Review of Book 1, of the Blood and Ash Series
As Goodreads Choice Awards Best Romance for 2020, From Blood and Ash has been on my TBR some time. The beginning of a saga naturally features prominent world-building, as this dark fantasy paranormal romance pulls from traditional folklore, but Armentrout’s unique twists create something special. Even though the book is a bit long, I found much of it was a bit too much of an info dump setting up the history of this world and family backstory.
The romance troupe starts in typical fashion with Hawke as the hot guard romance lead and Poppy as the untouchable Maiden. However, that is where the typical forbidden love story ends, and the twists begin. Without writing any spoilers, there was a significant change in character for him, but I didn’t think the changes were too shocking considering Armentrout’s hints throughout about Hawke.
Overall, I flew through this story, staying up all night to read it in one sitting. The story was refreshingly feminist, and Poppy could hold her own – both in a fight and talking to people despite being raised as a submissive maiden. Also, Hawke was not the standard alpha male, he respects Poppy and women, and their banter was cute.
However, if you’ve read my reviews, you know I try only to read finished sagas because I hate waiting and cliffhangers, but when I saw the third book recently released in April. I assumed it would be a trilogy, so I jumped in, and now I’m engrossed. Well, you know what they say about people who assume? Because I just discovered that the Author has announced that this series will include six books!
UGH, I can’t wait that long!
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.