Review of From Blood and Ash (From Blood and Ash #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is – hands down – one of my favorite reads of the year!
Captivating and action-packed, From Blood and Ash is a sexy, addictive, and unexpected fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Laura Thalassa.
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.
That euphorically happy grin on my face? Sorry, I can’t turn it off because I just finished one of my favorite reads of the year. Hell, one of my favorite reads of all time.
Everything about is book was right, right, right. Totally on point. The world building left me wanting to explore everywhere the story takes us, and all of the places it doesn’t. The web of plot is like following a winding road through the woods. You can’t seem to stop, because you always need to know what’s around the next bend, over the next hill. The pacing and action clasps it’s hand firmly around yours and guides you along, to the point you aren’t following anymore, but racing ahead to see what happens next.
And the romance. Oh the romance. The sweet, tempestuous burn of it. *chefs kiss* Bon appétit. I am more than aware that nobody writes angst and pining quite the way Jennifer L. Armentrout does – she’s a master at it – but I stand solidly in my belief that this is her best yet. Her best romance AND best book. The constant smirking and dimples of a certain … guard … definitely play a part in that belief, too. 😏
I’m also insanely glad I waited a few months to read this one because I don’t know how y’all have been waiting longer for A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire. Y’all have the patience of a saint. 😂 But also bless JLA for making the choice to skip straight past much of traditional publishing’s speed bumps and publish these books quickly and in a manner that gets them into readers’ hands ASAP.
Only so often do you come across a book that checks all of the boxes, hitting every mark, and this is one of those books for me. If you’re reading this and still thinking … “oh but it’s 600+ pages” … please don’t let that stop you. The pacing of this book is faultless … to the point it feels like a fraction of that length.
Now, excuse me while I yearn for the next chapter in Poppy and … Hawke’s story. 😉 Especially after the last sentence.
P.S. I’m already willing to ship Kieran and Tawny. There, I said it. I’m open to the possibility.
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The sequel, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire releases September 1, 2020