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Profile Image for Sofia.
231 reviews6,961 followers
May 4, 2021
I present to you: a tale of questionable consent, bAd BoYs with amber eyes, and foreshadowing so terrible I predicted every plot twist.

Otherwise known as From Mud and Trash.

This book was so bad that I made a whole photo album for the screenshots of “excuse me?” moments. There are 122 photos in total. *faith in literature flies out the window*

From Blood and Ash follows the Maiden, a girl named Poppy who is fated to Ascend soon. She isn’t allowed to speak to or touch anyone but a select few. But a mysterious man named Hawke becomes her guard, and when attacks from supernatural creatures become more common, she is forced to trust him.

I’ve seen a lot of people compare this book to Sarah J. Maas’s works. I would like to argue that it doesn’t deserve to be compared to SJM. Unlike SJM’s books, FBAA has no discussions about mental health and trauma. Poppy and Hawke barely get to know each other. They have some bOnD because of a shared loss in their family, but that’s pretty much it. All they do is simmer in angst and “i’M nOt MeAnT tO bE WiTh YoU” and then have some forbidden make-out sessions.

Can Poppy get any more stupid? She’s the most idiotic MC I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. Besides that, she’s supposed to be sheltered. She’s not allowed to talk to anyone. But I never felt that in her character. She speaks in slang and swears. She seems to have adequate social skills. She’s not very surprised when she ventures out of the building she’s lived in for her entire life. It didn’t feel real to me. It felt like a cheap plot device used to cause cheesy angst and tension.

She really, really wants us to remember that she is the Maiden. I can’t count the number of times she said this to herself: “I am the Maiden. The Chosen.”

She giggles and shudders so much, I can’t even. She protests that she doesn’t want to Ascend, even though in the beginning it seems like a pretty good deal. She’s stubborn for no reason. Her only real personality trait is being good with weapons. That’s it. She only has agency and incentive when she’s holding her speshul dagger.

Need I mention that her full name is Penellaphe Balfour.
Who named this child?
This is abuse.

Poppy keeps insisting she’s not beautiful because she has scars and her eyes and mouth “seemed too large for [her] face.” Miss girl, have you seen your fanart? When I saw those scars, I thought they were a couple of strands of hair on my screen and tried to brush them away. And then I realized they were your scars. Why are you complaining about having big eyes?

Also, she has a token Black best friend named…
*muffled laughing turns to crying*

This book relies on the author telling us explicitly what we should like about Poppy in long monologues from Hawke. She’s kind, she’s considerate, she’s deadly, she’s intriguing, she’s violent, she’s selfless. Blah blah blah. Show me, don’t tell me.

Speaking of Hawke…
I’m disgusted with him. I’m really, really disgusted. I hate this man so much.

Dear people who swoon over Hawke:
Are you okay? No, really. Are you good? Please explain to me why you love him so much. Is it his aMbEr eyes with GoLdEn flecks? Is it his rAKiSh dark hair? Is it his tendency to ignore Poppy’s wishes and insist that she likes whatever he does to her?

I’m so tired. I’m tired of Hawke insisting Poppy likes it when he calls her Princess, even when she’s clearly stated that she doesn’t. I’m tired of Hawke sexualizing everything and turning important moments into cheap opportunities for him to say something dirty. I’m tired of Hawke refusing to get off Poppy when she asks him too. Poppy deserves better. I ship her with a therapy rock. They would be a great match.

"You really should move,” I told him.
“I’m quite comfortable where I am,” he added.
“Well, I’m not.”

“This is inappropriate.”
“Then why?”
“Why? Because I wanted to.”
I blinked once and then twice. “And what if I didn’t want to?”

He goes on to nickname her Princess, which is the stupidest nickname I’ve ever heard. It originated because he said that Poppy asking him to get off her was somehow too demanding and spoiled, so he called her Princess and refused to stop.

"After you, Princess.”
I turned, eyes narrowing as he stepped aside. “You need to stop calling me that.”
“But I like it.”
“But I don’t.”
“That’s a lie."

There was a scene where he didn’t make some sexual comment like he usually does and Poppy’s inner thoughts were screaming “hE’s So PoLiTe!!”
I mean, maybe she doesn’t have any standards because he’s literally the first man she’s ever really talked to, but still.

”You’re not being very nice, but at least you’re talking. That’s progress.”
“I’m not being mean,” I shot back. “I just don’t like to be called [Princess].”
“Uh huh.”

Also, he has amber eyes. dON’T FORGET.
I typed this review on a document, and I had an entire page of unnecessary golden eye descriptions. There were about twenty examples. But it didn’t fit in the review box, so enjoy this sample.

He was staring down at me with eyes so bright, they looked like the gods had polished the amber themselves and placed them there.

The hue of his eyes seemed to deepen to a striking amber color.

He chuckled in response, eyes reminding me of pools of warm honey.

When I still did nothing, his eyes shifted to a fierce, burning amber.

Those amber eyes turned luminous, filling with a golden fire.

His eyes...the honey hue churned, swirling with brighter, golden flecks.

JLA also doesn’t want you to forget how handsome he is. As Poppy reminds us literally every time Hawke walks into the room.

I threw the dagger directly at his annoying handsome face.

The sunlight almost seemed drawn to him, caressing his cheekbones and brow like a lover. His profile was flawless, the line of his jaw as chiseled as the statues that adorned the garden.

Inky blood dotted his broad, high cheekbones and the straight line of his jaw. His wide, expressive lips were parted as if he were only able to take the thinnest breath.

Why did he have to have such a...charming grin?

His face was so strikingly pieced together. From the wide set of his lips, the upward slant of his eyebrows, to the shadowy hollows under his high, broad cheekbones, he could’ve been the muse for the paintings that hung in the city’s Atheneum.

Hawke looked like I imagined one of the gods waiting in the Temple.

I got a little lost in that dimple in Hawke’s right cheek.

The romance is a wannabe Jurdan. It fails. It’s based entirely on Hawke’s interest in how “unexpected” Poppy is, plus the utter lack of consent that disturbs me.

”None of them intrigue me. You do.”

Where is the chemistry? It’s nonexistent. The only reason he’s attracted to her is because she’s so iNtRiGuiNg.

”You are utterly nothing like I expected.”

“You’re so damn unexpected.”

Yes, we get it.

I loved him. I was in love with him.

Are you kidding me?
You have hardly talked.
It’s been maybe a month. He has abused you and essentially forced himself on you.
*smiles through the tears*
The bar was so low.
I just love how Poppy is willing to give up her entire future for her first kiss.

At one point, there was a massacre happening, and Hawke and Poppy were doing their little romantic tension thing where he saved her and they were in a cOmProMiSiNg pOsiTiOn. It was awful.

I couldn’t even enjoy this book as a guilty pleasure, it was just that bad. The writing was terrible—some of the worst of any fantasy book I’ve read. Ellipses were abused terribly. Commas were added in random places that made no sense. The foreshadowing was especially horrific, but I’ll get to that in the spoilery section.

Spitting out a curse that Vikter would’ve turned red at, and Rylan would’ve...he would’ve smiled at if he were still here, I picked up speed and then dipped.

That terrible, terrible, terrible sentence is basically the quality of the rest of the writing in this book. When I reached this sentence, I had to drop my phone and have a very long talk with myself about what I was doing with my life.

Tonight was about living, about...not being up all night, unable to sleep, alone and feeling I had no control, idea of who I was other than what I was.

I...I don’t think...this writing very good…

I was so incredibly...stupid.

Ah, finally. Some self-awareness.

”I...didn’t. I...failed a man.”

I fAiLeD yOu aS A mAn

This guard had sacrificed himself. This unnamed, unknown man had chosen death over allowing the Craven to reach the other side of the Rise.

And then Poppy starts crying in the middle of the battle. Girl, that is literally his job. He’s a guard. That’s what he’s supposed to do.

It was so freaking irritating how correct he was.

Ma’am, this is not 2021.

The modern language annoyed me so much. “Okay,” “guy,” “weird,” “wow,” et cetera. What era is this supposed to be? Poppy talks like a middle-aged person pretending to be a teenager.

There were extremely long infodumps through conversation that felt juvenile and amateur and lazy. Maybe worldbuilding should be incorporated naturally, rather than forced on us all at once. Maybe there should be some depth to the culture. But no. Are you seriously telling me we got all those infodumps about things that don’t matter and JLA can’t even bother to explain what the Rite is?

The worldbuilding was very inconsistent. The culture was barely formed at all, and the landscape was basically not there. It was so uninspired and dull; just the bare minimum needed to call it fantasy. There were vampires and werewolves and an abusive romance, so it was basically Twilight on steroids. Except the vampires were called Craven or vamprys (don’t ask me the difference between the two because I don’t know), and the werewolves were called wolven. *unimpressed*

The magic system was vague, and not in a soft magic way. Some books can pull off vagueness. It just adds to the aesthetic. But not here. Some magical elements of the plot were strange. If the Ascended are taking so many children, then how is there still a workforce and a thriving population? Why isn’t anyone questioning them?

There’s only so much I can talk about without including spoilers. It only gets worse from here.


If one more YA love interest turns out to be a secret prince, I will give up young adult fantasy.
Oh, and Hawke is actually a 200-year-old crusty musty dusty prince who has the maturity of a teenage boy only just discovering that girls exist. Is this not creepy? This guy is a whole lot older than my grandpa, and he’s also the first man Poppy has really met. And he thinks this is somehow a good idea.


I predicted literally every plot twist. The foreshadowing was so heavy-handed and obvious. It followed the typical YA fantasy structure.

Girls meets brooding, mysterious boy with special eyes. Boy is, in fact, a speshul prince of a speshul kingdom. Boy is technically her enemy. Boy is actually immortal and super old. Girl is still a teenager but it’s okay. Boy and girl get married anyway. The end.

Lady Gaga Age: Lady Gaga Beautiful Amazing Meme

”What...what if he was actually here?” Loren gave a delicate shudder. “In the city now? What if that was how he gained access to Castle Teerman?” Her eyes lit up. “Befriended someone here or perhaps even poor Malessa.”

*slow clapping*

”You sound so many years older than what you appear.”

Put two and two together, Penellaphe.

”It was a long time ago, though.”
“A long time ago? When you were what? A child?” I asked, knowing that he couldn’t be more than a handful of years older than I was, despite the way he made it sound as if it were an eternity ago.


There was a scene where a character was found murdered with the cane he used to beat Poppy with. Hawke was one of the only ones who knew about this. Above his corpse was the Dark One’s motto written in blood. I wonder who the Dark One is. I wonder…

”You haven’t met enough people, then.”
“I have met too many.”

*scratches head* I wonder what this means.

It was so weird how he sometimes talked as if he’d lived dozens of years longer than I was sure he had.

Yes, so weird.

He kissed me, and my skin heated at his flavor, the taste of me and those strangely sharp teeth of his.

not impressed i am - Yoda | Meme Generator

”Yeah, well, I can’t take it out on the Prince, now can I?’ Jericho said, and I frowned, having thought it had been Hawke who’d taken his hand.

Ha ha ha.
Poppy is not like other girls because she has fewer brain cells.

🚨spoilers have ended🚨

In conclusion, I absolutely ADORE this book! 😍
It’s probably my favorite book of ALL TIME! 💕
I TOTALLY didn’t lose faith in YA fantasy because of this! 😀

0.01 stars

Buddy read with Lucy, Erin, and Lia. We suffered 😃
Profile Image for marta the book slayer.
427 reviews1,060 followers
December 10, 2020
Greetings students. Welcome to Writing 101: How to write the worst novel ever written in 2020 (and still WIN a Goodreads award). This is my first time teaching this class but rest assured my qualifications include: understanding the proper use of ellipses and knowing ten different names that sound better than Penellaphe. Please take out your syllabus. As you will see our assigned and only reading for this class is this novel. It is expected that you have read this novel before attending my class in order to avoid spoilers. We will be delving into multiple topics during our lecture so please arrive to class prepared to discuss and take notes.



Lesson 1: Setting
The best way to pick whichever country your story will take place in is to pick a random point on a globe. Did your finger land on Macedonia? Perfect! Simply change a couple letters and you've got your brand new country Masadonia. No need to delve in further than that and actually give a description of the country.

Lesson 2: Side Characters
If it wasn't evident yet this is very loosely a fantasy novel. How? Well you just need to create a list of fantasy characters, of course! Let's begin:

It's really that easy! There's no need for you to further develop any characteristics for these fantasy creatures besides giving them a name. Also, make sure to make it extremely confusing what the differences are between the characters (but we will get into more of this when we get to our lesson on the plot).

As for some of the characters we hear a bit more about, you want to go on a random name generator online which should give you the following results:
∙Lord Brandole Mazeen
∙Dorian Teerman
∙Queen Ileana
∙Queen Eloana
∙Prince Malik
Once again, without fail, the more random names you throw around the less questions people ask. Do not trouble yourself with describing any of these characters because this fantasy smut novel does not need it!

Lesson 3: Main Characters
Now that we are done and familiarized with all the boring stuff, let's focus on why everyone is here: Poppy and Hawke.

Firstly, think of everything you love doing such as socializing with your friends, reading books, talking in public spaces. Next, make sure your character is absolutely forbidden from doing any of these things. Finally, have her do all of these things anyway.
It took less than twenty-four hours for me to, yet again, do something utterly reckless.

The whole novel could be summarized with the sentence above.

Don't forget to include poorly described magical powers, sniffled laughs/giggles/smiles (no really do this multiple times), and you have the main character!
∙A hysterical giggle climbed its way up my throat. He honestly had no idea who he stood next to. By the grace of the gods, I was able to stop that laugh.
∙I smiled. It was just a hint of a grin, one that probably wasn’t noticeable to anyone but the Duke, but he saw it. I knew he did. I was sure I’d pay for it later, but at that moment, I didn’t care.
∙Swallowing a snort, I lowered the bow, shifting it to one hand.
∙I was confident that my eyes were about to pop out of my face in response to the obvious insult. I bit down on my lip to stop myself from grinning.
∙I wanted to laugh. It was building in my throat, threatening to burst free, but I couldn’t let it.
∙“He’s dead,” I said. “He’s really dead.” A very inappropriate giggle welled up, and I clamped my mouth shut as I turned back to where the Duke was impaled.
∙The strangest urge to giggle hit me, but there wasn’t anything funny about what we were about to do.
∙A shocked laugh burst from me, loud enough that I saw the pacing guard stop. “Oh, gods, that was loud.”

The main character needs to be very relatable:
“Because you’ve been fidgeting like you have spiders in your gown since the beginning of this,” he answered. Spiders in my gown? If I had spiders in my gown, I wouldn’t be fidgeting. I’d be screaming and stripping down to nothing. I wouldn’t care at all who witnessed it.

Make it obvious to everyone just how (っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ special ♥ she is:
Could I change the order of things once I returned to the capital, before I Ascended? Did I have that kind of power? Surely I had more than the Ladies and Lords in Wait, as I was the Maiden.

I was privileged no matter what I suffered, but at least if I were out there, on the Rise, I could be doing something productive.

Gods, I was so… sheltered. Because in my limited experience, it had become…so much more to me. The wake-up call that it was only a few kisses was utterly brutal.

I’d never worn paint on my lips or eyes before. Obviously, it wasn’t allowed for me. Why? My skin was supposed to be as pure as my heart or something. I had no idea. Once, the Duchess had explained it to me, but I might’ve zoned out halfway through that conversation.

“Remember who you are, Penellaphe. You are not to mingle or socialize.” “I know,” I assured her.

To write a love interest make sure he does the bare minimum in the beginning and that will really impress your main character. By bare minimum I mean the following quotes:
Even though he said at first that I shouldn’t be out there, he listened to my reasons, and the only thing he said was that I needed to wear better shoes.
"And I’ll say it again. I don’t care what you are.” Hawke’s hand slid off my back. A moment later, I felt his palm flatten against my cheek with unerring accuracy. “I care about who you are.”

