a book!
From Blood and Ash
by Jennifer L Armentrout
Series: Blood and Ash #1
Release date: March 20th 2020
Genre: Fantasy, New Adult, 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.
This is the first book by Jennifer L Armentrout that I’ve ever read, so I wasn’t sure what to really expect going in but everyone was saying that they love Poppy and Hawke on the same level that they love Feyre and Rhysand, so my expectations were fairly high based on that alone. I ended up not really liking the romance all that much towards the end, but I’m willing to see where everything goes in the second book!
This world is really interesting, and the idea of these creatures that come with the mists was intriguing. For the majority of the book I was really confused about the history of the world and who the Ascended are, but things got a lot clearer towards the end of the book, although I still have some questions about how things work in this world, especially what the purpose of the Maiden is because I’m still a little confused about it.
I did also really like the relationship that Poppy had with Hawke, although I wasn’t as much of a fan of it towards the second half of the book for reasons I’ll get into at the bottom of this review in my spoilers section. I also liked Poppy as a character and how everyone tended to underestimate her just because of the role she’s been put into as the Maiden, but in reality she’s so badass!
At first I thought that a lot of scenes that happened were pointless and didn’t influence the plot in any way, but then towards the end we get the reasoning behind each of those scenes and it makes so much more sense! This is definitely one of those books that you need to finish in order to get the full picture, because even if you DNF it 80% through it you would still be missing critical information.
I also don’t understand the inclusion of the gods in this, because I felt like they never really played a role in the story and no one ever tried to explain them, they were just kind of…there.
That’s all I can really say about this book without going into spoilers, so the next section will definitely be spoiling some things for the book! If this is as far as you’re reading, I think this book would be good for fantasy romance fans!
Okay, I’m going to start this off with something that would be extremely obvious if you read other reviews, or have read other books by this author, but isn’t something that’s given to us in the synopsis. This book 100% is about vampires and werewolves, and I wasn’t expecting it at all! The way all the creatures are described isn’t like your typical vampire or werewolf until you get to a big reveal towards the last third of the book, so you can imagine how shocked I was when that particular twist arrived!
The other big spoiler thing that made me drop a star from my rating is actually Hawke. At the beginning, I was thoroughly invested in him and Poppy. Then when the reveal I mentioned above happens, Hawke’s personality completely changed and he became this complete asshole who controls every aspect of Poppy and her life, and SHE JUST GOES ALONG WITH IT. I absolutely hated how strong and independent Poppy was and once she gets that freedom, Hawke takes it away from her and she just goes along with it willingly because he’s good in bed. And then Hawke takes her prisoner and the book ends with him being like, I’m taking you back to my home so I can force you to marry me and Poppy is just like, okay! Even after finding out that he’s the guy she’s been told to fear her whole life. I just don’t understand how she can go from this intelligent, strong woman into this girl who forgives her shitty boyfriend for everything even though she keeps telling herself she hates him and wants to escape, the minute he touches her or looks at her she suddenly loves him again.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bad boy love story, but this went far beyond that into the territory of an abusive relationship and I am so not here for that. I would’ve been so here for a romance between the heroine and the villain, but I just don’t like how Hawke ended up treating Poppy towards the end. The romance had great potential in the first half, but it threw it all away to become…whatever this is.
I’m hoping that the second book Poppy starts to stand up for herself and Hawke becomes less of an asshole to her, but only time will tell!