Overall rating: 4/5
Genre: Adult fantasy, romance
Read if you loved: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas, The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Content warnings: Predatory behavior, physical and psychological abuse, child loss
Okay, I know I said I was taking a fantasy hiatus after the Grishaverse books but here’s what happened. I was depressed while reading The Four Winds and thought it would be good to read something lighter at the same time. I had From Blood and Ash on my kindle and thought, why not? Truly, I did not intend to finish it. At 600+ pages, I thought it would be a great companion read for some of the heavier books I have planned for this month and before I knew it, it was 2 am Saturday night, and I had finished the whole damn thing. And let me tell you…
This book is HOT. Let’s dive into it.
Poppy has never had a choice. Chosen as the Maiden, her life has been one of solitude, enforced further by a multitude of restrictions to mundane activities made available to everyone around her. As she prepares for her Ascension, an event shrouded in secrecy, she feels herself fighting against the bars that cage her in, and questioning every step that has brought her to where she is. Her restlessness only worsens when she meets her new personal guard, Hawke, who threatens to disturb the precarious balance she has long maintained in life. Mesmerizing, gratifying, and straight up steamy, From Blood and Ash hits the mark on every desire that fantasy lovers have come to pursue. Armentrout puts a fresh twist on long-standing mythology and adult fantasy tropes in her new series that you cannot wait to sink your teeth into (pun intended).
I loved almost everything this book had to offer, and a huge part of that is Poppy. What a phenomenal protagonist. It is so fun to be in her head – she is sharp, brave, and oh so relatable. Beyond her personality, her character’s position in the world’s hierarchy in terms of both prestige and isolation adds another dimension to the story that I have not experienced in a while – at least not to this degree. The discontinuity between who she is and how she is perceived really amps up reader engagement and attachment since we all feel like we’re in on her secrets in a way that no one else is. And what a character entrance she has. I was gripped from the very first page because Armentrout wastes no time in showing us who Poppy truly is and if those first few chapters don’t suck you in…I don’t know what to tell you. The plot is action-packed, the characters are well-developed, the banter and sexual tension is *chefs kiss*, and the universe is deeply layered. What more could you want?
Okay but real talk, while the world in From Blood and Ash is very interesting, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t quite confused at many points in the story. I wish the world-building was cleaner, something that perhaps could have been helped with pacing changes, because I still don’t know if I could summarize the nuances pertinent to the universe. It took me a while to get my bearings straight and the reveals at the end felt overwhelming on top of an already shaky understanding of the world. And look, I couldn’t put the book down, but it was also far too long when you get down to the plot itself. The twists were sort of predictable, but I reckon some of that might be because of things I have peripherally picked up on bookstagram. I also felt like the strong character development went a little askew with some of the decision-making at the end of the book…it didn’t quite make sense to me but hey, didn’t stop me from devouring every single word either.
If you love fantasy, especially adult fantasy, this is a book you want to read. I’m still planning on prioritizing my April TBR but I would be lying if I said I’m not intending on catching up on this series before The Crown of Gilded Bones comes out this month. Well, in a few days. And I really cannot wait. Have you read From Blood and Ash? What did you think?