When brainstorming how to describe your love interest head to the candle aisle at any store and pick two scents. Anytime this character is within a 5 mile radius of the main character make sure to mention the scent. In this case I can tell you that Hawke smells like pine and sage (sometimes soap).

Lesson 3: Plot
Remember when we brainstormed the list of fantasy characters back in lesson 2? You're going to put all of those character in a hat and randomly pick when to mention them in the story. Make sure to replace the names back in your hat and continue doing this. There you go! You have a plot. You should use this method for deciding between good characters and villains as well.

When it comes to the climax of the story (although I guess there was more than one), put your characters in a scary forrest and introduce a TERRIFYING creature that has never been mentioned before. In this case our author truly terrified us with a Ⴆαɾɾαƚ, a huge rat. Only devote one page to this fight, any more is unnecessary. “I can’t imagine rats that weigh nearly two hundred pounds being only a nuisance.”How the fuck could you say Remy is more than a nuisance?

I honestly think we spend too much time talking about the "fantasy" plot of the novel. We all know everyone is here for the 𝓻𝓸𝓶𝓪𝓷𝓬𝓮. I know what you all are thinking, consent and not stabbing someone, is the basics of a romance novel! WRONG We want none of that here. In fact let's make this a plot about a virgin, who is so sheltered from the world, she not only has one first kiss but TWO:
Hawke had been my first kiss, but if he kissed me now, this…this would be our real first kiss. He knew who I was now. He’d seen me unveiled. He knew. And I wanted this—wanted him.

To really spice things up, let's have the main character stab her partner (after he lied to her, killed people close to her, kidnapped her, took her virginity with very limited consent), before being so consumed with horniness they both fuck in the forrest. Did I mention that the reason they are SO horny is because of his blood?
You’re going to hate that you begged me to kiss you, to do more. But even without my blood in you, I know you’ve never stopped wanting me. But when I’m deep inside you again, and I will be, you won’t be able to blame the influence of blood or anything else.”

Also for fun throw in a plot twist in the very last part of your novel (after devoting 600 pages to complete bull shit) but make sure to make it so confusing using the hat method that no one will question it. Make the whole plot twist incredibly cringeworthy by inserting this:
"I prefer the name Casteel or Cas,” he replied then, his tone hard and distant. “If you don’t want to call me that, you can call me Prince Casteel Da’Neer, the second son of King Valyn Da’Neer, brother of Prince Malik Da’Neer.” I shuddered. “But do not call me the Dark One. That is not my name.”

Finally, to really drive the nail in the coffin about never asking consent, end the novel with the main character being kidnapped against her will to a far away country to be wed to a psychopath. Ah, 🍓☝ 𝓻O𝐦𝓪n𝓒𝕖 ✊♤

Lesson 4: Writing Style
Despite this being a novel set in god knows what century (no, really, I don't know), you want to to pick one word to repeat over and over again. In this case our author chose the word: gods and used it 311 times.

Then, just use a fuck ton of dialogue. Example:
“Life,” he answered.
“I get it.”
“Do you? Really?” I didn’t think even Tawny got it.
“I do. Everyone around you can do basically whatever they want, but you’re shackled by archaic rules."

Finally, terrible descriptions such as these:
“But we won’t do that tonight. We can’t. Because if I get any part of me in you, every part of me would be in you, and I want to hear every sound you make when that happens.”

That's all.

Extra Credit
Please evaluate why you gave this novel 5 stars.


This novel has prompted me to create a new shelf titled 451 degrees fahrenheit dedicated to the books I would gladly set on fire.
Profile Image for ale ‧ ₊˚୨ ♡ ୧ ₊˚.
411 reviews2,135 followers
August 18, 2022
0.5 stars.

edit: goodreads, if you shadowban this review (my favorite review ever), i'll hunt you down. thanks.

*insert dramatic music from an American comedy show*.

I just finished this book, drank 2 cups of coffee and finished to translate this from Spanish to English, lol. I'm not ok.

1. If you're here to make any offensive and hateful comments about my review, I advise you not to even spend your time, because I doubt I'll be friendly when it comes to responding.

2. If you haven't read the book and don't want spoilers, I recommend you don't read any further. My review is full of spoilers and quotes from the book.

Have a seat, folks, this is going to be a long one. Bring your popcorn and get ready.

Hello, friends. Today I present to you a new section called: big hype, big lie (I just created a new shelf specifically for this book, and future disappointments).

Before I begin, I warn you that the reasons why this book was not to my liking (it falls short) will be wisely justified and that I forced myself to read and finish this book, to live this torture-filled odyssey, so that you won't come to tell me, "Obviously you didn't like it because you didn't finish it. It gets better later." when it sucks from the beginning.

First of all, no one knows how much I suffered reading and trying to dnf because I said to myself, "Ale, if you're going to give it 0.5 stars, at least finish it and give it the review it deserves." Besides, I'm not a fan of "it gets better later."

And, after a torturous read, rolling my eyes 293873486734 times at each chapter, and nearly vomiting from the cringe, here I am. Ready to do my review.

That said, let's start.
*dramatic music x2* *lights fading on and off to focus on your charismatic hostess who wears armor in case someone decides to shoot an arrow at her or run a sword through her*.

Friends, if you are still reading it is because you are as brave as I am in writing this. There are several points to discuss today and I will use quotes to show my motives. If you followed me through my updates, you will know what kind of martyrdom I lived through and that I carried a cross.

Penellaphe (we'll go later with the names, don't worry), Poppy, is The Maiden: the one who was chosen by the gods to... What? What else will she do, besides being self-pitying and boring? What is her purpose? How will she save her kingdom? Why was she, out of so many, chosen for this mysterious purpose that no one bothers to explain to us? We do not know. And all these questions are not even answered, because there is no need to saturate us with vital information that can serve us to have a better location in the new world to which we are introduced.

Even she doesn't know what this is for, and I quote:
"I can't socialize or make friends because my sole purpose is to serve the kingdom by going to the gods—something no one will even explain."

In any case, Poppy has spent her life isolated from others: she has no friends and should not socialize or engage in any activity because the gods will find her unworthy. Basically, Poppy should be stiff as a statue in her room because we don't want her to get dusty and make the gods angry, right?

The problem here is, for a lifelong shut-in and isolationist, Poppy doesn't act like one. She's a rebellious maiden who pretends to be fine and demure behind her veil, but sneaks around whenever and wherever she wants, and does whatever she wants because, why not? A mask solves everything. She's just another teenager. No pressure from her Ascension on her, or that the people who are supposed to take care of her will be in trouble if something happens to her. Does she care? No. Because she wants to live and coincidentally, by the work of fate and the gods themselves, she meets Hawke: the sexy guard, the playboy all the ladies talk about who is very young, skilled and more observant than any experienced guard. Poppy just wants to live, to have an adventure that doesn't remind her that her life is tied to a purpose unknown to her, as well as to us.

"What are you doing? whispered the reasonable, sane voice in my head.
Living, I whispered back.
And being incredibly stupid, the voice countered."

Hawke makes asshole kids out of the best guards, but that doesn't matter because he's handsome, fearless, interesting, and because his eyes are golden. They meet at the Red Pearl — a place where Poppy shouldn't be — by chance and the first thing he does is accost her because he mistakes her for another girl, and goes to kiss her. Does Poppy care about this behavior, when she hasn't kissed anyone, or when she's supposed to be there? No. She and her weird internal conversation of living the crazy life, even knowing it could go bad if she gets caught, beats any logical thought or functional neuron our heroine might have.

Poppy is Bella 2.0, "high fantasy" version, and she has the same personality as a rock or a shoe: none. Oh, wait. Even shoes and stones are more interesting than any character here. She can't see past her veil, can she? And Hawke calls her intelligent and intriguing, but our friend doesn't realize what Hawke is, though she does notice his characteristics, she lacks a few brain cells to tie the wires together.


I didn't find any plot throughout the book. Or at least I didn't feel like there was one. I was too distracted asking myself questions that JLA should have answered early on to notice if there was one. What is Ascension? Where do the Ascended go, redundantly, once they've Ascended? Why do their eyes turn black? Why do they steal the second, third and fourth children? Why do they call the bad guy "The Dark One"? In Spanish, it's the same as calling the Darkling of the Grishaverse. (Spanish: El Oscuro). The Dark One is also: The Darkling *fakes surprise* In any case, I never knew if this was about Poppy's stupidity, the Craven's, the supposed Ascension. The Dark One, Hawke's eyes, or why Poppy ignores everything important.

This book was predictable to a fault. I was guessing several "plot twists" that were going to happen at a certain point. Most predictable of all? That Poppy and Hawke would be endgame. Why wouldn't I be surprised? Poppy was practically drooling at the sight of the guy. I already knew what was going to happen, who the Dark One would be and stuff like that irrelevant. In my updates you can see. I never feared for any character and there is no angst for me. Hawke is a jerk nothing more. As I said on my many updates, I spent 90% of the time laughing of how dull and cliché this book is, and the rest 10% of the time rolling my eyes of how dull and cliché this book is.

Don't get me started on this. I've read bad stuff, I swear, but this is another level. What bothered and exasperated me the most is the excessive use of ellipsis: they are consistently and in every third sentence, if not three times in the same paragraph.
"Why did he have to have such a... charming grin?" He doesn't.
"How had he...?"
Better yet, I should make him. I knew how to scape a hold, but I... I didn't move."
I can go an on an on, the list is HUGE.

Also, the word stomach is repeated frequently and everything has to involve Poppy's stomach. Sweetie, is you ok?

The narration didn't appeal to me at all. It's supposed to be a high fantasy book with a medieval style, right? So why did I come across modern words?

Ok. Whatever. Basically.

The dialogue is terrible and in some of Poppy and Hawke's it seems like the flirting of 15 year old kids.

JLA googled "random fantasy name generators" and got some names from there, or took some real ones and changed some vowels in them. Penellaphe I read it as such —literally, and it's horrible—, not Penelope, as it should be; Poppy is a dog's name, sorry. Hawke is the most ridiculous name. Vikter and Malessa —I don't know if I meant it to sound like Melissa, but there's a word in Spanish "maleza" and that's exactly how I pronounced the name—. Rylan... I understand that JLA wanted to put "pretty" and fantastic names, but, are you serious?

Now, the place names.
Masadonia. Atlantia. Pompay.

Where was the originality that characterizes high fantasy? Am I asking too much? To me it sounded more like urban fantasy than high fantasy; and the description was so vague and poor. Although, I'm not asking for something Game of Thrones—like either.

I was thrown headlong into a strange place that I don't have much information about; perhaps because they focused more on Poppy's internal and boring problems. As I said, the place names don't sound even remotely fantastic and I didn't even get a map.

She has no personality. I didn't sympathize with her at all, and throughout the book I just wanted to yell at her to shut up. Her hand is always fixed on her magnificent dagger, even though she doesn't usually use it. JLA wanted to portray the loneliness and isolation of a character, the heroine, but Poppy doesn't act like one and failed Olympianly. Even she says she does nothing and only pities herself too much.

"I'd made it back to my room that morning without any issues and ended up remaining it the entire day, which wasn't exactly all that different from any other day."

Plus, she blames herself a lot for things that happen around her. Sweetie, things don't just happen because you exist. ✨You✨being✨the✨maiden✨ doesn't make you the queen of the universe. She's supposed to be secluded and isolated, but there you see her, training, in the midst of gossip - even though she knows there will be consequences - and fighting like an expert assassin.

She's missing a lot of brain cells and realization. Again, Bella 2.0 who is oblivious to the clues and events happening IN FRONT OF HER, or just ignores them because she's contemplating Hawke's asshole.

Everyone: Poppy, no.
Poppy: Poppy, yes.
*does something stupid for which she later commiserates and complains.

Gorgeous, handsome Hawke. The most handsome, golden-eyed guy. The most experienced guard in the whole castle (and I'm sure the whole world), the most observant, agile and young.

Hawke is annoying, irritating, predatory, a jerk, and thinks he's unattainable (THERE'S A PART WHERE POPPY THINKS HE IS, WHAT THE HELL?). Him trying to be overprotective - beyond being Poppy's guardian - is not cute. Did anyone else remind you of Edward Cullen?

I totally expected him to end up being Poppy's guard - I wouldn't be surprised if Hawke himself had killed Rylan. Because, it's ✨the✨fate✨ and the work and grace of the gods. Literally from the moment he showed up I was already getting the idea, since everyone knows Hawke Flynn and how awesome he is.

Apparently Poppy's beloved love interest doesn't understand that NO MEANS NO. Hawke, do you need me to explain what consent is and how it applies? Every time Poppy would say no to something, Hawke would disregard it and do it anyway. Dude, do you lack the brain cells to comprehend or does testosterone flood your brain? That you keep doing the things you're flat out forbidden to do isn't sexy. It's annoying.

Hawke being +200 years makes me want to puke. Can't some authors change the trope on something like that? Doesn't anyone get tired of seeing the same old +100 year old dude (Edward -sparkly body- Cullen, Rice Man, Rowan -white hair- Whitetorn, The Darkling, among many more) with the 17, 18, and 19 year old girl? Doesn't anyone else get uncomfortable with that? And, is that, the funniest thing is the fact that, despite the old man being over 100 years old, he's never really fallen in love and the girl comes to be his ✨true✨ love. It's iconic, funny, and ridiculous in a thousand ways. He's the special snowflake, the most special love interest and the most different guy ever. *palm face*

Hawke and Poppy are constantly repeating to each other that they are different from everyone else, but they are one of the rest.

His golden eyes and dimples made me sick throughout the ENTIRE BOOK, BECAUSE POPPY MENTIONS IT EVERY TIME SHE SEES DAMN HAWKE.

Wait a minute. Hawke compared Poppy's "sweet juices" to honeydew, I need to unsee this. I need to get that image out of my mind, thanks.

He tricked Poppy into falling in love with him and then kidnapped her, basically. I don't care if he really feels something or not. He lied to her. He romanced her and slept with her. Poppy trusted him and told him a lot about her life, and the bastard betrayed her?

Yeah. He's definitely a fucking asshole. No sympathy for him from me. And I'm not going to be convinced that he can redeem himself and be better - even though I already know what happens between him and Poppy in book two (and Poppy, let me tell you that you're an ass)- or that he has a better side. In few words, he's an old dude who manipulates a little girl.

Romance and +18 scenes.
I must admit I am NOT a fan of insta-love; it annoys me. Give me a slow burn and you've got me getting excited and squealing about everything. Here from the beginning I took it for granted that they are endgame and that one way or another they would end up together by ✨thing✨of✨destiny.

Their first scene together was supposed to get me excited and shipped them? I felt totally uncomfortable and disgusted... The guy literally sucked her gown, over her chest? I didn't feel a single spark of emotion and chemistry between them and every time I saw them together I rolled my eyes from boredom. Also, virus, my dear dude, aren't you aware of that?

I'm still debating whether this book is YA or NA. I see it as YA because the dialogue, thoughts and actions fall into the category. Poppy behaves like a 16 year old. And NA because of some supposedly +18 scenes. And yet, the "+18 scenes" were so boring, mediocre and, again - let this come as no surprise to you - I kept rolling my eyes.

Finally, we got to the best part.

The hype.
This book has an average rating of 4.39. I've seen 4 and 5 star reviews, so I thought it would be really good, and not a total flop. I'm struggling terribly to understand how this book won an award on Goodreads in the romance category. I tried so bad to understand why people actually rated this book 4/5 stars, why people say that Poppy is the great heroine (which she's not) or Hawke the amazing and handsome hero (which also, he's not, just a fucking dick who doesn't know what is consent), their romance (surprise! there's no romance) or the amazing plots (i predicted most of them, and they weren't interesting).
If you enjoyed it, cool. I admire you for that. And I admire myself for finish this torture, even if I suffered a lot... This shows that I'm a masochist, lol.

There is nothing romantic about this book; just cringe at its finest. Lies, lies, and oh, more lies.
Now that I'm done with my huge review, my rating for this book dropped to 0.01 stars.

