Hi! Thanks for being here. I'm starting a monthly series where I review my favorite books. As an author, it's so important for me to read widely both inside my genre and outside it. Today's book, From Blood and Ash, is one of my favorites that I've read lately! There's so much to be learned from this fantasy novel. Let's dive in!
What's it about?
Poppy is the Maiden, chosen from birth to usher in a new era. Her title is a gilded cage, and her life is not her own. She is never to be touched, looked upon, or spoken to. She waits for the day of her Ascension, but she'd rather be fighting the evil that took her family.
When Hawke, the golden-eyed guard is assigned to her protection until her Ascension, Poppy questions everything she believes in.
But a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what's theirs, and the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.
What I Loved
Poppy is such a fun protagonist. I loved the dichotomy of her suppressed, sheltered life and her fierce warrior attitude despite her circumstances. And Hawke is simply swoon-worthy (and he gets better after book one).
A lot of reviews said that the plot was predictable, but I didn't think so. I loved the twists and turns, especially in the last 25% of the book. I also loved Armentrout's overall worldbuilding. Poppy's world offers a rich history and a believable social hierarchy.
I also loved that even though this is a fantasy story with pretty much nothing similar to real life, the dialogue and descriptions are so... contemporary? I could picture a lot of the conversations happening on the street in any city in the world, which was a really fun contrast that I enjoyed!
What I didn't love
Guys, it takes some time to get into this book. The first half is LONG. There's a lot of description, a lot of history, and a lot of info dumps. I think it's mostly because Armentrout is setting up a massive world that she'll continue to explore throughout the rest of the series.
In terms of a "book one" start to a series, I think the pace could have picked up a lot faster. I'm sure this book loses a lot of readers in the first half, which is a shame. I slogged through the slow parts and I am SO GLAD I did!
It's worth the wait. Poppy and Hawke are a dream team, and they just keep getting better.
This book (and overall series) is 100% worth the read. Will you struggle through the first part of book one? Probably. But you'll love Poppy's character arc and the twists and turns in her life and the world around her. It's a roller coaster ride and it's worth the long wait at the beginning!
If you're considering this book for your TBR, I recommend you give it a try. Give it until like 60% and then let me know what you think.
Have you read it already? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below! Let's chat about it.