"From blood and ash... we will rise."
In anticipation of the third book in this series, The Crown of Gilded Bones, I now present my review for From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout!
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.
CW: Physical abuse/assault, childhood trauma/violence, sexual content
“You're an absolutely stunning, murderous little creature.”
Poppy is the Maiden. Veiled. Chosen by the gods. She questions everything and only wants the freedom to be able to choose in her extremely sheltered life. Hawke is her new guard. Sworn to protect her and yet undeniably and obviously attracted to her. Hawke is the first person to treat Poppy like a person, rather than like the Maiden. The banter between Poppy and Hawke is delicious, and Poppy's violent tendencies only make it better.
Poppy is kept in a gilded cage, her only value to the royals is her status as the Maiden and being Chosen by the gods. The cage is obvious to Poppy, who questions everything and is often punished for not being "Maidenly" enough.
The commentary JLA provides on societal standards surrounding the value of beauty and virginity is so powerful and appreciated. Poppy is described as "not thin" and has disfiguring scars on her face and body, and yet, her own self-worth does not lie in her appearance, but rather in what she can offer to the world.
This fantastic New Adult fantasy has original mythology, yet puts a twist on our favorite traditional paranormal creatures - vampires and werewolves. The mythology appears to be loosely based on Greco-Roman pantheon, but the world building surrounding the gods and goddesses of Solis is intricately woven into the story without feeling overwhelming or getting bogged down in excessive details and descriptions.
To help keep some of the mythology straight, here's a list of all the gods/goddesses:
- Nyktos: the King of the Gods
- Rhahar: the Eternal God
- Ione: the Goddess of Rebirth
- Aios: the Goddess of Love, Fertility, and Beauty
- Saion: the God of the Sky and Soil
- Theon: the God of Accord and War
- Lailah: the Goddess of Peace and Vengeance
- Bele: the Goddess of the Hunt
- Perus: the God of Rite and Prosperity
- Rhain: the God of the Common Man and Endings
- Penellaphe: the Goddess of Wisdom, Loyalty, and Duty
I will admit, the pacing of this book left a little to be desired. The first quarter of the book was slow and filled with world and character building. But once the action picks up.... you can't put it down.
Overall, this series from JLA has quickly become one of my favorites and I cannot wait for the next installment, The Crown of Gilded Bones, to release in April. Check out my review of the second book in the series, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, here.
If you like powerful female characters, swoon worthy male characters, action, and a little paranormal drama thrown in, you'll enjoy this series. It's got some spice, so is definitely for mature audiences. This is NOT young adult like some of JLA's previous works.
Have you read FBAA? Let me know what you think!
Thanks for reading!