From Blood And Ash: Book Review

One good one thing came out of 2020… this book 😎

Name: From Blood And Ash

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Published: 2020

Song: Ashes by Stellar

A Maiden…
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.
A Duty…
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.
A Kingdom…
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.
Synopsis from Goodreads


I was so excited to read this. From its publish in late march, I’d heard so many raving reviews about ‘From Blood And Ash’ that I really wanted to try it – booktok does turn out some brilliant recommendations every so often. And it didn’t disappoint!

This fantasy romance follows Poppy, the ‘maiden’ in her deeply religious Kingdom. She’s received an increasing number of death threats leading up to her mysterious ‘Ascension’, so the Duke and Duchess hire a new Royal Guard to look after her. Who just so happens to be really fit – yes, it’s that type of book! But it also wasn’t? I don’t read that many princess-and-hot-guard books, but the first thing that set From Blood And Ash apart from them was the heroine, Poppy. And whilst I’m not saying that it wasn’t a princess-I-need-to-guard-you-even-when-you’re-in-the-bath novel (more on that later), Poppy was different.

One thing I wasn’t expecting: how the whole book was surprisingly feminist, Poppy included. What’s more, she could hold her own – both in a fight and when talking to people. Poppy didn’t make (that) many decisions that had me yelling at the pages which was refreshing for the heroine in a fantasy romance. There was no ‘I let out a breath I didn’t know I’d been holding‘ moments. Hawke didn’t always have to rescue her! He respects Poppy! He had a fun, healthy relationship with her!

Or does he?

“Death is like an old friend who pays a visit, sometimes when it’s least expected and other times when you’re waiting for her. It’s neither the first nor the last time she’ll pay a visit, but that doesn’t make any death less harsh or unforgiving.”

FROM BLOOD AND ASH

My first impression of the love interest: Hawke is a bit of a womanizer but I’ll let it go because, well, that’s his character. Plus, sometimes you need a bit of a one-track love interest – it makes for good dialogue 😉. And consistently, the dialogue was brilliant. But sometimes the bits between, the fighting and some of the world building, was a bit boring. Some scenes are flipping amazing but to make a good book great you need to have consistency with the great scenes. ‘From Blood And Ash’ was sooooo long that there were a few scenes I felt could be cut. But then again, I liked how much time was spent building up the side characters (Poppy’s maid Tawny was hilarious) and the relationship between Poppy and Hawke. Hawke… who is supposed to be the focus of this paragraph. Oops (I get side tracked so much when blogging 😬). Will now continue!

WARNING: This next paragraph contains spoilers for the end of the book. Just skip onto the next paragraph. You have been warned!

AGHSHHF: the plot twist. I just… I don’t think it was necessary. Whilst it was unwelcome, I saw it coming – their relationship was probably too good to be true and there needed to be some conflict to fill 100 pages. But Armentrout had put so much work into building Hawke (I’m gonna keep calling him that because I’m not sure what he’ll be called in the next book!) into this multi-layered character that the reader empathised with and liked… but then she was like SIKE! Possessive, aggressive and a bit rapey – he basically embodied the reason I don’t normally like these type of books. The love interests often make me uncomfortable with the explicit absence of consent because ‘they know better’ – all qualities I’d previously admired both the book and Hawke for not possessing. And it felt like such a shame because, so far, the book HAD BEEN SO DAMN GOOD! The reveal of Hawke’s ‘true self?’ was the single reason that my rating dropped from a five to four to four stars within a matter of pages. Maybe it’s too much to ask (who am I kidding, it’s the first book in a fantasy trilogy, of course it’s not going to end well) but I wanted them to stay in their fun happy relationship 😦

Also, Armentrout really wanted to squeeze in as many tropes as possible. The Ascension thing was really intriguing and different… but nO they’re all vampires. Of course. Why is it always vampires? Or uncomfortable power dynamics where one person is so much older and more experienced than the other. But, whilst I be get a bit too hung up on the political side of it all, I guess some readers might really enjoy the relationship change – I guess it mixed it all up a but for the second book. I’m so interested to hear what other people thought, let me know in the comments!

Okay, now you’re safe! Carry on 🙂

To be honest, I think the main reason I was so irritated by the plot twist was because I was absolutely loving the book and didn’t want any change. Don’t get me wrong: From Blood And Ash is really good.
Not just in a 😏😏 way (although there’s that too *winks*) but Poppy experienced REALISTIC HUMAN EMOTIONS which is all I ever want from a fantasy heroine. Plus, she’s not super annoying which is always a plus – and it’s humorous. Really funny and very enjoyable. I don’t know if it says something about the quality of the writing that the entire trilogy is coming out in little under a year, but I have A Kingdom Of Flesh And Fire on the way and am incredibly excited to read it. I’d love to hear your opinions on both that and this book in the comments!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Published by Hundreds&Thousands

I’m a teenager (and a Hufflepuff) from Manchester. I like oversized jumpers, music that isn't on the radio anymore and books. Pretty much any book I can get my hands on but my favourites are Young Adult, fantasy and science fiction. One day, I decided to share some of my opinions on some great - and not so great - books to people around the world. And here it is! I really enjoy it and I hope you do too. The aim is hundreds and thousands of book reviews (see what I did there?) but I’m not quite up to that. Yet.