Anyways, this book sucked and I will not pick up the second one or I will tear it up apart. Just like this one. I didn't like it and I feel really disappointed.

See ya next time. Thanks for read.

(Goodreads added more characters so, I edited my review because I've been wanting to do it for a while, thanks, GR, ily just for that)
Profile Image for • Lindsey Dahling •.
323 reviews644 followers
September 30, 2020
Holy shit. I almost DNF this at 16%. I was bored. There were info dumps everywhere. The narrator was blah. The plot wasn’t moving. Goodness, even the TIME IN THE BOOK wasn’t moving. Pretty sure at 16% not even 24 hours had passed in this book world. I told myself I would jump ship if this did not improve by the 20% mark.

Damn did it improve. I’ve never been so glad I didn’t jump ship. (Okay, that’s a lie. I was also really glad I didn’t jump ship during season 5 of The Vampire Diaries.)

—there was dialogue. And not just dialogue—witty banter.
—the narrator SHOWED she was a badass.
—there was a male lead who did something other than be gorgeous.
—the villains started to make their presence known in despicable ways that made my blood boil 😡💯👏🏻.
—we had side characters who were super likable.
—we had a slow burn romance that didn’t feel forced.


I’ll be honest—witty banter alone will keep me reading. But then LITERALLY ALL OF THE OTHER TROPES I ADORE showed up and I was just 😏😏😏😏😏😏😏😏😏😏 for the rest of the book.

I finished about 5 minutes ago, so I’m not even sure I’m typing coherent sentences right now. The book is THAT good.

Just push through the boring beginning. You can do it.

Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
December 23, 2020
living in these crazy times, i was pretty certain nothing could surprise me anymore. but then JLA pulls a beyoncé and just drops this book out of nowhere, as if it were a gift delivered from the book gods themselves.

and this story is truly a gift that keeps on giving. there is a strong, fierce heroine and her swoon-worthy personal guard, which leads to some pretty smouldering romance. but love isnt the only emotion - this story is overflowing with bravery, suspense, loyalty, curiosity, vengeance, and friendship. the detailed world-building presents a new, unique view of old, familiar fantasy creatures. many plot points are predictable, but not in a way that is disappointing, but rather makes the reader feel clever for catching all of the hints and signs along the way. in essence, this story has everything.

there were some moments when i thought the ‘everything-ness’ of this story would be too much. the world-building is often given in info-dumps and i will be completely honest and say i still dont understand everything about the world, its history, and its people. but that definitely didnt stop me from loving the story or enjoying the wild ride.

this book has truly blessed my quarantine and i hope it does the same for yours.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
489 reviews39k followers
March 23, 2021

The fact that this was over 600 pages, the fact that this book has an average rating of (at the time of this review, a 4.36, that fact that IM— excuse me while I go and vomit all the angst and cringe out of me.

....This book won the Gooodreads Choice Awards for the category of rOmAnCE??!!!!!!1!!!!!11111!! That was a c h o i c e .


This was like reading a badly written fan fiction combined of all the most repetitive and annoying ass YA tropes we love to hate.

Also never trusting book twitter for a book recommendation ever again lmao.

Check out my full thoughts on hOneYdEW here:

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Profile Image for Hannah Azerang.
130 reviews98.2k followers
May 7, 2022
600+ pages of no plot, no vibes, a mc with no brain, thinly “veiled” racism, and way too many mentions of honeydew
Profile Image for She-who-must-not-be-named .
180 reviews1,241 followers
January 9, 2022
Edit : Goodreads choice awards- Best Romance- 2020
So well deserved!

Five addictive, mesmerizing, heart-rending, sexy, adrenaline-inducing stars right away!

Ever had the feeling of numbness, the feeling of having your heart break and then remade, and the feeling of intensity flooding your body cells? Yeah, that was me, during and after reading this book.

There is action and violence, passion and romance, friendship and betrayal. It is the tale about a world where anguish leaves no room for light, where the Ascended wield their power like a poison-tipped sword and a kingdom that is forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals.

Penallaphe a.k.a Poppy a.k.a Princess a.k.a the Maiden is never to be touched. She is forbidden to socialize, to celebrate her birthdays, go to picnics, to defend herself because she's the Maiden. She cannot live or experience anything she wants for herself without being reminded about her duty to the Gods. She doesn't have the privileges everyone around her has. But she does exactly the opposite of what she's expected to do and that makes her sassier than any female protagonist I've read about. She does what she deems fit, consequences be damned. And things escalate when she meets the very attractive Royal Guard, Hawke Flynn. (Cheers to my 100th-something book boyfriend)

She's strong, she's fierce, but that's not all. Poppy, despite enduring losses of people she loved dearly, walks with an air of confidence that makes you respect her amongst many other things. I loved the fact that she doesn't whine about her survivors' guilt and chooses to be better equipped and trained rather than be a liability in times of duress. Her emotional tolerance and her ability to take her shortcomings positively makes me want to hug her (I'm pretty sure I'd get stabbed even before I think about it 😂)

Hawke Flynn

Of course I'm going to start with him. He is the character you will immediately love and adore. He's fast, observant, protective, and if I have to steal his word- intriguing. He is considerate and then demanding. Teasing and then cold as looming death. Violent beyond imagination but extremely tender and benign. He is the kind of boyfriend everybody hopes and deserves to have.

He can ignore discussions about the safety of his kingdom and other political issues just to make sure whether or not you've touched your breakfast.
He will kill anyone who says something even remotely bad about you.
He has infinite bae traits and he is made up of so many layers in terms of his character complex that you'd want to unearth him and explore him deftly.
Oh, and did I mention he has dimples?

Romance :

Electric and tantalizing, it is perfect for the fans of ACOTAR- a combination of sweet and steamy moments as Poppy embraces her sexuality. Hawke doesn't try to hide the fact that he's drawn to Poppy and flirts openly and they share an appealing banter.

There are quite a few plot twists although the final twist is predictable. Trust me, it doesn't ruin the reading experience in any way.

Triggers : Mature content, violence, sex, strong language

World building and narration

The initial few pages will feel slow, and the story doesn't progress much. Despite a lot of complaints in this aspect, I thought it was necessary to build the world which is a bit complicated with all the new terms and to show its brutality, the gifts of the Maiden, and the mystical creatures that threaten the Kingdom.
The narration was engrossing and portrays really well Poppy's insecurities and the feeling of being locked and suffocated for years together.

As I said, the story will feel dragged in the beginning but you have to trust me on this. Do. Not. Let. Go. Not if you want to miss out on some amazing content. A story full of court intrigue, politics, lies, infiltrations and unique creatures, From Blood Amd Ash is an alluring tale in all its guises and will be worth every second of your time, imploring you to pick up the second book straight away!

Meanwhile, *adds all of JLA's books to my tbr*
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,862 reviews30.1k followers
January 3, 2021
3 Kinda Bummed Stars, a couple things before we get started.

1) I'm not in a reviewing mood, but wanted to get something down before I completely forget and then lose all interest. So, I apologize beforehand for the lack of quality I'm sure is about to follow...

2) Don't throw figurative tomatoes at me for not loving this more. I'm not in the mood for that shit either. And I promise any responses to said tomatoes will not be...diplomatic.

But anyway, this book...

I feel like Jennifer L. Armentrout (JLA) saw the success of Twilight, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Throne of Glass, and Shadow and Bone and said...


Because this book felt like a mashup of all of those series. Especially ACoTAR...for real though.

I would go into the the reasons why, but that would be super spoiler-y. And because LAZY.

But I digress.

Another thing....holy boredom, Batman. The first 67%+ of this thing was so tedious. SO tedious. It's not so much that I hated it or anything, but more just, well...


I feel like JLA could have achieved exactly what she achieved in the first 67% with about half the page count.

Things finally started to pick up around 75% and I was happy as a clam by a solid 80% - which is the only reason I rated this thing above 2 stars, actually.

Did I already have Hawke's identity and background figured out way before then? Yes.
Was I seriously over the banter between Hawke and Poppy? Yes.
Was I excited they finally stopped bumbling about like kindergartners and got busy? HELL yes.

In the end, I think my overall disappoint in this thing was two-pronged:

1) The hype.
So much, SO much hype. And I fell victim to it, for sure. Perhaps if I had waited, I might have loved this more (I still liked it, people). Or perhaps not.

2) The predictability.
I had a feeling where this was going from practically the beginning. I had a feeling who the Ascended were...who Hawke was...what the sitch was...very early on. And I was right. And I feel like that undercut any and all urgency with this book for me. In fact, it took me forever to finish this and I had no problem putting it down.

That said, even though literally nothing about the ending came as a surprise, I still loved the hell out of it and it sorta, kinda, almost made up for the endless tedium of the first 67% of the book. Thus my 3 stars and my intent to continue the series.

In short, I found the vast majority of this book to be fairly unexciting; however the final 25% or so made up for it some. I think the hype here was righteous and I can definitely see why most people loved this thing. I think I simply had too high expectations and it definitely affected my reading experience.

To be clear: This is not a negative tear-down review by any means. I just expected to 5-star the shit out of this since everyone told me I this is more of a "meh, I liked it well enough" review tinged with disappoint over what could have been, I suppose.

But anyway. While I didn't love this book, I still liked it. And I will definitely read book two soon.
October 14, 2020

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DNF @ 13%

I'm honestly flummoxed by the ratings of this book. How can DAMSEL, one of the best YA fantasies I've read recently, have a 3.4 rating on Goodreads, and this self-indulgent vampire AU version of ACoTaR has a 4.4? Like... I literally have no words. This is why I have trust issues, you guys. You have led me astray from the path of light.

FROM BLOOD AND ASH was all over my feed and even though I haven't been impressed with Armentrout's previous works (all of her heroines are basically the same person with different hair), I am a sucker for vampires and court intrigue, and so I thought to myself, "You know, maybe this could be awesome." Famous last words, I know. You'd think I'd learn my lesson by now, and stop reading books just because "all my friends are doing it," and yet here we are. I've been impressed by authors before, whose works I didn't like in the beginning and then they did a total 360, like they missed the freeway off-ramp to the Town of Awesome by complete accident and all it took was a U-turn.

But no. this was... bad. It's one of those "historical" fantasy worlds, but the heroine talks like it's modern day whatever. The love interest is a smirky smarmosaur who immediately starts calling the heroine "princess." She's a virgin because "reasons," which... okay. The whole beginning of the book is just a slew of info-dumping and I can already tell I'm going to despise the heroine. And the hero. And probably everyone else in this book.

1 star
Profile Image for Arini.
857 reviews1,764 followers
January 15, 2023

🎧 2nd Read, Nov. 2021 — 4 Stars
📚 1st Read, April 2020 — 3.5 Stars

I hope this author never stops writing about all manner of supernatural beings cause I’ve always had a craving for paranormal romances and she never disappoints. Even on the occasion when my rating might suggest otherwise.

Coming out with a fresh from the oven NA high fantasy series, JLA surprises us with this alluring and action packed tale of fallen kingdoms on the rise, cursed bloodthirsty creatures, reluctant maidens, and steamy forbidden love affairs.

Things you will love in this book:

Swoonworthy hero
Hawke is the perfect combination of cocky, charming, and dangerous. He’s protective of Poppy but never oversteps her boundaries (much). Apparently his favorite word is intriguing. Oh and he has dimples, which of course, Poppy loves to drool over.

Kick ass heroine
Despite having lived a sheltered life, Poppy is socially adept and skilled in combat. Being a maiden means she has little to no experience in relationships. JLA made a good use of this trope by allowing her to explore and embrace her sexuality.

Smoldering romance
If there is one thing you can always count on in JLA books is that the romance always takes your breath away and the steam has you fanning yourself. The chemistry is electric and the banter is top notch. I lapped it all up like a starving beast.

Interesting storyline
This book has a little bit of everything—vengeance and betrayal, friendship, suspense and mystery. The climax and (non cliffhanger but surprising) ending are so adrenaline pumping and eye popping. It’s the best part aside from the romance obviously.

Things that might hinder your enjoyment:

Slow pacing
Unfortunately, this book is very slow that I felt like I was never going to finish it. My interest kept fluctuating. There’ll be something exciting happening once, then it’s followed by Poppy’s long and self reflective inner monologue or excessive text book like infos on the world building. It maintains this pattern for most of ⅔ of the book.

The last 30% of the book was truly what I lived for. It delivers all the twists and turns you’ve been waiting for. Sadly, it held no shocking effect for me because they’re fairly predictable. I think the issue with JLA books is that she drags on slow and tedious build up only to make up for it in the last ⅓ of the book.

Non immersive world building
I guess what I meant to say is, it needs to be just a bit more convincing? I have no problem with the history, lore, and beliefs system. What I think needs some touch up is the groundwork for the setting or geography of this new epic fantasy world.

I imagine creating a map would be really helpful. Also, instead of dumping it all out on us like the book is giving out a history lesson, I’d appreciate if the development of the world building can be more...engaging? So that we won’t be too overwhelmed and confused.

“Fear and bravery are often one and the same. It either makes you a warrior or a coward. The only difference is the person it resides inside.”

Overall, this is not at all a bad first book. I’m intrigued but still have yet to feel impressed. I do think that the author’s effort in venturing out into the high fantasy subgenre is rather successful. She managed to breathe new life into old concepts and make this series unique and entirely her own.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,172 reviews98.8k followers
April 21, 2021

"From this moment until the last moment, I am yours."

At the end of 2020, I kept seeing this book all over book social media and it was being loved by such a vast range of bookish friends. And then it was the goodreads choice awards 2020 best romance winner! Up until this point, I had never really read anything by Jennifer L. Armentrout, but my curiosity was so very peaked! Then once I entered 2021, I still felt like I could not escape the hype of this series! Finally, I read a few reviews by friends and found out that this was a fantasy series,, with a paranormal romance, and that information, in addition to it feeling like higher powers were at work to get me to read this, made me finally give it a try. And one I read that first chapter I knew I couldn’t put this down.

From Blood and Ash introduces us to Poppy, who is a chosen maiden for the gods. She is not meant to be touched, to be looked at, or to experience anything that is not considered god-like. She is quickly approaching her nineteenth birthday and soon she will leave to the capitol and have her Ascension, where she will prove that she is worthy of the gods and will help protect her entire kingdom from a curse carried by those who are unworthy of the gods. Yet, there is another kingdom living in hiding, who will do anything to make sure Poppy isn’t able to make her Ascension and change anything. (I am trying to be kind of vague here, because I truly did not know before going in, or expect in my wildest dreams, the paranormal aspects of this book, and I believe it did heighten my reading experience!)

But Poppy has so many secrets, including her own kind of powers that are manifesting stronger and stronger to help read and sooth people’s emotions. And there is also the secret of what happened to Poppy’s family, that left her and her brother the only ones alive to carry out the will of the gods, while Poppy is also forced to carry so many scars, both physical and emotional, from that night.. And there are secrets in the palace where she is currently living with the Duke and Duchess and a lot of abuse going on behind closed doors that are only meant to protect her. But the weight of grief and expectations are getting too heavy for Poppy to bear, so at the start of this first book she decides to sneak away from the palace for one night where she can maybe experience things without being expected to be a pure vessel for only the god’s consumption. And when Poppy ends up at a tavern, and in a private room, with Hawke, a very young but very skilled guard, she gets a taste of what she has been missing and what she may want for herself, unapologetically.

"You're a perfectly normal girl. What is expected of you is what's bad"

I do think grief and abuse are a constant theme in this story, and we get to see how those two words can present themselves in so many different ways. Different fear tactics are constantly in play, both in this kingdom and in Poppy’s life, to keep people in check and to keep them abiding to a corrupt system. Serving evil can easily be masked by saying it is serving the gods. Ultimately, this is a swoon-worthy and angst-inducing paranormal romance story, but there are a few layers here that I hope people are looking and listening very closely to while reading!

