There are a lot of books that I am behind of in the hyped category, so yes I am just now getting to this series and Jennifer L Armentrout altogether. When it comes to the Fantasy Romance genre I’m actually surprised it took me this long to finally jump on board and give this series and author a try. Is there a reason it took me this long to give it a go? Besides that this doesn’t seem to be an author readily sold at the local Barnes and Noble, I honestly don’t know why I never encountered these books or had them readily talked about until Instagram hit me with a million posts about it. This is me fixing that, okay??
From Blood and Ash is a Paranormal Fantasy Romance that follows Poppy, the Maiden, a role that places her at the center of an event called the ascension. It’s supposedly a position of honor, but for her it’s one of imprisonment and punishment with no clear reason as to why she was chosen or what will really happen to her. Questioning though doesn’t exactly mean rebelling as she does her best to follow the rules set before, all while secretly finding a few freedoms along the way. One of her nights of freedom though leads to a mysterious guard, and possibly the truth she’s been seeking the entire time.
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
This was a whirlwind for me, it didn’t start that way, but good gosh this book took over my thoughts as I got further and further until I finished and questioned why I hadn’t gotten the next book before that point in time. I love that feeling, but it was pure torture waiting for the second book to arrive in the mail. I literally ended From Blood and Ash and stewed in a weird misery for several days because it wasn’t enough time to start another book. That was a wicked book hangover, and writing this now (having read another book in the series) I’m thinking this series is just going to be like that for me.
To begin with, this was a 600+ page book, but the way it was written left you wanting it to be a lot longer. I swear, there haven’t been a lot of books in that page range that went as fast as this one did, especially with no background in this series to start, and not being as action packed as the Red Rising series. From the moment we learn who Poppy is, and her little escape times this story pulled me in, and kept me interested. There’s world building that’s really well done, and a society that is slowly unraveled to us as Poppy begins to understand what’s really going on, but it’s pretty seamless. It doesn’t hit you in a wave of info dumps and it’s given in a way that feels in tune with where Poppy is in the story. This is honestly one of the styles of world building I love, since you are learning with the character and piecing everything together in real time. It also made some of the big reveals that much more impactful as you realize just how bad some things truly were, or how little Poppy understood somethings.
Beyond the well paced story telling, the characters are perhaps what keep you glued to the pages. Poppy from the beginning is really interesting, and is really well written. She’s naive and easily influenced, but in all the ways that are entirely credible given her restrictive upbringing. There’s a part of me that questions how she hasn’t just given in at some point, but I’ve never thought myself to be the type to survive any fiction scenario anyway. She’s an altogether easy heroine to follow and at the right mix of still learning, but also clearly can hold her own. Her friendships with those around her is also well written, showing how all of them have subtly kept those bonds going, even while it’s restricted by those in power. The moment Hawke enters the group, or even the reader’s radar we know that he’s going to become a big part of her world, though it isn’t clear entirely just how that’ll work or what that’ll mean. He’s rebellious, handsome, and mysterious, all things that spell trouble for the heroine, and boy did that show some truth in this story. These two didn’t have a slow build-up romance wise, but when it really took off this book got steamy, and it was hard to be anti-Poppy/Hawke (not that I ever was). You just immediately start backing these two characters, and hoping they’ll help each other out. I’m a sucker for a good romance in Fantasy, and this series will definitely be one of those that simply highlights how easily I fall for that.
This was the perfect Paranormal romance to start the year off, though it may be one of the hardest to move past, so not sure yet if it’s helping my reading challenge overall. I was lost in this story, and unable to put this down at all, so if you are looking for that addictive Fantasy Romance to get your year going this is definitely it. I’m already deep into the series at this point, and hooked, so you know this one is making it to a recommendations list down the line.