From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash, # 1)
By: Jennifer L Armentrout
Publication: March 30th 2020 by Blue Box Press
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: Personal Kindle Library
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Goodreads description--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.
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.
So I've had two separate friends message me to tell me that I HAD to read this book. I wasn't in a rush because I was in the middle of a different JLA series. When I didn't get approved for book 2 of that series for review, I put it on hold and moved on to other books. Plus the 2nd friend warned me about content as she knows I'm not the biggest fan of descriptive content. Amazon gave me a $5 gift card for reading in November. (I mean, do they know me at all? Just continue to throw money at me Amazon. I don't mind.) So I used it to purchase From Blood and Ash, and I went into this book prepared for too much description. Perhaps my expectations were off. Certainly, the content exists, but it wasn't quite as bad as I expected it to be.
Poppy is the Maiden. She's gifted with the ability to feel others' pain. I'm not sure if it is the gift exactly that makes her the Maiden or not. That wasn't 100% clear. What also isn't clear is what being the Maiden means for the kingdom. She's a symbol and supposedly important for the future, but how so wasn't clear. I'm not even sure Poppy knew the reason either. But being the Maiden means she has to live differently from everyone else. She has to be veiled. She can't have any close relationships. She's not sure she even wants to be the Maiden. She does know that she just wants an opportunity to live and a choice of what happens in her life.
Poppy's attention is continually drawn to a new guard that works his way up the ranks until he becomes one of two personal guards for her. Hawke shows interest in her as a person. What her dreams are beyond her duty. She intrigues him and is continually surprising him. The two develop a connection with significant tension between them.
Twists abound in From Blood and Ash, but to be honest, none of them surprised me except the very last sentence of the book. But I found that I didn't even mind because the story was so engrossing that I was sucked in. I don't feel like this is anything spoiler related, but I also found the take on fantasy creatures unique-ish. Vampires and werewolves and maybe even zombie-ish creatures. All of it was new yet not.
-...but lust was not love, it was not loyalty, and it was not long lasting.
-"I won’t ever prevent you from lifting a sword to protect your life or those you care about,” he said. “But I won’t let you shove that sword through your own heart to prove a point.”
From Blood and Ash was every bit as good as my two friends indicated. Yes, there is language and content if that's something you'd like to know about ahead of time, but my expectations were off due to warnings from my friend so I was actually expecting more than there was. I wasn't surprised by hardly anything within the story that I imagine were intended to be twists, but I didn't mind because the story and the characters made everything come alive. The cliffhanger ending had me dying to break down and purchase book 2 immediately. From Blood and Ash gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read From Blood and Ash ? What did you think? Let me know!