"You deserve so much more than what awaits you"

This book has really good discussions about what it means to be a young person discovering your wants and needs, while also slowly growing into the person you want to be and how hard that can be to separate from expectations already placed on you. This book is very sex positive, and consent is always at the forefront. I am also just going to type this with my full chest and then pretend I didn’t but, for me and my body and my personal experiences, I thought that the building of orgasms (and just some body reactions in general) in this book were very realistic and very well done. But anyways, I loved seeing Poppy reclaim so many things, and this romance is the first one in what felt like years that I am trying completely head of heels in love with and rooting for. But, please allow me this one small mini drag for those of you who have read this book:

Overall, this book truly blew me and my expectations away and it was very much the perfect book for the perfect time in my reading life. I laughed, I smiled, I swooned, I cried, I gasped, this book truly made me feel so much and it was just an amazing journey throughout. I feel like the twists were very well done and laid, I feel like the romance was filled with yearning and angst on every page, and I was constantly left wanting more and more. And the last line of this book? Yeah, I will be picking up A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire immediately. This was a joy to read from cover to cover.

Content and Trigger Warnings: death, gore, talk of loss of a child, talk of kidnapping, talk of death of children, mention of loss of a child in past, loss of a loved one, mention of suicide, assault, physical abuse, blood depictions, mention of rape, anxiety depictions, self-harm to get blood, and general war themes.

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Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤
Profile Image for ☆Pelumi☆.
265 reviews324 followers
June 20, 2021

" From Blood and Ash

We Shall Rise."


“You're an absolutely stunning, murderous little creature.”

EDIT: I just realised that the only WoC in this book, Tawny, was named after the very color of her skin. I must say JLA did not fail in the creativity aspect of this book.

EDIT 2: Kiera, another PoC in this book was also named after his skin colour so you know what??
I'm just going to change my name to Brown just so this 'trend' is complete!

Actual rating: 1.5 stars
Out of FIVE
Intensity: -12
Romance: meh! -5

Now if you look at my shelving, you'll be wondering:
Did I regret it? Well yes I did
Do I still need god to help me? Yes, I need her to help me forget the abomination that is this book!

to answer more questions:







YOU ARE AT THE WRONG PLACE!!(you can msg me for recs)

I initially didn't want to review this because there's a lot of good rants reviews to give you a good insight to what waste of time this book is!
So I'll just write a critical review on this an try not to throw too much shade!

I'll describe this book in three words CLICHE, CHEESY AND CRINGE
From the beginning to the end there was nothing truly captivating. It causes one to wonder why this deserves so much as an award.

At this point, I believe that even if JLA published her grocery list, it'll have 5 star reviews and an award. Perhaps, a grocery list would even be more interesting than this!!

This book follows Poppy or Princess or Penellaphe(even autocorrect knows its weird) who happens to be a maiden because of what??(Its forbidden to ask!). She is kept in confinement, forced to wear a veil, not allowed to interact, and is always guarded for her protection(basically, a life of solitude). She had a traumatic past and had escaped death narrowly with wonderful scars to show for it!
One would imagine that her life will be hella tough but is it tho??
She has a maid who is always with her and whom she interacts with named Tawny, she has two wonderful guards who are actually quite friendly.
Truly she does experience difficulty in her upbringing as the maiden but I felt its nothing compared to many other YA fantasy female protagonists.
I believe JLA was trying to capture how females were forced to live in the past: submissive, protected by men and unable to make their own choices. However, I would say the execution was poor!
Speaking of strong females, Poppy knows how to fight and she has powers too(we also don't question how that came about). She was trained by Vikter(which is forbidden), one of her guards who I actually admire because seriously, how does he put up with this girl???
With her training she is able to defend herself.
What could go wrong ??
Love or should I say Lust!!

Now let's meet the characters

Poppy: She is the main character and the supposed chosen maiden. She is supposed to lead the next Ascension(don't ask me what that is). She's a great asset to the kingdom and like other cliché female characters, ShE's NoT LiKe OthEr gIRlS.
She can fight, use a dagger and has superpowers. Walmart Raven basically!
She unfortunately had to ruin her potential by falling in love. TBH I don't really know how to describe her except that she's an ungrateful, bland, stupid and lust filled cry baby.

I still didn’t move or speak.

I waited, my heart beating so fast I felt faint. Tiny tremors racked my hands and legs.

And I never trembled.

What are you doing? whispered the reasonable, sane voice in my head.

Living, I whispered back.

And being incredibly stupid, the voice countered.

Was that supposed to be funny??

Hawke: He might be the most predictable asshole to walk the face of Masadonia(yes I spelt it right)*snorts*
He is our "beautiful" love interest, he's the one with the GoLdEN eyes. So sexy😒
But you know what I think, he's a problematic predator. At the end we'll find out his age and not only does that give me the heebie-jeebies, it also makes me wonder how long y'all are going to find these VaMpIRe romance worthwhile..
He found poppy in the red pearl(that she sneaked out to) and then he became her royal guard through questionable means ofc.
He repeatedly says he's intrigued by her, which is an exaggeration cause Poppy is as bland as white toast. Why?
All she does is think about Hawke(who is boring himself) and her tragic past(which gets boring when you hear it the 59th time!)

“I told you the truth, Princess. I’m intrigued by you, and it’s fairly rare anyone intrigues me.”

Sorry dude, I don't see it!

Also, am I the only one that found him disgusting especially in those smut scenes

" Before I could ask what he meant, I felt the wet, warm glide of his tongue through the thin, silken gown. I gasped, shocked by the act and by the rush of liquid heat it brought forth, but then his gaze lifted to mine as his mouth closed over the tip of my breast. He sucked deep and long, and the gasp turned to a cry that would surely embarrass me later."

You saw that right! He licked her fucking shit!!

Girl, I'm outta here!

Next up, The romance(warning: It gets cringy and disgusting as it progresses)
The romance was supposed to be the best part of the book but it turned out to be its downfall!
Red flags:
Insta-love(Not a fan of it)
Enemies to lovers trope that failed miserably
Erotica to rival telenovelas(I kid you not!)
Fast paced and entirely trusting(I mean chill girl, you just met the dude; don't go pouring all your
life problems on him)
Sheer stupidity!!!!!!

Now the smut scenes are going to be divided into three:

The first one was at the red pearl, nothing too bad here except the gown licking part(DISCLAIMER:NEVER LICK SOMEONE'S CLOTHING NO MATTER HOW AROUSED YOU ARE!! NO ORGASM IS WORTH IT! THERE'S COVID AND GERMS!!!)

The second one was all talk and no smut! However, I know I'm never trying honeydew ever!!
(i mean he described her p***y juice as honeydew, puhlease!!)Even honey makes me cringe now!

The third one was ok. There was actual smut so probably the best one, but there was still some details that I'd rather not share💆🏽‍♀️

Their love makes no sense,
Me: Why did you guys fall in love?
Hawke: She was intriguing yunno!
Me: *blinks*
Hawke: Like, she's not LIke The OtHErS
Me: *blinks* so umm poppy you?
Poppy: Well he's always in pain, he's beautiful and he's eyes are so gol-
Me: Ok don't say it!!!!!!!

Fun fact but really really sad fact: The whole plot is built around some stupid Ascension that never took place!!
SMH, complete waste of time!!

In summary, this book was awful. Seriously though, no worldbuilding, bland characters and an outrageous plot!I wish she had at least drawn a map. It almost felt like she didn't put any effort into this at all!
"SJM this you?"
Nahh couldn't be!

I'll be honest, If this was a debut novel, I'd have given it four or at least three stars. However, when you're as accomplished as JLA there's certain things i expect. Unfortunately, this felt flat and uninteresting to me. Better luck next time JLA!

After reading this I'll increase my rating of "kissing the corona virus" to 3 stars

I was really disappointed with the ending cause I really wanted Poppy to die but guess who refused to get herself killed?? PEnellAphE

My reaction to this book be like:

Profile Image for Laura Thalassa.
Author 37 books17.5k followers
May 1, 2020
This book is officially my new obsession! I need you all to read it too so that we can all gush about it! Seriously, I haven't felt this way about a book since Holly Black's Folk of the Air series, and I'm having trouble concentrating on writing because I can't get this book and the characters out of my head! Putting this baby on my "Favorites" shelf! <3
Profile Image for Lucy Tonks.
503 reviews742 followers
August 31, 2021
Yes, I did in fact managed to finish this whole book. All 600 pages of it. And I can say that it was.. something. Definitely.

I don't understand how a book can be so bad. I went into this book with pretty low expectations because of all the mixed reviews that I've seen online, but somehow I'm still disappointed. I don't think I've ever cringed so much while reading a book. I'm not sure I have actually ever cringed while reading a book. Now I understand why Sofia calls this From Mud and Trash. I'm sorry to say, but it deserves that name.

Poppy is the Maiden, from birth she's lived a very solitary life. She is waiting for her Ascension when she would much rather spent her time with her guards. The entire kingdom's future rests on Poppy's shoulders, but of course when Hawke, this mysterious guard, comes into her life, she starts doing everything she was told not to do. A fallen kingdom starts rising once more, trying to claim what they believe belongs to them and Poppy makes some discoveries, making her world starting to unravel.

The synopsys doesn't sound so bad... right? Right?
Well I wish that was the case.

This has to be one of the most unoriginal books I have ever read. Originality who? We never heard of her. And of course what is a fantasy book without the chosen one trope? You can tell from the sypnopsis that Poppy is the Chosen One. But why Poppy is the Maiden and the Chosen One? I still have no clue. We are told so many times that she is the MaIdEn, but we are never told why! Or how, for that matter. Poppy herself never questions this! Why couldn't we get a straight answer for that? And that's ironic because this has to be the straighest book I have ever read.

If you asked me what the plot of this book is, I wouldn't be able to tell you. I'm not even sure what we do get can be considered plot. Everything was just all over the place. There were times when it was simply dragging and then there were other times when the plot was moving so fast I was missing half of the things that were happening. The inconsistency in the plot was so painfully obvious and just overall annoying. I'm sorry, but how did this even got published?!

I was expecting better foreshadowing, but somehow I ended up guessing every freaking plot twist in here. Every. Freaking. One. Of. Them. The foreshadowing was so bad, I guessed the big plot-twist, end reveal, however you wanna call it, from the first 3 chapters. And oh things got so much worse as every clue was right in front of Poppy's eyes but no, she doesn't realise anything is wrong. The thing is, she is referred as “smart” on more than one occasion. Take that as you will, I for one, wanna commit murder.

Now may I present to you, our not like other girls protagonist, Penellaphe Balfour. I totally didn't have to google how to spell her name right Yup, that's her full name. Quite a mouthful, isn't it? She is just beyond names like Penelope. Let's just forget her name before I start making other bad jokes. As I just said before Poppy is referred as smart. On many occasions. I want to disagree with that. She must be one of the most stupid characters I have ever read about. She has no common sense. None. I was reading at this and just screaming because of the decisions that Poppy made. She is that kind of basic YA/NA brave heroine who has to sense of self preservation and I'm just sick of that. Reading over 600 pages with her as a main character was not a fun time, especilly when her personality is lacking at best.
Can we adress the fact that all her life she has been shelthered, but she doesn't act like she waas, not even for one moment in this book? I've read books with charcters like her that have lived a shelthered life. For example Cress from The Lunar Chronicles or Emi from Red Winter. They act like their lives have been shelthered and rightfully so, but Poppy is from beginning to end is the same annoying girl, who acts like her life has always been normal, when it clearly wasn't.

Entering Hawke Flynn. I hated him. Even more than Poppy, if that is possible. He is what I like to call basic YA love interest with tragic backstory. He was so disturbing and manipulative. Poppy kept asking him to stop touching her or something like that and he kept insisting that he knows what she wants and that she is lying whenever she says she doesn't want him to touch her. Excuse me?! The audaticy there. That is just straight up problematic. Does he even know what the word consent means? I will buy a dictionary just for him if needed. I will teach him myself the meaning of it, if necessary. And I haven't even got to the disturbing part. Without spoiling much, let's just say there's an age difference between him and Poppy and somehow he still acts like a horny teenager. I wish I was joking, but Hawke can't keep it in his pants. Not even in situation where he really really should.

The romance was bad. So bad. And just problematic because of so many different things. First things first, let's establish this. Poppy has no standarts. Someone is hot? He is the one for her! The inetractions between Poppy and Hawke where the scenes where I cringed the most. Hawke said so many disturbing things to Poppy. I am never going to look at honeydew the same now. *shudders* So many red flags that I want to scream.

I am not somebody who really pays attention to the writing style so please trust me when I saw that the writing was bad and that's putting it mildly. How does this author has over 20 books published is beyond me. This is my first JLA book so I obviously can't comment on her other works, maybe her other books are better, but you would think that with this many books published, at least her writing would be good. I was so wrong. I understand that maybe Poppy would start stuttering a bit because she is anxious when talking to someone. But in her thoughts too? This book is told in first person so we are stuck with Poppy's perspective and I'm still not over the fact that she is stuttering in her thoughts for the whole book.

"Tonight was about living, about...not being up all night, unable to sleep, alone and feeling I had no control, idea of who I was other than what I was."

My question is how did the editor let this pass? It happens so frequently that it gets aggrevating after a while. Also to add to that, there were so many mistakes that I found in the book, so many unnecessary commas. I thought writers where supposed to know when a comma was actually needed. Isn't that their job? To know how to write?
This book has some pretty quotes, I'll give that to the author, but that sadly doesn't change the fact this book is not good.

“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.”

What the actual hell was this worldbuilding? The magic system is equally as bad. I didn't really understand anything about it. It's so poorly done and there's nothing original about it, but we've already established that orginality is not this book's strong suit. There is so much info-dump every few chapters, yet we still know and understand so little. I am not sure if this was the author's intension although I doubt that or she simply didn't try, but it doesn't matter which of those two is true, I still hate the fact that we have so much info-dump that tells us nothing and it's just irrelevant. We have those scenes there just for the book to be longer.
I still don't fully understand what the Ascended are or how does one Ascend. It's such a prevelent thing in the story, yet it's never fully explained. We just know that it exists.
The author seems to consider explanations irrelavant in this book.
There are so many other things I don't understand like why is Poppy the Maiden? How was she chosen as a Maiden? What exactly is a Maiden? What the hell are Poppy's powers? And so many other things that could have easily been explained in a few lines since either Hawke or Poppy probably knew the answers to my questions.

In a poor attempt for this book to be somewhat orginal, although it fails miserably as we established before originality is not a strong suit that this book has, JLA has decided to give new names to well known terms in fantasy books. For example:

Vampires = Vamprys
Werewolf = Wolven
+ other terminology I'm forgetting

Esentially what the author is trying to show us is that From Blood and Ash is not like other books.

And we can also see that from the charcters's names that she chose. What was wrong with Penelope? Why the need to write it Penellaphe? I listened to the audiobook and they are pronounced the same way. There are so many names just like that and I don't see the point.

One last thing. How in the world did this win the Goodreads Choice Awards? Just how? I had more faith in humanity.

This was a journey and not in a good way. I'm pretty sure I lost braincells while reading this. I don't think I have ever read a book as bad as this one. I'm sorry to anyone who loves this, I just don't. It's not for me and it will never be for me. I somehow managed to read this whole book, don't ask me how since I have no idea either, but I did. And I will be reading Kingdom of Flesh and Fire AKA Kingdom of Bleah and Tired so probably get ready for another rant.

P.S. This book doesn't deserve all the beautiful fanart it gets. Thank You.


I have so many thoughts. I can't believe I've actually finished this.


Ok, I'm reading this. I repeat. I'm reading this.

Will I end up regreting this decision?
Most likely.
Am I still doing this?

Buddy read with Erin, Salty, Lia and Devika (hopefully reading it with you guys will make my experience better) [Edit; this experience wans't that bad lmao; I was wheezing a lot because of our reactions to this]


I've seen this book everywhere lately. I've seen so many great reviews for this book, but I've also seen a lot of not s great reviews and I've been thinking about picking it up, but first I have a question. Is this book worth the hype? I don't want to read this book (or actually spend money on a copy) only in the end to be disappointed. And also, another question, what should I expect going in? Anything I should know about beforehand?
Profile Image for Maryam Rz..
220 reviews2,746 followers
August 4, 2023
(4.5 ★’s)

“You’re such a bad influence,”
“Only the bad can be influenced, Princess.”

