Monday, 25 May 2020

From Blood and Ash - Review

Book Review:
Title: From Blood and Ash
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Blue Box Press

“Fear and bravery are often one and the same. It either makes you a warrior or a coward. The only difference is the person it resides inside.”

A Maiden… 
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. 
A Duty… 
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. 
A Kingdom…
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 don’t know what it is, but there’s something really comforting about reading a Jennifer L. Armentrout book. Whenever I pick up a book of hers, I just know I’m going to enjoy it. I loved the Lux series (I’ve reread it about 3 times) and the Covenant series. I also really enjoyed many of her other books. And From Blood and Ash was no different. I fell into the story immediately and read it from front to back in about 2 days.

I can’t believe that this is actually JLA’s first fantasy book. Like, what? I don’t know why, but a part of me thought she had written a fantasy book before, but evidently, I was wrong.

I think this was a great introduction for JLA into the fantasy world. She managed to encompass many well-loved fantasy elements.  The story does move fairly slowly, at least in my eyes. But I never really had an issue with that, because like I said, I have always been able to immerse myself into her stories effortlessly and quickly – personally I find her books incredibly easy to read. That’s not to say that the writing is ‘simple,’ by any means, it just flows really well and allows the reader to fully engage with the story. Although I will say, the first couple chapters of the book can be quite world-building heavy, so try to push through if you’re struggling with it.

The plot and storyline in this book were also a sure positive for me. Albeit moving a little slow, I was super interested in unravelling the story and getting to the bottom of understanding the life Poppy was living and how it all came to be. We have your classic fantasy characters/creatures in From Blood and Ash, but I like how JLA kind of put her own spin on it – so while it can seem like your typical fantasy novel, it actually felt a little fresh to me, which I appreciated.

Poppy is our main character and she lives quite the sheltered life due to her ‘status’ and therefore you’d expect her to be a little reserved or shy, but she really holds her own. She’s a fighter, in both the metaphorical and literal sense, a rebel, brave but also has an air of innocence around her.
We also have Hawke, who is obviously the love interest. He’s your typical YA/NA (note: this book is definitely New Adult/Adult) male: Charming, cocky, a little broody, but he’s also smart and loyal and really allows Poppy to embrace her true self and encourages her to take control of her life. These two together had some fun witty banter I enjoyed. But I think I really started loving their dynamic closer to the middle-ish/end of the book, you know, the part where shit usually starts hitting the fan.

And for that reason, the ending was a highlight for me. The last 10-ish chapters were thrilling as hell and I flew through them. That was the part where things and revelations started clicking and all the pieces fell into place. The ending of From Blood and Ash also sets us up so well for the sequel, and with the way things ended, the sequel has the potential to be so much wilder and thrilling than this one – I’m so excited!

In all, From Blood and Ash can be a little slow and confusing with its worldbuilding, but personally, I had no problems immersing myself into the world. It’s definitely a book that gets better the deeper you get into it!

4 Stars

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