“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.”
If you’re a fan of romance and sexual tension, Jennifer L. Armentrout may just be the author for you. I’ve read several of her books in the past, and I’m always astounded by how well she writes chemistry between her characters, and From Blood & Ash was no exception. This was an addictive fantasy romance that I ended up binging in only a couple of days (which is impressive considering it’s over 600 pages!) and I seriously can’t wait to continue on with the rest of the series as soon as possible!
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 honour 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.
While it’s true that this book was slightly predictable and quite slow paced at times, the badass female protagonist and swoon-worthy love interest more than made up for it. This wasn’t a ground-breaking epic fantasy by any means, but it was definitely a fun romance that had me hooked from start to finish. There’s smut, there’s an intriguing plot, and there are fantastic characters. I don’t need much more than that from a fantasy romance and I honestly enjoyed every second of this one.
“Nothing is ever simple. And when it is, it’s rarely ever worth it.”
Poppy is a fantastic heroine. Strong, fierce, and – despite living an extremely sheltered life – a total badass. She lives her life in isolation, never to be spoken to, or touched, or even looked at. The pressure of being the Maiden weighs on Poppy constantly, and all she wants to do is live her life like a normal 18-year-old girl.
The banter and sexual tension between these two characters was an absolute delight, and while it did take a long time for anything to actually develop between them, it was so worth the wait. Hawke is exactly what I look for in a love interest: sexy,
cocky funny, strong, and a little bit of a mystery throughout.
“He filled the air with a certain type of unquantifiable tension, as if the room were electrified. Anyone around him had to be aware of that.”
As I mentioned before, a lot of things in this book are predictable, and the beginning especially is pretty slow paced. But the characters, the dialogue, the romance… all of those things outshone any negative feelings I had about certain aspects of this book. Yes, it’s extremely tropey. Yes, it’s kind of annoying in its predictability. But that cliffhanger? Damn, do I need the second book in my life as soon as possible. If you’re looking for a fun fantasy romance with a whole lot of witty dialogue and sexual tension, look no further. This once definitely comes highly recommended from me.