That might make no sense to you but it makes perfect sense to me and to Hawke who might just be my very first book crush—how is that possible someone mark the date because hell has frozen over.

This was my very first book by JLA and I will willingly climb over your rooftop to shout at the top of my lungs and declare her an excellent writer for all and any of your neighbours to hear. Why? Because From Blood and Ash takes many of the most addictive and—to use Hawke’s and my favourite word—intriguing tropes and teen storytelling elements then proceeds to not only throw them all in the same pot but also add spice and her experienced touch filled with angst, working to make a memorable, mesmerising stew out of them.

Loneliness often brought with it a heavy, coarse blanket of shame, and a cloak constructed of embarrassment.

I believe what made this book a favourite and an obsession for me is the clever fact that the pieces gathered from all over the YA and NA genre are not simply inserted next to one another, but spun around to tread a fresh path and well-developed to stand out of the thin, flat pages boldly. From a sheltered, caged Maiden that is in truth a secretly rebellious skilled warrior, to a charming, shameless, cunning vicious guard love interest who cheers for her as she fights and stands next to her rather than in front of her, to the potent and intoxicating feeling of raging anguish thoroughly lacing the tale, JLA has created an iconic, unbelievably hot, and forbidden enemies to lovers dynamic in a nearly flawless paranormal romance that I gleefully let drown me.

“The truth is not designed to ease fears,” Vikter responded.
“Is that why we tell lies, then?”

But the author’s best decision, in my eyes, was writing FBaA as a new adult book. No, not because of all the steamy tension (though there’s also that), but because this genre let Poppy’s struggles with her gilded cage, lacking freedom, stolen choice, and the inherent yet quiet theme of corrupt power and distorted religion in From Blood and Ash to be opened without being glossed over and left unexplored.

But remember, just because FBaA digs into the abuse of power, religion, and faith to take away people’s choices, it’s not speaking against those who choose to dress as they believe. Poppy’s pain is not about covering her face, it’s about not having a choice in the matter.

From Blood and Ash
We Shall Rise.

Evidently and unfortunately, I’m rather efficient at predicting things (if I say so myegoisticself, and I do) and it did not help that the reveals were predictable; in fact, if you draw a Venn diagram of every single twist in FBaA, big and small, and every single prediction of mine, big and small, the circles wouldn’t just overlap—they’d be virtually the same. The phenomenon here though is how me seeing it all coming did not take away even 0.00000001% of my enjoyment. What it truly felt like was rereading a favourite book.

It makes sense: the plot starts ingenuously and remains exciting in its small bumps instead of grand turns, the UST-filled dynamic is perpetually perfect and deliciously inebriating, the characters are all precisely my type in their insanity (even side characters like Tawny who you’ll find saying things like, “My hormones are always clouding my rational thought, thank you very much.”), the action scenes are well written and not impossible, and the book does indeed enjoy being deadly and killing its characters in the most emotional way possible (I cried so many times I swear—though my book playlist might also be to blame).

Death with dignity, dignity in death; From Blood and Ash certainly killed me without giving me the courtesy. Damn all cliffhangers to hell.

“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.”
Death always found a way in.

CW ➾ graphic mature content, explicit language, sexual assault, abuse, caning, sexism, loss of loved ones, blood and violence

Obsessed Thumbs Up: Romance

“I hate you.”
“No, you don’t.”
“And I’m about to stab you,” I warned. “In a very violent manner.”
Concern flickered across his face as he lowered the book. “Now that, I believe.”

Read the above quote and tell me that’s not one of the most romantic things you have ever read. No, tell me.

Thinking on it though, maybe no one should evaluate the romantic-ness of anything based on the opinion of a deeply sick and sociopathic aromantic whose fave dynamics are similar to a savage, furious sparring match where the partners are striving to draw first blood and the chemistry is all about the quandary of wanting and abstaining, and is probably not the paragon of a healthy relationship.

Credit: Catherine Crowley

Why do I love them? I love how he’s a lethal killer and she’s (disturbingly enough) drawn to it. I love how she, too, is a skilled fighter and pushes herself to work harder and not be bested by him. And oh I love how he sees her and challenges her and never underestimates her. I love how insane they both are. Happy now?

“When you listen to me, I think the stars will fall.”

Swooning Thumbs Up: Hawke Flynn

“You’re ridiculous,” I sputtered.
“What I am is intrigued.”

Credit: Juliet BxRomance

How can you love someone so much and yet want to kill them so badly? I don’t know but I think Poppy does, because I believe we share that urge to constantly stab Hawke Flynn with a sharp dagger. Honestly? Hawke’s cunning charming audacious insufferable arrogant vengeful killer swaggering put me in mind of Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury except I love Rhys more as one would an adorable misunderstood puppy while Hawke might just have claimed the place of my first (or second?) book crush. To put it simply, Hawke is a less mushy more cutting-blade version of Rhys, which is just my gig—the less mush the better.

Relieved Thumbs Up: Penellaphe Balfour

Wasn’t that what living meant? Taking more than a sip here and small bite there. It was all about gulping and swallowing as much as you could.

First, I would like to thank the gods of publishing industry as we seem to be getting blessed with so many unique, captivating badass female leads (or maybe it’s just me and I’m gravitating towards a certain type of book). Secondly, I would like to thank JLA for blessing me with Poppy who is not just “another strong female MC” and actually deserves the title.

Credit: Juliet BxRomance

Yes, she might be the opposite of all the traits her namesake represents (Penellaphe, the Goddess of Wisdom, Loyalty, and Duty—bearing another type of rare strength) she is strong and courageous all the same. This girl, who has endured abuse and pain and chains most of her life, kept quiet and steady, swallowing her pain and keeping her chin up, is the epitome of strength; later falling over the edge and into the unstoppable well of rage does not change that. Becoming an extreme, violent, wild, vengeful, deadly, occasionally irrational tornado does not change that, because it is her right. To protest and refuse being a helpless pawn is her right. I cheered as she exploded, fell in love with her only when she snapped. And her every action and thought and aspect of story supported and showed this vicious strength and I appreciate how JLA’s words were not empty.

“And your scars? They are a testament to your fortitude. They are proof of what you survived. They are evidence of why you are here when so many twice your age wouldn’t be. They’re not ugly. Far from it. They’re beautiful, Poppy.”

With Poppy whose choice, whose future was long ago taken away, FBaA delves into the traditional expectations society has of women such as the “innocence” and value of virginity over every other part of person’s character, and digs deep, not being satisfied with brushing the surface. With Poppy who was not allowed to want or need and was thrown in a cage of vipers, never safe and never free, JLA takes note of all that people have and take for granted, peppering this book of romance with reality.

With Poppy, JLA shows gradual change and cutting of chains through determination and dreams and NOT because of falling in love with a guy.

A Maiden doesn’t question the gods’ plans. She has faith in them without knowledge of them.
Maybe I truly wasn’t worthy of being a Maiden, because I found it hard to have faith in anything without knowledge of it.

To be honest, I was hesitant about reading the tale of “a sheltered, clueless girl” falling in love with her “protector” but man am I relieved that Poppy was not that; she resisted being “sheltered and clueless” at every turn and awed me with her fierceness, clear intelligence (which was no less marred by her sometimes idiotic decisions rooted in emotions or lack of cunning), and relentless curiousity (that was never stopped by fear). It’s brave and compassionate Poppy’s of the world who make me remember why I loved Gryffindors.

“Fear and bravery are often one and the same. It either makes you a warrior or a coward. The only difference is the person it resides inside.”

Sad Semi Thumbs Down: World Building

“May Rhain escort you to paradise,” I whispered, wiping the blood from my dagger on a small towel that had been draped over the end table. “And may you find eternal peace with those who have passed before you.”

No, the downfall of From Blood and Ash was not being predictable because really who cares life is predictable, it was its world building—no, not its world but the building of its world.

At first glance, you would find the book confusing and think it’s complicated, but that’s not the case; at least, it could have been the case because the world JLA has created is, in essence, complicated, but not on the page. Instead, it’s akin to being given 10 pieces of a 100 piece puzzle you don’t know the eventual picture of to put them in their right places, frame it, and gladly hang it on your wall and go about your day. I mean, who the fuck does that?

“Some truths do nothing but destroy and decay what they do not obliterate. Truths do not always set one free. Only a fool who has spent their entire life being fed lies believes that.”

FBaA attempts to walk the there are two sides to every story path and grossly fails, neglecting one side of the story so thoroughly that you have no choice but to accept the other side and can’t understand what the characters are even conflicted about as, in all honesty, one side makes absolutely zero sense. This is a very lacking approach and takes away tremendously from the book’s potential. I know, you’re going to say “but you didn’t criticise the world in, say, The Shadows Between Us, a fantasy romance with barely any world building,” and that’s because Tricia Levenseller decided what she wanted to write and didn’t make any claims to other aspects, while JLA chose to go there but, sadly, tripped.

What this lead to was a world with a jumble of fantastic ideas and spins on paranormal creatures and no glue to hold them together whatsoever. Only at the very end of the book does the glue of sense grace us with its presence and even then explanations and rules are vague, making the world disjointed and odd but not in the good odd way I cherish.

My issue with JLA’s world building nearly stopped me from shelving From Blood and Ash as not just a fave but an all-time fave. Fortunately, Hawke and Poppy and their romantic bloodsport so helplessly possessed my heart that I was all but an adoring acolyte.


Book series playlist: Spotify URL

Books in series:
The Red Pearl Bonus Scene (Blood and Ash, #0.5) ★★★✯☆
➴ From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash, #1) ★★★★✯
A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash, #2) ★★★★✯
The ​Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood and Ash, #3) ☆☆☆☆☆
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,480 reviews79k followers
January 19, 2021
"The next time you go out, wear better shoes and thicker clothing. Those slippers are likely to be the death of you, and that dress... the death of me."


I have no desire to cause a stink or debate on this book's worthiness of being read, because when it comes down to it, the issues I had with this book were all based in personal preference, and everyone has a right to their opinion of this book, myself as well as fans of this series. Typically, when I pick up a fantasy novel I'm looking for one of two types; either give me a fully developed, sweeping saga in a unique world, or give me a saccharine sweet, smutty romance. Basically, I need a story to commit to going full on Mistborn or full on Vampire Academy. To me, this book was trying a little too hard to fall in the middle and please everyone, which came across in the form of large info-dumps, predictable plotting, and a handful of explicit sexual scenes at the very end of a 600+ page story.

I ask this question sincerely, but I can't really be the only person who wasn't shocked by a single plot twist or development in this story, right? My expectations were clearly not in the right place, which is on me, due to the many glowing reviews touting a shocking conclusion that had everyone's jaw on the floor. If you've read more than 3 YA/NA fantasy novels over the past decade, then you probably can guess the outcome of this book by the end of the first chapter.

There are Vampires and Werewolves and Atlanteans and Zombies, but all with slightly changed names. There is a "Dark One", reminiscent of a few other beloved fantasy series. There is a special chosen girl who is kept in the dark and finds out that everything she knows is a lie. There is heavy-handed foreshadowing, to the point where I pictured JLA twirling a tiny mustache while writing these scenes, giving us a nice little evil villain laugh. Basically, I thought this would be something new and fresh, and I spent 13 hours listening to a book to find out all of my guesses from the very beginning were indeed correct. (However, if this is your speed, definitely give the audiobook a try because the narrator is FABULOUS.)

One thing I will stand my ground on-this is not a romance. Just because a book features a couple falling in love and includes 3 sex scenes at the end of the book does not a romance make. I'm totally fine with this book winning a Goodreads Choice Award, because I don't think my opinion is more valid than the masses, but it should have won in the fantasy category. Thank you for coming to my TED talk, and I'm truly sorry that I didn't love this more. I hope you'll still invite me to the next hype party.
August 9, 2021
”You’re an absolutely stunning, murderous little creature”.

¡Por fin leí el libro que todo el mundo quería que leyera y me recomendaban sin parar! Y de lo único que me arrepiento es de no haberlo leído antes. O sea, ¿cómo pude vivir tanto tiempo sin conocer, sufrir y fangirlear con la historia de Poppy y de Hawke?

Obviamente más adelante haré una sección bastante larga de spoilers, pero antes voy a contarles un poco sobre este libro. From Blood and Ash nos cuenta la historia de Poppy, una chica que desde su nacimiento fue elegida por los dioses para ser la Maiden y, eventualmente, cumplir con un destino muy importante. Al ser la Maiden, la vida de Poppy ha estado siempre llena de prohibiciones: solo puede vestir de blanco, debe llevar un velo sobre su rostro todo el tiempo, solo unas cuantas personas tienen permitido verla y, obviamente, como su título lo indica, debe permanecer casta y pura como una doncella. Sin embargo, Poppy nunca ha sido muy buena siguiendo las reglas y siempre se ha dejado llevar por su curiosidad. Una noche, se escapa del palacio y termina en un establecimiento bastante peculiar llamado la Red Pearl y allí, enmascarada, conoce a Hawke, un guardia que la obligará a replantearse todo lo que su existencia misma como Maiden implica.

Y creo que no les puedo contar mucho más, pero sepan que From Blood and Ash es un libro que, a pesar de que tiene un inicio algo lento, engancha y es imposible dejar de leerlo. Debo admitir que no fue sino hasta el final que entendí el sistema político y religioso que nos planteaban en la trama. Y, en el fondo, creo que ese es el punto de la autora porque, como todo lo vivimos desde los ojos de Poppy y ciertos rituales y procedimientos los mantienen secretos incluso para ella, tiene sentido que nosotros como lectores tampoco los entendamos en un primer momento.

¿Y qué más puedo decirles sin spoilers? Hmm… Vale, sin decir nombres, las criaturas que idea Jennifer L. Armentrout para este libro, a pesar de compartir varias características con algunas de las más clásicas, me parecieron bastante originales, pero ya las mencionaré más adelante. Y nada, lo último que mencionaré antes de poder hablar libremente es que LA TENSIÓN de este libro es de otro mundo. Vamos, que todo se siente tan prohibido y lleno de primeras experiencias que… wow, de verdad. En fin, necesito poder fangirlear ya mismo, así que empieza la sección de spoilers. ¡Están avisados!

◘ ◘ ◘

1. Pues el libro empieza fuerte porque Poppy se ha escapado y termina en la Red Pearl, una taberna/burdel, aunque nadie puede reconocerla porque va con una máscara y una túnica. Básicamente, ella está harta de que controlen cada aspecto de su vida como Maiden y quiere realmente vivir, experimentar cosas. La cosa es que de repente ve a Vikter, uno de sus guardias, e intenta esconderse en una de las habitaciones… pero allí se encuentra con Hawke, otro guardia al que ella ha visto entrenar porque le parece obscenamente guapo.

2. Y es que, a pesar de la sorpresa, Hawke no la echa de allí, sino todo lo contrario. Le dice que ni siquiera tienen que hablar y se quita su camisa. Y POPPY SE QUEDA CON CARA DE ”OMG, LOS DIOSES MISMOS ESCULPIERON ESE PECHO”.

3. Después de momentos muy tensionantes, SE BESAN. O sea, cuando les digo que el libro empieza fuerte es porque de verdad sucede. ¡Yo nunca me esperé que eso pasara en las primeras veinte páginas! I mean, sí, en ese momento son desconocidos. Pero no me importaba. Y todo es tremendamente intenso, Poppy está flipando y luego Hawke le pregunta que si es su primer beso (QUE OBVIO LO ES PORQUE MAIDEN), pero ella lo niega.

4. Y ES QUE NO SOLO SE BESAN, sino que Hawke baja un poco más y es muy atento con sus bobos, digámoslo así. Pero cuando todo va a escalar un poco más, alguien los interrumpe. Hawke tiene que ir a lidiar con algo, pero le pide a Poppy (aunque obvio no sabe quién es en ese momento) que lo espere. PERO ELLA SE VA. Godsdammit!

