From Blood and Ash

Jennifer L. Armentrout

Poppy’s life has been chosen for her. Literally chosen. She is the Maiden, the Chosen, destined to bring in a new era to her kingdom and people. The life of the Maiden is very solitary and reclusive. She is to never be spoken to, touched, looked at, or experience life. Poppy would rather be out with the guards, fighting for her people than locked in the castle doing needlepoint with the Priestess. 

But Poppy wants more than that. And when the dark haired, golden eyed guard, Hawke is duty bound to protect her and ensure her Ascension enters her life, Poppy doesn’t know what hit her. He ignites so many different reactions and emotions in her that she can’t keep up. He tempts her to do things she never thought she would do as the Maiden and makes her question everything she’s ever known. 

We follow Poppy as she discovers herself and what she wants out of life, and possibly a life with Hawke. We see her fight for what is right and defy what it is expected of her. This is an epic forbidden love story set in a complex well developed world that is so easy to get lost in. 

With so many twists and turns, you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat, waiting and wanting more of this truly amazing story.

The first chapter had me hooked. Jennifer L. Armentrout has taken a classic forbidden love trope and completely flipped it on its head. It’s Romeo & Juliet meets Twilight on crack. It’s so good. Easily top 50 favorite books. (I love so many I can’t narrow down the list.) I loved everything, literally no complaints. World building? Amazing. Characters? Outstanding. Plot? Chef’s kiss. There were so many pieces in this book and they all came together perfectly. And it wasn’t even confusing. Sometimes fantasy can be confusing but this was so easy to read. So good… so good… I never want this to end. 

Poppy is such a character. Yes, she is literally a character from a story, but she’s so human and life-like that it was so easy to listen to her and experience her world.  I agreed with so many of the opinions she had to say about life, purity, and honor. I was laughing, outloud, which I very rarely do, while reading. Her and Hawke were so much fun together. And Lawny. What an amazing, saddening friendship between Poppy and her duty bound best friend. Poppy is constantly questioning if Lawny truly cares for her or if it’s just her job, but Poppy doesn’t get that Lawny wouldn’t act the way she does if she didn’t care about Poppy. 

And Hawke…*sighs.* So dreamy. He is officially one of my favorite, dark haired, morally grey- ish characters. He made so many points throughout the book that not only was Poppy questioning her life, but other characters were, too.

This book caused a very funny reaction in me. I wanted to finish the book to get to the next one, but I didn’t want it to end. That’s good writing. Making your audience want more but also never want to leave the comfort of the pages. It was the opening to Poppy and Hawke’s relationship and it felt like a very long first date. We were just getting introduced and learning the little surface things about them. Then it got real. Real fast too. Suddenly we’re a bottle and a half of wine later in the date and all the dirty secrets and laundry is being cleared out. 

I could go on for hours about how good this book was. But I won’t. Just read it and find out for yourself how amazing this was. 

Five stars. Top tier.