Leta’s Book Review: From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Everything about this book surprised me. I went into From Blood Ash knowing very little about the plot, only that it promised a sexy romance and an exciting fantasy world. After the tamer young adult books, I thought From Blood and Ash was exactly the adult read I was looking for.

I was right. Before I go any further into this review, I want to make it very clear that this is an 18+ novel. If you’re under the age of 18, you should not read this book. It contains sexually explicit themes and a couple of questionable themes that could influence younger minds in negative directions. This novel should only be read by people who are mature and able to differentiate between fiction and reality. Because this is definitely fiction, and those questionable themes depend on fictionalized events and extenuating circumstances that could only happen in that fictional world. The reader needs to be able to suspend reality and keep themselves from drawing conclusions and comparisons between the two worlds. Also, look up content warnings since this novel or series might contain sensitive and triggering content.

Alright, that’s the end of my rant. In this review, I’ll talk about the plot and the characters of Poppy and Hawke. As always, I’ll avoid spoilers even if I end up being vague about what happens.

The plot of From Blood and Ash is what I would call a medium level of intricacy. It isn’t as complex as Throne of Glass, but more complex than most young adult novels. This means that I guessed every twist and expected the ending of the novel. I’m also fairly sure I can see how the series is going to end as well. Even though it was easy to guess those reveals, I still enjoyed reading them. It sucked me into the story and I enjoyed reading about it. It was predictable, yes, but it was a good story. At least it wasn’t predictable and boring.

Poppy is a unique character. She is the Maiden–a virginal figure under the protection of the Duke and Duchess of Castle Teerman and of the Queen of Solis. Most of the normal things that a normal young woman could do are forbidden to her. The Duke and Duchess only allow her to wear white and she must wear a veil at all times to conceal her face. As you’d expect, Poppy doesn’t follow a lot of the rules. She pushes boundaries and sneaks out often, disguising herself to keep from being recognized. I think Poppy had the right amount of naivety, which was my concern after hearing about her odd position as the Maiden. She had little to no experience with pretty much everything, and the author paid attention to what would affect Poppy differently because of that. Most of all, how Hawke would affect her differently.

Hawke is the love interest opposite Poppy. He’s an ambitious guard assigned to be her personal guard after an accident befalls the previous one. In a world where looks are everything, Armentrout describes Hawke as extremely handsome, somewhere between the normal humans and the heavenly Ascended. Poppy wonders at one point if he is Ascended, but his eyes aren’t completely black like the other Ascended. I found him to be quite handsome as well and it made reading the romance scenes enjoyable. Otherwise, I didn’t think too much of him before the climax of the novel, where too many spoilers exist. I suspected a few things about him and found him to be strange, yet predictable.

From Blood and Ash was completely a guilty pleasure read for me. I didn’t expect there to be this much plot, honestly, so I was pleasantly surprised that I gave this book 4 stars. Soon after finishing From Blood and Ash, I bought the next book on my Kobo. I couldn’t help it; I need to know what happens next.

If you’re over the age of 18 and want to read an adult fantasy with a lot of sexy scenes, I recommend this novel. It isn’t the best fantasy and doesn’t send the best messages if you look at it through the lens of reality, but it was a great guilty pleasure book. There wasn’t any pressure to read it or like it.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5


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