5. Debo decir que amé desde el primer momento que Hawke le dijera a Poppy “Princess”.

6. Nos saltamos como 80 páginas, pero lo importante aquí es que una de las Ladies in Wait fue asesinada en el palacio y creen que una de las criaturas llamadas Craven la mató porque la encontraron sin una gota de sangre en su cuerpo. Y lo otro importante que ha sucedido es que, en una salida a los jardines, otras criaturas atacaron a Poppy y a Rylan, su guardia, y el pobre hombre murió por una flecha que cargaba el mensaje del Dark One, que es aparentemente un príncipe al que apoyan los Descenters y que quiere acabar con la monarquía actual. Todo es un poco lío, pero poco a poco el libro va haciendo que entendamos todas estas tramas políticas, religiosas y de criaturas extrañas.

7. Y es que yo en este punto, cuando ya casi llegaba a la página 160, me estaba preguntando si a Hawke se lo había tragado el Blood Forest o algo, pero ¡por fin vuelve a aparecer! Están en el funeral de Rylan y Vikter, el otro guardia de Poppy, debe ir a encender la pira, pero no quiere alejarse de ella por el peligro. Sin embargo, de repente suena una voz que dice que él la cuidará… Y ESA VOZ ES DE HAWKE. Y obvio Poppy entra en pánico porque cree que la va a reconocer, pero aparentemente no lo hace. Aunque la tensión… ay, la tensión que igual se siente es espectacular.

8. ¡Y casi me muero de asjdknaslkdjfnas cuando Hawke, incluso a pesar del velo, ve que Poppy tiene la cara algo golpeada por el ataque de los jardines y le dice que eso nunca va a suceder de nuevo bajo su guardia. Lo amo. Fan.

9. Uhhh, bueno, hay algo muy cabrón en todo este libro y es que, cuando era pequeña, Poppy sobrevivió a un ataque de Cravens. Sus padres murieron en ese ataque, pero ella lo logró… excepto por un montón de cicatrices que tiene en su cuerpo y, sobre todo, en uno de los lados de su cara. La cosa aquí es que el Duque de Masadonia, el Ascended del castillo en el que vive Poppy, siempre la menosprecia y le dice que es una lástima que alguien tan bonita esté mancillada por esas cicatrices tan horrorosas. Total, en un momento están reunidos el Duque, la Duquesa, Hawke, Poppy y más guardias y el tipo vuelve a soltar un comentario de lo horrible que es la mitad de su cara… Y HAWKE DICE QUE NO, QUE LAS DOS MITADES SON IGUAL DE HERMOSAS. ¿Cómo puede ser tan perfecto? Aiuda.

10. ¿Fui la única que fangrleó cuando Hawke le dice Poppy y no Penellaphe a ella por primera vez? ¡Y ella casi se derrite! Es que, vaya, creo que una de las cosas que más me fascinaron de Hawke es que nunca trata a Poppy únicamente como la Maiden, como un objeto. Literalmente todo el mundo la trata como una cosa que sencillamente hay que mantener pura hasta que llegue el momento de su Ascensión. Pero, joder, esa era otra cosa que me desesperaba… ¿QUÉ CARAJOS ES LA ASCENSIÓN? ¡Porque ni Poppy misma lo sabe! O sea, toda su vida ha cumplido un montón de reglas absurdas para llegar a ese momento de la Ascensión, pero ni siquiera sabe qué va a pasar con ella. Era horrible. Al final del libro lo entendemos, pero uf. La confusión y la frustración eran reales.

11. HOLY SHIT! Me dio tanta ira leer esa escena en la que el Duque castiga a Poppy por cualquier gilipollez. De verdad, ese tipo siempre ha tenido cualquier excusa para darle “lecciones” a Poppy… y con “lecciones” me refiero a darle tundas. El malnacido. Y leer ese momento en el que le da siete latigazos con un bastón y le deja destrozada la espalda… joder. LO QUE MÁS ME CABREÓ ES QUE POPPY LO ACEPTA Y SÓLO SE LO CUENTA A TAWNY, SU CRIADA, PERO AGHHH.

12. Vale, algo que no he mencionado y que me FASCINA es que, a pesar de todo, Poppy no es ninguna damisela en apuros. Desobedeciendo las reglas, Vikter le enseñó a defenderse en el combate cuerpo a cuerpo, en el combate con dagas y espadas y en el tiro con arco. ¡Y Poppy es ridículamente buena en todas esas cosas! Y hay un punto en el que hay un ataque de Cravens que quieren invadir el castillo y a ella le da igual estar en su ropa de cama, pero se pone una capa y sale con su arco a defender el bastión y a intentar matar a la mayor cantidad de criaturas que pueda. ¡Y AMÉ! ¡En serio es muy badass!

13. Eventualmente Hawke la encuentra y en vez de llevársela rápidamente a su habitación de nuevo para que no le pase nada, él le dice que es absolutamente magnífica. ESTO ERA TOO MUCH FOR MY POOR HEART! Y es que, claro, para que no se escape, él la sostiene contra sí mismo Y TODO ESE CONTACTO, OMG, Poppy casi estalla en llamas allí mismo. Amo.

14. ¡Y es en ese mismo momento en el que él revela que ya sabe que fue ella con quien estuvo en la Red Pearl! *Inserte aquí a Isa gritando*. Y Poppy dice que solo fueron unos cuantos besos, pero Hawke responde que fue mucho más y que no tiene ningún problema en recordárselo Y. ME. MUERO.

15. Él sigue reteniéndola porque intentó atacarlo con una daga y ella pelea, pero él le dice que a menos que vaya a usar sus manos para cosas diferentes a herirlo (IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, OMG) no la va a soltar. Así que Poppy intenta moverse para zafarse de su agarre, pero sin querer cierta parte… ehh… sensible de ella termina rozándose con cierta parte… sensible de él Y LA POBRE CASI SE MUERE, JAJAJAJA.

16. Okay, tengo que dejar en record que siempre sospeché que había algo… más… acerca de Hawke. Todos esos comentarios de “es que suenas más viejo de lo que pareces”, “se movió tan rápido que no pude verlo” y cosas así me dieron pistas desde el principio. Nunca lo adiviné por completo, pero siempre supe que no era “sólo” Hawke.

17. En serio, las conversaciones entre estos dos me iban matando lentamente. Después de la noche del ataque, Hawke y ella están hablando y él le dice que no le va a impedir absolutamente nada, pero que la próxima vez que salga por favor se ponga unas botas y algo diferente a su atuendo de dormir porque verle las piernas desnudas lo iba volviendo absolutamente loco. QUE ALGUIEN ME DÉ AIRE, POR FAVOR.

18. ¿Y podemos hablar de nuevo de que Hawke es el único que le hace preguntas a Poppy sobre ella misma y no sobre ella como Maiden? Es que amo que sea el único que la vea más allá de ese título absurdo que nadie entiende.

19. OMG, hay un momento en el que Poppy está en sus sesiones semanales con la Priestess, una vieja súper desagradable, y esta señora intenta pegarle una cachetada a Poppy por alguna “insolencia” que dijo, PERO EL GOLPE NUNCA LLEGA PORQUE HAWKE LA DETIENE. LO AMO.

20. Dude, casi me parto de la risa cuando Poppy sale por el castillo hacia la biblioteca con el único objetivo de robarse un diario erótico de una tal Miss Colyns… Y resulta que lo empieza a leer y llega a una parte en la que describen cómo están besando a la autora del diario no precisamente en la boca, sino… well… you know y justo en ese momento llega el Duque ella termina atrapada en el filo de una ventana no pueden pillarla. Total, después de un montón de tiempo, el que la termina encontrando es Hawke. Y para bajarla de esa ventana tiene que abrazarla y de nuevo ella queda como: OH, MY GODS, TODO SU CUERPO ESTÁ TOCANDO EL MÍO Y DEBERÍA DECIRLE QUE ME SUELTE, PERO NO QUIERO PORQUE TODO SE SIENTE MUY BIEN.

21. Y después de muchos momentos de tensión, Hawke le quita el libro y se da cuenta de que estaba leyendo ESE diario y… dioses, casi me muero de la risa de nuevo porque él queda como “vaya, vaya, qué material de lectura tan interesante”. Y LUEGO EMPIEZA A LEERLE APARTES DE UN CAPÍTULO EN VOZ ALTA.

22. Ay, y luego, cuando están en ese Rito, creo, en el que Poppy por primera vez puede ir sin velo y vestida de rojo (y no blanco como siempre), se encuentra con Hawke y le dice que mintió cuando le dijo antes que se veía adorable porque en realidad se ve hermosa y exquisita. Y ELLA MUERE. Y YO TAMBIÉN.

23. Al final, los dos se aburren de ese evento y como Poppy no quiere volver a su habitación, se van hacia los jardines a pasear… Y ESTÁN COGIDOS DE LA MANOOOO. O sea, ya sé que esto no es gran cosa, pero para ella lo es y es precioso. Total, terminan en una especie de lugar subterráneo bajo un árbol y Hawke se sienta en una banca Y LA SIENTA A ELLA ENCIMA DE ÉL. Mientras todo esto pasa, ella está en plan de “oh, no, esto es inapropiado, pero en realidad no quiero dejar de hacerlo” y Hawke le dice que sabe que ella quiere hacer estas cosas y que le gustan. Akajsdhfkasd. Y luego ella le dice que sentarla en su regazo no es nada inocente, entonces él dice que nunca hace nada inocente. Y POPPY RESPONDE QUE ENTONCES DEBERÍAN ESTAR EN SU HABITACIÓN CON UNA CAMA, DIOSES.

24. Y la escena sigue así, llena de tensión y de diálogos hasta que ella dice que es la Maiden Y ÉL RESPONDE QUE NO LE IMPORTA. ¡Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Y SIGUEN HABLANDO Y ÉL VUELVE A DECIRLE POPPY. Y ella responde que es la tercera vez que le dice así y que está llevando la cuenta. O SEA, ES UNA IDIOTEZ, PERO YO MORÍ.

25. OMG, OMG, OMG, eventualmente él dice que se está haciendo tarde y debería llevarla a su habitación, pero Poppy no quiere volver porque eso implicaría aceptar nuevamente su papel de Maiden y, en vez de eso, LE PIDE QUE LA BESE. Y ÉL RESPONDE QUE NO TIENE QUE PEDÍRSELO DOS BESES NI ROGAR Y SE BESAN Y YO AJDSFLKAJDFJAKS. Y obvio todo es re intenso, él la reacomoda para que quede a horcajadas y ENTONCES ELLA PIENSA QUE NI SU VESTIDO NI SUS PANTALONES SON SUFICIENTEMENTE GRUESOS PORQUE SIENTE TODO. Y más adelante él le dice que si no quiere algo, se lo diga (VIVA EL CONSENTIMIENTO), pero siguen y luego él le dice que debe confesar que estuvo a punto de llevarlos al piso y “hacer cosas malas”… Y POPPY DICE QUE NO LO HUBIERA DETENIDO y que eso la hace una mala Maiden, pero Hawke, hermoso, le dice que no es eso, sólo es una chica a la que le piden demasiado por un papel que ni siquiera entienden bien. AMO.

26. Uhhh… y luego cuando están saliendo de ese lugar, Vikter los ve y es SÚPER EVIDENTE que se estuvieron besando porque tienen los labios súper hinchados. Pobres xD. O no.

27. HOLY SHIT, cuando Vikter y ella van hacia su habitación y pasan por el lugar donde se estaba celebrando el Rito, VEN QUE ALGUIEN ASESINÓ AL DUQUE Y LO EMPALARON CONTRA LA PARED CON LA VARA CON LA QUE SIEMPRE LE PEGABA A POPPY. ¡Justiciaaaaaaaaa! Aunque, bueno, lo creepy es que todo va con un mensaje apoyando al Dark One.

28. Luego, todos están reunidos en una habitación y allí está Lord Mazeen, otro cabrón que siempre la maltrataba con el Duque. Y ya ni recuerdo qué le dice a Poppy, pero la cabrea muchísimo y ELLA SE DESATA Y LE CORTA EL BRAZO, LUEGO UNA MANO Y LUEGO LA CABEZA. YOU GO, GIRL!!!!

29. ¿Podemos hablar de lo tierno que es que Hawke la cuide mientras está inconsciente y que ella, incluso dormida, sienta la caricia de sus dedos contra su mejilla? Es todo demasiado adorable.

30. Y es que, en serio, yo sé que muchas de las interacciones de Poppy y Hawke no son súper ardientes o lo que quieran, pero entre ellos incluso los más inocentes roces o abrazos tienen un gran significado por lo aislada que siempre ha estado Poppy. Y todo me parece hermoso.

31. ¡Oh! Vale, con todo lo que pasó, finalmente la Reina convocó a Poppy a la capital y, por ende, tiene que irse con sus guardias. En un momento Hawke le dice que va a ser súper divertido montar a caballo con ella y le guiña el ojo, pero Poppy no entiende… hasta que efectivamente está encima del caballo con él SÚPER CERCA y sintiendo cada punto de sus cuerpos tocándose, lol.

32. OH, DIOSES DEL OLIMPO. Momentazo a continuación. De camino a la capital, tienen que atravesar el Blood Forest, que está lleno de criaturas y Cravens y todo, así que, evidentemente, Poppy no puede dormir y se está muriendo de frío. Entonces Hawke coge varias mantas de sus caballos y se acuesta con ella para darle calor (WE ALL KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING) y para tranquilizarla. Y al principio sencillamente están acurrucados, ella diciéndole que no va a poder dormir, pero luego Hawke le dice que apuesta a que puede relajarla y hacer que duerma. Así que le pide permiso, Poppy dice que adelante, que lo intente… Y ENTONCES HE STARTS TOUCHING HERE DOWN THERE AND DOING THINGS… ¡Y TODO EN UN CAMPAMENTO CON MÁS GUARDIAS! Y no pueden hacer ningún sonido y holy mother of everything intense. Evidentemente Hawke tiene que taparle la boca al final para no alertar a nadie sobre lo que hacían y luego le dice que van a parar por hoy en ese momento porque if he gets any part of him inside of her, he’ll want every part of him inside of her and he’ll want to hear every sound she makes… y eso no puede pasar… TODAVÍA.

33. Hay otro momento en el que hay unos Cravens atacándolos y, obviamente, Poppy está luchando. Y cuando hay un respiro en la pelea Hawke le dice que nunca pensó que algo relacionado con los Cravens le parecería sexy, pero que verla a ella pelear lo pone muchísimo. Dio-ses.

34. Okay, okay, repiremos… De verdad, no sé qué tienen las posadas de los caminos en los libros de fantasía, pero SIEMPRE suceden cosas salseantes allí. Y aquí no es diferente. Una noche, Poppy y Hawke están hablando y ella le está contando sobre su don de sentir el dolor de las personas y su capacidad para aliviarlo. Ella le confiesa que lo ha hecho con él un par de veces y él se lo agradece, pero luego las miradas son súper intensas y Hawke le dice que no debería mirarlo así, que no es digno… Y, justo cuando se va a ir, Poppy le pide que pase la noche con ella. MUÉROMEEEEEEEEEEEE.

35. Él se queda en shock y le dice que no entiende que si se queda, en menos de diez segundos estaría sobre ella… Y Poppy le dice QUE YA LO SABE. Hawke responde que esta vez no solo la besara… Y ELLA LE REPITE QUE LO SABE. POR TODOS LOS DIOSES, QUE SE CALLEN YA. Y entonces ella se desnuda y Hawke la mira como si fuera lo más hermoso de la vida, a pesar de sus cicatrices. Y, algo importante, es que allí revela que una de sus cicatrices de la pierna es por la mordida de un Craven, pero que a diferencia de todo el mundo, ella no se convirtió, sino que sobrevivió normalmente y por eso es la Elegida, la Maiden.