38 thoughts on “From Blood And Ash: Book Review

    1. Thanks!! Yesss I really hope you enjoy it – it was one of those books that you thought would be amazing… and then is even better! I don’t know if that’s happened to you or makes sense lol but I’m trying to say… it’s really good! Hope you enjoy 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love your review! I loved this book so much and I’m itching already to read it again. But I cannot WAIT for you to read the second book. If you enjoyed this one, I assure you, you’ll love the second even more!

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  2. I loved every minute of this book, and yet I still might have loved the second one even more, so I hope you love it when you pick it up!! Great review!

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  3. Great review! Agree fully with Poppy and Tawney! They both were fantastic characters…I could even take a side novella of them just having fun with each other that takes place before the first novel or even during the first, as they had a great friendship. 🙂

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  4. Your review is SPOT ON!! I felt utterly betrayed and lied to when we learned *stuff* about Hawke! Was his charming and nice personality all a lie? I also didn’t love this book as much as I wanted too because of the plot twist. But yes Poppy was the book’s saving grace and she deserves all that is well and good in the world! I can’t wait to see how she evolves in this new world knowing everything she does. I can’t wait to see her reunion with her brother! So many intriguing parts. Fantastic review!

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    1. Thankyou so much!! Yesss poppy was the books saving grace 😂 I just really loved her character? And yeah I’d totally forgotten about her brother, I can’t wait to see what happened to him too!

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  5. Great review! I like your opinion on Poppy. She really could hold her own which I appreciated. I was getting tired of damsels in distress. But I also liked that she wasn’t super skilled and powerful. She was still a normal girl who’d had self defense training. Overall this wasn’t a bad book, but Hawke was also the reason I docked stars. I enjoyed his character until we found out who he really was and, like you said, his whole character changed. From that point I couldn’t stand him and the way he treated Poppy. It was really possessive and made me cringe. But great review, loved reading your thoughts! – Amber

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    1. Thankyou! That’s an interesting point – I hadn’t really thought about how she wasn’t super powerful, but know I do it makes me like her more. She did have some moments where I was skeptical that that’s how she’s have acted (you’re getting with this evil man whose *just* betrayed you?) and I agree that Hawke was a bit cringey haha. He felt very tropey… but I guess that doesn’t have to be a bad thing? I’ll be interested to see if he gets any better (or worse 😬 ) in the second book…

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      1. Yeah I was super skeptical with her and how she acted too. Especially after she stabs him. It just didn’t make sense to me. And yeah it doesn’t have to be a bad thing that he’s tropey. Some tropes are really good and work. I genuinely hope he gets better in the second book, unless there’s a switch up and she gets a different love interest.

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      2. That would be interesting! I dont think I’ve ever read a book that had a love interest swap around – like of a new character who was introduced later on in the books. Im excited to read the next book but I wonder how their relationship could progress? They’ve already passed a lot of ‘milestones’ (awkward wink) and then he betrayed her? I’m not even sure what she’ll call him haha. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

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  6. Great review! I definitely agree with you about Hawke. I liked him until those stupid alpha-male tendencies you commonly find in romance books started to pop up. *sigh*
    I actually went into this knowing it was about vampires (not sure what I would have thought if I didn’t) but I still found a lot of the plot points surrounding this very predictable, especially the Hawke thing. I guess this is what happens when, as you said, there are heaps of tropes.

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    1. It really was very tropey!! And that’s not always a bad thing (I do love me a bit of ‘there’s only one bed!’ scenes) but it just felt very unoriginal? Yeah, I wonder if my perception of the plot twist would have changed if I’d already known that it was about vampires… But Hawke was a really fun character until his ‘true self’ was revealed, so I guess that’s why it annoyed me so much? Thanks for sharing your opinions 🙂

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  7. Great review! I agree with you! I finished A kingdom of Flesh and Fire a few weeks ago and I had so many problems with it but overall it’s a good book! I can’t wait for the third book! If you want, check my review of A kingdom of Flesh and Fire (I tried not to give to many spoilers) eheh

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  8. Agree with everything you said that PLOT TWIST had my mouth gapping for about 100 pages and omg I am just not over and my neck hurts from the character whiplash it caused me!!!! Still need to pick up book 2 because I’ve been putting it off after that ENDING?!? Awesome review 🙂

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    1. ‘My neck hurts from the character whiplash’ 😂 I love it! YEEESS I was so conflicted after the plot twist (because did I really want to see how it turned out?) but I did try the second book eventually. Personally, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first one but I hope you do if you try it!

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