From Blood and Ash
(Blood and Ash #1)
by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Always late to the party and wearing last year’s fashion, I feel as though I’ve missed the boat on this series. On reflection though, perhaps NOT being drawn into the hype and furore allowed me to enjoy this book in an honest and open minded way, free of unreasonable expectation.
Despite the first half of this being more like a 3.5 star read, because whilst it didn’t drag per se I was just wanting something a little more… exciting to happen, the last 40% was so out of this world brilliant that I’m rounding up my 4.5 rating to a 5. Because I can! And because although I was restless at times, I also appreciated how that time was spent introducing the main protagonists and building a picture of Poppy’s world and life. It’s maybe not the “cleverest” of plots, one not full of complicated and interwoven sub-plots, but the imagery of the prose, the well crafted protagonists and the depth of emotion that is conveyed all added up to make a truly thrilling and captivating opening installment.
Whilst it’s fairly easy to guess Hawke’s secret I’m going to take that as a deliberate move since the author all but has a flashing neon sign pointing the way. As a book friend pointed out only recently, sometimes the obvious plot twist was never really a twist because the author meant for you to guess, and I feel that may well be true for this book. The excitement was in wondering how the revelation would play out, the suspense of not knowing how Poppy would react, the mystery of what consequences follow the truth being revealed. Because the truth is that, like a pebble tossed into a pond, the after effects of the reveal touch all aspects of the story, just as the ripples spread across the surface of the water.
It would be totally remiss of me to complete the review but not mention the chemistry between Hawke and Poppy. Intense doesn’t even begin to describe it. Hot enough to melt diamonds, I felt as though I could reach out and touch the sexual tension it was so potent. Given how the book ended, I’m fairly certain we will see lots of sparks and fireworks between these two. If it wasn’t for the fact that this is part of a buddy read, and I have other commitments, I would be jumping straight into book #2. Irritatingly I have to wait until next month for that one – I’m not sure if my resolve will hold out that long!
And if anyone is interested here were my thoughts at 56%
Almost since we first met him I’ve had my suspicions about Hawke and have just given in to the temptation to check out spoilers and yep he is who I thought.
The only reason I gave into that impulse is that this book is like wading though treacle (something similar to molasses). It’s not that the writing is bad, just that the author seems to believe in the tenet of “why use one word when a dozen will do?”
I will persevere though as an obvious theme from reviews seems to be that the last 30 – 40% actually has more pace and excitement to it. I’m also enjoying this, I just want something, ANYTHING to happen.
Paranormal Vampire Romance
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52831200-from-blood-and-ash
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.