Profile Image for em.
367 reviews5 followers
April 3, 2020
"You're an absolutely stunning, murderous, little creature."

YO. YOOOO. I have been keeping quiet about this book FOR A MONTH and all this contained fangirling energy almost makes me implode.


I know you know me and my neverending and neverdying love for Jen's books. So imagine the array of emotions that passed through my body when I was given the chance to read her upcoming novel early (elation, HAPPINESS, joy) but I was asked not to speak a word of it (contained fangirling, frustration, yearning).

Well, NOW this book I have been dying to yell and scream about is finally OUT! Yes, Jen really did sneak that one out on you. But now, I repeat-NOW, it is out in the world and we can finally talk about it. I can yell about it. Fangirl. Swoon. Fight you over Hawke (which - mark my words - I will).

From Blood & Ash is Armentrout’s take on high fantasy. It’s current, it’s filled with banter and fun and it integrates elements that we are all familiar with, giving them that JLA spin. Creatures, forgotten civilisations, enchanted forests, gods, royalty, all if it! But I’ll be 100% honest, at first it did feel like a little bit too much, perhaps the unfamiliarity of the world, or perhaps the building didn’t reach my expectations. And this may happen to you too, so my advice is HOLD ON TO IT.

Above the fact that this is a new fantasy series, if there was something - one thing - that shocked me about FB&A that was its love interest. Hawke. I know, you're probably thinking that I do love and adore all heroes created by that beautiful mastermind that is Armentrout, and you are right. But listen up. Hawke will catch you completely off guard. He was a love interest like no other love interest. Cheeky, protective, infuriately sexy and a puzzle you'll want to piece together. Just trust me on that.

And the steam? Yeah, you'll want to trust me on that too.

SO. If you think you are ready for From Blood and Ash, think again. Jennifer has woven a new fantasy universe that will leave you reeling. Filled with action, heart wrenching twists and the most delicious romance, this unputdownable novel comes with a warning: keep a fan close by, because the temperatures are about to rise.

Rating: 4.5/5

*I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,302 reviews43.9k followers
January 19, 2023
Wow! Just a big, bold WOW! I’m actually screaming: WOWZA!

Okay! Quick confession: this book started with frustration. I just grumbled a lot. I found the name choices a little awkward, weird , absurd, you name it. If you had a chance I certainly changed the heroine’s name: Pennallappe, really!??( even writing her name exhausted me) and I tried to pronounce it as I look in the mirror, twisting my mouth but as you may imagine I made several Gibberish sounds. It was more complex chanting a nursery rhyme!

And the people are close to her call the girl Poppy! Oh god! It’s not the ideal way to call your heroine like summon your little puppy to take her a walk!

But I’m still happy because me and heroine might be related! Yes! She’s Masadonian and I’m half Macedonian from my father’s side ( that’s why she’s badass like me, atta Penne Pennaarrabia Penne, Popeye, oh, whatever! I think heroine should change her name with the court! Or she may sue the author for giving her this nonsense name!)

And of course the evil one or let’s call him the dark one is Atlantian. ( see man from Atlantis is the bad guy!) Eventually after reading not so creative place names including unpronounceable heroine name, I started with a big disappointment till our hero Hawke appears!

Hands down ! The hero is sooooo hot! And the chemistry between he and Penep ( oh whatever! ) can set entire Masadonia on fire!
On the other hand, I enjoyed the author’s choice for men names : Hawke, Kieran, Vikter, Rylan, Jericho, yes it gets better! Even pronouncing them gives you goosebumps! What a bunch of sexy, charismatic male names make you sing it’s raining Scottish men hallelujah!

Story line is not original at the beginning. We’re introduced to Poppy living secluded, caged life because she’s the chosen one who will ascend and give herself to the Gods! She’s the Iron Maiden. ( no, she’s not the member of rock band but she’s cool and badass enough to be lead singer) she cannot socialize, she wears a veil to cover her face, she’s lonely, she’s captivated.

She has scars from at the attack of her childhood took her parents’ life. She’s gifted, she lost her family at young age and the dark one is interested with her. See Harry Potter vibes of the story! But she doesn’t have her Hermione and Ron! Poor girl!

As you may see storyline is not original at the beginning but wait for it! I gave at first third of the book: 3 stars

Second third gets interesting as Hawke becomes Poppy’s guardian. Their interaction, smart banters, pant melting, steamy intimacy and seeing Poppy get wilder, getting rid of her chains with motivation Hawke gave her, taking risks by getting bolder excited me so much: so I gave 4 stars at those parts

But last third.... oh my goodness !!!!!The last third the author took us to a too wild, dark, passionate, steamy, crazy, bloody, twisty ride! I wish she took is before! I would never want to leave that ride, demanding to take endless tours!

The big twist was foreseeable but it is still well played! The cliffhanger at the end made me scream: I want it MORE !

The last third was truly epic! It made me chant! I whistled! I clapped! I screamed! It was so much fun! It truly deserved five stars! It gave me so much hope for the other books of the trilogy!

Badass, connectable, smart, skilled fighter, gifted heroine
Cunning, charismatic, sexy, smart mouthed hero
Super chemistry, exciting action packed chapters
Vampire theme
Passionate, pant melting parts

Strange name choice
Not so original story line
Plot holes about heroine’s back story
Predictable twists

Overall: I’m rounding up 3.5 stars to 4 still intriguing, hot, sexy, entertaining, exciting, I am dying to read the next book ASAP stars!

So many thanks to dear Mimi Chan to send this amazing Kindle copy of Goodreads Choice Awards winner!
Profile Image for Nash (all too unwell).
324 reviews880 followers
September 27, 2021
Buddy read with the amazing hoomans Naomi and Kaz, without whom I would have never survived

I have lost faith in humanity
Me reading the 5 star review wondering if we read the same book. I mean did i miss a memo or somethin?
I had very low expectations and yet I was disappointed. I went into it looking for a guilty pleasure kind of book, where there isn't much plot but with lots of drama.
Like the selection. But this is trash. The bad kind
As my friend said, I like trash but I still have standards

*evil laugh*

From Blood and Ash consists of
*An idiot MC who doesn't know shit
*A toxic male love interest
*Bad world-building with lots of potential
*Bad writing and excessive word repetitions
*Enemies to lovers is actually idiots to a couple where both are idiots

i.e. the PERFECT book *sarcastic laugh*

Im going to start with talking about the writing and the world-building because if I start to rant, then my thoughts scatter and I can't explain properly 😳

Expectations for the book

An addictive story filled with blood, ash, and forbidden romance that will keep you in the edge of your seats for the entire 650 pages




My jaw snapped shut so quickly and tightly, I was surprised I didn’t
crack a molar.

I didn't like it all. I felt absolutely no connection to the story whatsoever. It felt detached. It had huge amounts of repetition.
Every freaking page had Ellipses. Even when it wasn't necessary.

he started…he started to show”
“I…I didn’t know”
“he planned to take care of himself, but…”
“possibly hours…or minutes.”

Is this really necessary??
I would like to file a case for the abuse of Ellipses by JLA. SUE HER.
I would also like to sue her for disturbing my mental state with some very specific parts

A list of Ellipses composed by Bhavya here

Also, the use of (-), for the abrupt end of a sentence was overused.

Word Repetition Count

Ellipses (...) - 650
Oh, my gods - 25
Inappropriate - 22
Growl - 22
Groan - 15
his eyes - 89
handsome - 12
dimple - 28

Even if the story was really bad, the writing can sometimes make it up. But that is not the case here.
Not only the repetition but badly written sentences as well

Spitting out a curse that Vikter would’ve turned red at, and Rylan would’ve...he would’ve smiled at if he were still here, I picked up speed and then dipped.

Wow, this is like a metaphor for the book. Where the entire story is quite simple but it's twisted and turned and murdered until u get nothing.

“Fear and bravery are often ones ​and the same. It either makes you a warrior or a coward. The only difference is the person it resides inside.”

Does this sound kinda familiar?

I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another

“Fear doesn’t shut you down; it wakes you up. I’ve seen it. It’s fascinating.

~Divergent Veronica Roth

I know it isn't the exact same =, but it reminded me of this, so I have included it here. Dont come at me!

World building

This world had soo much potential. The concept of Ascension descended etc was really interesting. The story would have been soo much better if it focused more on this world, and Poppy growing up and battling against some idiots rather than the romance.

It was either a info dump or no explanation.
We are never given an explanation so as to what is Rise or the Rite. And Pineapple's powers are not even explained until 70%

Also I felt this was a cheap knockoff of SJM's books and the Vampire Diaries.
I mean the whole concept of Vamprys and Wolvens are totally the replicas of Vampires and Werewolves in TVD.
Well, if u are going to make knock offs, at least give them good names
I mean Vamprys
Try pronouncing that loudly and try not to laugh.

if u tell someone u are a vampire, they will either look at you confused or believe you.
If u tell someone you are a Vampry, they would burst out laughing


I spent half of the book confused so as to wtf was going on


The forking story

Ok so MC's name is Penellaphe Balfour
Im like, girl who named you?

The book starts off with Pineapple going to Red pearl which is some casino or something.
There she is all whiny abt how she is the maiden and she can't touch anyone and how she can be happy. This is where I come up with a name worse than pineapple - Whineallphe
Cause it is the only thing she does. I'm like
Then she sees Vikter her father figure guard in the red pearl
She's like *gasp*. What is he doing here? THAT TOO WITH A WOMAN?

To answer ur question - How did her parents die?
Because of her whining

Pineapple gets all sweaty cause she is not supposed to be there. So when she escapes, a woman finds her and tells her to wait in an 'empty' room.

There in the empty room, she finds Hawke (wth is this name)/ Donkey.
Ig u pronounce his name as Haw-key?
​He thinks it's someone else and starts kissing her. She should tell him to stop right?
She doesn’t.Because she feels sPeShUl.
Donkey finds out she isn't the random girl he is supposed to be kissing but rather someone else. She tells him to move away multiple times, but he doesn’t
He freaking doesn’t
A. Physical abuse
B. Consent u idiot

She feels sPeShUl because no one has ever kissed her bfr.

Hawke is described as extremely very devastatingly handsome. He has aMbEr eyes that pierce her
They tell us this every page.Every forking page. And I'm like.
I get it. He's handsome.

I mean look at this.

The sunlight almost seemed drawn to him, caressing his cheekbones and brow like a lover. His profile was flawless, the line of his jaw as chiseled as the statues that adorned the garden.

Hawke looked like I imagined one of the gods waiting in the Temple.

Do I look like I care about Hawkey's cHeeKbOnEs or about his DiMpLe.


Nobody starts to hate the MC in the first chp. But I did. And u can imagine how it was for the next 600 pages. Whineallphe returns to the palace. Random shit happens. Bleh bleh bleh
We dnt care. I dont care.
Then Rylan her guard dies...sad right :( Not really
This is done to introduce Hawkey, the toxic male love interest. Poor guy had to die to introduce this guy. *pain*
Pineapple thinks Hawkey has no idea who she is. But he does.
So they find out the truth and they bOnD. Or some shit like that. She is obvi attracted to him. He is too

My heart skipped a beat, but I ignored the stupid organ

Gurll your heart is literally the most important organ and you call that stupid🤦‍♀️
We have some more descriptions of how her heart flutters when he comes near her.

My heart thumped heavily...
​all I felt was the pounding of my heart....
heart seemed to restart and was now in a race with itself....
my heart thumped against my ribs.....

And some descriptions of her churning stomach :

“My cards blurred as tiny balls of ice formed in the pit of my stomach.”
“My stomach dipped and then rolled before I shoved any thoughts of Hawke out of my mind.”
“The dipping motion returned to my stomach”



The conversations between Hawkey and Pineapple are literally the worst. So cringe omg ugh,

This is the only thing that happens throughout the first part of the book. Pineapple's heart flutters, Hawkey makes cringey jokes. They bOnD.
Hawkey is low-key irritating. And toxic. And absolutely disgusting.
To all the people who love him, what is wrong with you?
No, seriously wtf ?

He keepsmaking inappropriate jokes. LIKE EVERY SINGLE CONVO.
I dnt have a problem with them, but the way he says it its just EW.
He sexualizes every single thing Poppy says.
Even a small moment that could have been passed on as bonding between these idiots is spoiled by him talking shit.

“The next time you go out, wear better shoes and thicker clothing. Those slippers are likely to be the death of you, and that dress… the death of me.”

If someone said the something to me, they would be deep in the ground by now *evil smile*
But if, Poppy finds it sweet because he cAreS for her.
are you forking serious?

I hate him. With all my heart.

Not only is he toxic, he keeps dictating how Poppy should feel. He is soo commanding and self-assured.

"You really should move,” I told him.
“I’m quite comfortable where I am,” he added.

I pulled on my arms. “Let me go.”
“Oh, I don’t think so.”

"What you want is me.”

“Then why are you here?” I demanded.
“Do I need a reason?”
“I don’t.”

I dont think so or I don't think you want me to
You idiot that is literally what she said!

He is a manipulative ass , a toxic fool, and a major idiot.


Hawke reminds me of a very horny teenager who is seeing girls for the first time and not like a
Edward Cullen is better
There I said it

Ok so now at this point, the evil guys attack the palace. They kinda set fire to the palace.

Everyone just forking die rn. Please. I beg you.
I wished everyone would die in the fire


Ooh except 1 person. Hawke
Bcz I wanna stab him to death myself🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪
*day dreams about killing Hawke*

It is at this point, Vikter dies. I actually felt bad, bcz he was a good person...he cared for Poppy.
But everything changed when he said this

I...failed man

WTF is this?
Wth does that mean?
*bangs head against wall*

I failed you as a man? Well Mr Man I will make sure u remain dead. U will be buried along with Hawke (:

Its time to talk abt Poppy

Poppy is very easily influenced. She is brave, but all that goes down the drain when Donkey Hawkey shows up. She keeps thinking abt his eyes and his stupid face.
Ig she is having feels for the very first time and she lets that influence her

She is also incredibly stupid. She cant put 2 and 2 together. If she had sat and thought for 5 minutes, she would have figured out the BIG PLOT TWIST.

Also that scene where she fights off the zombies, am I supposed to be impressed? AM I supposed to believe she is actually capable when all I see is trashy behaviour??

And omg what the fork is wrong with her stomach and heart. Her heart keeps fLuttERing and stomach churning. she should probably see a doctor<3

I still didn’t move or speak.
I waited, my heart beating so fast I felt faint. Tiny tremors racked my hands and legs.
And I never trembled.
What are you doing? whispered the reasonable, sane voice in my head.
Living, I whispered back.
And being incredibly stupid, the voice countered.

Is this supposed to be like a defining moment for her? Because all Im doing is laughing. OUT LOUD

I was so incredibly…stupid.


The only role of these two idiots is to praise each other. He tells her how wonderful she is and she does the same.NEWS FLASH

Atleast you're honest

Wow, what a bare minimum to expect from a partner

You are such a bad influence
She knows it yet she does it
*eye roll*

“I'll say it again. I don't care what you are. I care about who you are”

Wow, don't you just love it when your partner loves you for u? I mean how sweet is that. *laugh turns into cry*

She is nOt like other girls, because she ain't pretty. Well well, have u seen your fanart? It is drop dead gorgeous.
She can fight like, unlike other girls. Well let me show you how to actually break someone's nose and how to put a toxic male in his place.

She is also Intriguing. That is the only reason Hawke gives for liking her.

*activates death glare*

Ok now time for the BIG TWIST



Pineapple totally did not. The girl had no idea😂😂😂

I felt bad for her. Because her vulnerable state was misused by the donkey Hawkey.
I hated him even more.
It is at this stage, she realizes she loves him.

I was in love with him.

Me like :


She is extremely pissed at him. He's like...i love u gurl
Im like

“You are so incredibly violent.”
He dipped his chin and whispered, “It still turns me on.”

Excuse me while I vomit all over.

This is the important part that majorly pissed me off

Poppy is injured. She is with Hawke. they both are arguing
Then she takes out a knife and stabs him in the heart.



You know that moment when you fantasize that the whole book is going to be better. That moment when u believe that Poppy will finally have some sense and Hawke will die and everyone will be happy and this will suddenly be a 5 star read?

Well this is what happened -


While she tries to run, he finds her and apparently he ain't injured. He bites her (he's a vampry or something? I still don't get it )
The bite does something to her and now she is all delusional. So she asks him to kiss her. And he does


And then the next day, she APOLOGIZES TO HIM


He is the one who is supposed to be apologizing
Not only for kissing her, but also manipulating her, seducing her, controlling her from the start of the book

I hate this.

Did you know that donkey is supposed to be 200+ years old. Don't you just love it when an old man loves a young innocent teen girl?
This ain't love. There is another name for it🔪🔪

I still don’t get how this won Best romance in the Goodreads choice awards. I felt it promotes abuse, toxic masculinity, unhealthy relationships and the notion that young naïve girls can be mistreated by men.

I honestly feel bad that most don’t realize how easily this book can be interpreted the wrong way.

The books end with both of them leaving for Atlanta



Tawny is the only POC in this book. I actually didn't know this until I read other reviews. it was so inadequately mentioned given that I did not even notice it.
Also, naming a person with the colour of their skin?

By this point, I hope I have explained to u why this book is bad.
If it is in your TBR, throw it out
Currently, reading it? DNF it

Im not continiung the sequel.
Oh cause I would like to save some brain cells.

0.5 star


This book still haunts my dreams especially some scenes (so glad I skipped it)

Post reading thoughts

My fellow hoomans
I have finished
I freaking finished this book

*jumps up and down*

And I'm alive 😪

So anyways...the last 20% wasn't as bad as the first parts.. because there was some action and drama...the kind I was looking forward to in the entire book. However the drama was was very awkward to read Abt😳
I wanted this book to be my guilty pleasure
But it ended up being crap
Oh well

Huge rant to come....


All opinions on books I’ve read and reviewed are my own and are with no intention to offend anyone.Im sorry if it offends you're feelings

My rating system:

5⭐ - I loved it soo much! New favorite
4⭐ - It was really good! But something was missing
3⭐ - It was nice..but had more potential
2⭐ - I did not like it at all!... It could have been soo much better
1⭐ - Nope. Just No. I hate it
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,129 reviews13.8k followers
July 4, 2020
WHY DID I NOT LISTEN TO EVERYONE WHO TOLD ME HOW AMAZING THIS BOOK WAS!?!? I've had this book since March and have been putting off reading it because it's over 500 pages. But I finally picked it up for a vlog and it is easily one of my new favorite books of 2020.

Poppy is a Maiden and is following orders and waiting for until the time for her Ascension. That means that she stays in her room, cannot show her face to anyone, cannot be friends with anyone, and must follow the orders of the Duke and the Duchess. But one night she decides to sneaks out to live a little and has an unforgettable encounter with a Royal Guard named Hawke. Soon, Hawke is actually replacing one of her personal guards and Poppy finds herself around Hawke all the time. With her feelings and attraction becoming harder to ignore, Poppy begins uncovering secrets about the kingdom and her duties while falling for her mysterious and enticing guard.

THIS ROMANCE. GAHHH. Okay, so the beginning of this book is slow. Poppy and Hawke have a moment in the very beginning and then nothing really happens between them for another 200 pages. But once we reach 200 pages, this book does not slow down until the very last page. I was obsessed with the chemistry between Hawke and Poppy and by the end, I was literally obsessed with Hawke. I love how he knows Poppy has trained her whole life to protect herself and trusts her to take care of herself while fighting is going on. The entire dynamic between Hawke and Poppy was to die for and I could not get enough.

The twists and turns in this book really got to me and I never saw them coming until literally the page before things were revealed. I am so happy that my sister had already read this because I was running to her every twenty pages to freak out over something new. AND THAT ENDING. I am so relieved that I only have to wait until September to get book two because I NEEEED to figure out what happens next.

If you're like me and waited to pick up this book, STOP EVERYTHING AND READ IT NOW. I definitely think that fans of the ACOTAR series will love this book and you're going to fall in love with Hawke. Is it September yet?
Profile Image for SK.
310 reviews2,721 followers
July 14, 2022
You all were not lying. It was so good 😩😩 I can't believe I didn't read it sooner because I'm obsessed. I'm going to keep this review short cause wow, I enjoyed it so much.

I especially loved the characters in this one- Poppy and Hawke. The two make such an iconic duo, I LOVE THEM!! Poppy has so much potential to herself, she's already a badass and I can't wait to see more of her in the next book. Hawke is simply dreamy, swoon-worthy, charismatic, new book boyfriend and HOT!! When he was on his knees to tend to Poppy's wound, my heart for real stopped working 🥵🥵

The plot twists towards the end had me gripping my seat so hard. I did not see them coming to be honest, which is what made it enjoyable for me.

This was a four star read for me instead of five because the first half of the book seemed kinda slow in pacing and the world building lacked clarity (in my opinion). I would have much preferred had the world building been done more aptly. The second half of the book was chef's kiss 🤌

I admire how you all let me go on and on about Hawke throughout my reading of this book😂🙈
Can't wait to start with the next one!!
Profile Image for human.
641 reviews1,015 followers
April 13, 2021
This book won "Best Romance" in the Goodreads Choice Awards???

Someone, please explain.

Anyhow, at least now I know not to trust them!

(jkjk everyone's entitled to their own opinions :) I meant no offense.) (please don't flame me for this.)



Y'all, I have no words. Seriously. No one is more disappointed or surprised than I am. Just-

Where do I even start???

Going into this, after seeing all the positive reviews and actually reading the synopsis (I don't always submit blindly to the hype, guys!), I thought that I would enjoy this book. I mean, sure, it doesn't sound great, but it certainly sounds fun, right?


So much about this book was such a hindrance to me actually enjoying it. While I didn't expressly hate this book (I'm too tired for that right now), I certainly didn't like it even as I remotely expected to. I even ended up making a shelf that I should've made a long time ago: the hype was a LIE.

So let's dive in, shall we?

First off, there's the main character herself. Ms. Pineapple-Apple-Pen Penellaphe Balfour, Maiden-for-life and Chosen One Extraordinaire. Pretty much everything about her annoyed me in some insignificant way. She's not like other grills sorry, court members? Thanks, I hate her. She uses being sheltered as an excuse for why she's so dense, even though she doesn't even act sheltered? URRRGGGHHH. She's beautiful, though she doesn't know it, because of her scars? Whyyyyyy. She thinks in... in ellipses, constantly? End me pls. (This was actually the most annoying thing, hands down.) Not to mention, the story seems to take place in a historical-esque, or at least, different world, but everyone talks like they got displaced from your latest contemporary.

All of that isn't to mention that by the end of the book, Poppy, our main character, whose thoughts we are stuck reading with for an eternity, hasn't developed or grown at all. Zero, zip, zilch, nada. She stays static from the beginning to the end, not changing a millimeter, but for some major revelations that she comes across, and the very solid knowledge she gains that to be free is to run away with your first insta-love. Now, I won't deny that what Poppy went through was tragic, but there came a point while I was reading this when I realized that Poppy's tragic past is not an acceptable reason for her bland character.

Then, of course, is the sWoOn-WoRtHy lurrrrve interest, Hawke Some-Last-Name-We-Don't-Know. If I'm being 100% honest with y'all, because when am I not hahahaha he kind of reminded me of the one and only Edward Cullen. I mean, the signs are all there: he's constantly telling Poppy about how perfect she is and how he's going to ruin that, but how he still can't keep himself away; there's clearly something shady af about him but Bella Poppy doesn't figure it out until much later despite all the warning signs; and, of course, he's incredibly invested in her well-being, namely that she eats properly. (Alright technically, it was only at the end of this book, but I'm taking some creative liberties here, okay?) I'm going to keep the Hawke bashing to a minimum because I'm afraid of what's going to happen to me if I continue.

Additionally, we've got the "plot-twists". I mean, they were so heavily hinted at, that even I, an otherwise total ninny, was able to figure them out. Pretty much everyone except Poppy, sheltered and oh-so-naive Poppy, probably knew what was going on at this point. Of course, having things drag on and confirm it all without actually doing so was irritating, especially because whenever such a life-altering, radical, how-am-i-ever-going-to-recover-from-this plot twist was revealed, Poppy was like:

while I was sitting there like:

Along with everything previously mentioned, there's also the issue of how this book is paced: it's slower than a three-toed sloth in a tar pit. As in, horrendously slow. Nothing truly relevant to the story happens until the 60% mark, where things actually get interesting. Sure, we're given a lot of background off of which the plot builds, but, there came a time while I was reading when my eyes simply glazed over from the sheer magnitude of info-dumps. I think it needs to be said that INFO-DUMPS👏CAN'T👏BE👏SUBSTITUTED👏FOR👏ACTUAL👏CONTENT. Or, y'know, a well-defined exposition, especially in fantasy books. The real tragedy, however, is when you realize that despite all the info-dumps you absorb, it's all for naught, because the magic system is pretty much nonexistent in this book. All we know is that Poppy was some speshul powers (why? or how? no idea) . We are given the slightest description of what the Ascendence is, but as for what actually happens during the whole thing? Nothing.

Overall, what does this rant-but-not-a-rant say? Am I going through another existential crisis? Will I ever love YA books the same? Can your life fall apart if you never had it together in the first place? If two mind-readers are reading each other's minds, whose mind are they reading? All of these questions are very important, relevant to this review, and will likely never have good answers (except for the question about existential crises, because I practically have two every week).

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that life still hates me, because where I was looking for some fun, I got rant material instead. But is that going to stop me from reading the next book or predictably falling victim to the hype again and again? Hell no!

Profile Image for Lucie V..
1,012 reviews2,051 followers
March 6, 2022
“With my sword and with my life, I vow to keep you safe, Penellaphe,” he spoke, voice deep and smooth, reminding me of rich, decadent chocolate. “From this moment until the last moment, I am yours.”

✅ Strong main character
✅ Awesome love interest
✅ Slowburn and sweet romance
✅ Sexual tension and some sexy moments
✅ Funny and witty banter
✅ Action
✅ Original way to present vampires
✅ Complex world-building
✅ Pace and plot
🆗 Some info-dump in the first 15% of the book
❗️❗️ Kind of cliffhanger
❗️❗️ Trigger warnings: death, emotional and physical abuse

Oh. My. God.
So much drama, so much angst, so worth it.

Poppy is The Maiden, the one and only, the one chosen by the gods, not meant to be touched, looked at, or to do anything that is not previously approved by her guardians. She is stuck in this life of isolation and utmost solitude, where she watches the world from behind her veil, and can’t voice how she is really feeling. She is expected to be grateful for this honor, and for the fact that she was chosen by the Gods, and to behave like the perfect demure Maiden. With her nineteenth birthday approaching, she will have to leave for the capital, where she will prove that she is worthy of the Gods, will ascend (a ritual in which one drinks the blood of the Gods and becomes immortal), and help protect her land against the curse affecting them and the Atlantians trying to take their lands.

A Maiden doesn’t question the gods’ plans. She has faith in them without knowledge of them.
Maybe I truly wasn’t worthy of being a Maiden, because I found it hard to have faith in anything without knowledge of it.

Poppy is not happy at all, living a life of a recluse, and she does have a few secrets of her own. She has a special ability that allows her to feel and soothe people's pain. The weight of all the expectations and the yearning for a normal life that she carries are getting too heavy for Poppy to bear, and she decides to sneak away from the palace for one night of freedom. When she ends up a few hours later in a private room, with Hawke, a young, charming, gorgeous, and skilled guard, she gets a taste of what she has been missing, and what she will never be allowed to have for herself. Things get even more complicated and full of confusing feelings when Hawke gets appointed as her new royal guard.

“It doesn’t matter if I want--”
“And you do want.” His whisper danced over my cheek. “What you want is me.”
My breath caught. “That doesn’t matter.”
“What you want should always matter.”

The beginning of this book is a little slow (the first 10%-15%), but get ready because the rest is AMAZING. This book is addictive even though the pace is slow at times. The world-building is great, even if some things may be a little confusing at first, and I just loved the two main characters. The mix of a fantasy setting with the Greco-Roman-inspired Gods and the new and innovative way to present vampires gave an awesome result. Even though nothing in this book is really new when taken individually, the author managed to take all these pieces and mix them together to create something original and very entertaining. There are also some unexpected twists and some politics thrown in the mix, making the plot even more interesting.

Poppy is a little bland in the first few chapters, but she shows soon enough that she is not the boring and tame Maiden that she was raised and expected to be. She is not feeling thankful as she should be. She wants adventure, she wants to help her people and mostly, she wants to live. As the Maiden, she can't interact with anyone except her two personal guards, her lady in waiting, and the Duke and Duchess who are supposed to take care of her. Poppy is stuck in a life full of restrictions and abuse, and no one ever questioned it, until her new guard, the gorgeous Hawke Flynn, comes into her life and starts treating her as a human being and not just as a religious symbol.

“You're an absolutely stunning, murderous little creature.”

Hawke is my new obsession. He officially made it to my ultimate book boyfriends shortlist. The way he stands up for Poppy when everyone else -even the ones who love her- just usually look the other way when she is being psychologically or physically abused was epic. I was cheering him every time he would remind Poppy that she deserved to be treated like a human being, or every time he would stop someone from being mean to her and let them know how despicable and worthless they were for even thinking about hurting her. The line between Hawkes’ duty to be Poppy’s guard and his desire to know her more intimately gets pretty blurred, especially as Poppy builds the courage to ask for what she wants instead of what’s expected of her for the first time in her life.

“I'll say it again. I don't care what you are. I care about who you are.”

Hawke is an amazing character, his relationship with Poppy is just awesome. The mix of banter and sexual tension was a delight to read, I would have continued reading for another 100 pages if just for their banter and Hawke’s sexual innuendos. Their relationship is a slow burn that feels natural and is also full of sexual tension. I loved every moment they had together, and I absolutely adore how Hawke knows Poppy can handle herself and trust her to be useful instead of insinuating that she needs him to protect her. They reminded me of Feyre and Rhysand in A Court of Mist and Fury which is perfect because I just love them and I hope Poppy and Hawke's relationship . Near the end of the book, there is more tension between them, and I hope we will continue to have drama, angst, and this mix of love/hate in the next book (at least for the beginning because I need my regular dose of love/hate and angst).

There are some good secondary characters in this book, but I feel that we will get to know them more and appreciate them more in the next book. This first installment was really more focused on the world-building, the layout of the conflicts and politics, and developing the relationship between poppy and Hawke. Still, I really liked Viktor and his fatherly love towards Poppy, and I also really liked Kieran, even though we did not see much of him. I really hope to see him more in the next book and to know more about him and his special relationship with Hawke. There are also a few villains in this book and they are despicable and creepy. They’re the kind that you just hate and can’t wait for them to finally get what they deserve.

“You’re such a bad influence,” I murmured as I placed my hand in his.
Hawke curled his fingers around mine. The weight and warmth of his hand was a pleasant shock. “Only the bad can be influenced, Princess.”

I think my brain and my heart are still reeling from the rollercoaster of emotions I felt in the last 20% of the book. Even though From Blood and Ash is over 600 pages I read it in two days and it went by so fast. It is a good thing that I waited until the second book was out before starting this series. I don't know how I would have been able to wait for a whole year before reading the next book.

“Promise me you won't forget this, Poppy. That no matter what happens tomorrow, the next day, next week, you won't forget this - forget that this was real”

***This book was even better the second and third time I read it because I already knew about the world-building so I could entirely and solely focus on Poppy, Hawke, and Kieran (he is also amazing and I need more of him).

Artwork by BxRomance and Dominique Wesson

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Profile Image for Camila Ochoa.
119 reviews6,277 followers
January 25, 2022
los plot twist son lo más predecible que hay? sí
puede llegar a ser innecesariamente largo? por ahi
pero grité
Y SI GRITE ES PORque la pasé bien
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