“From Blood and Ash” by Jennifer Armentrout is the Goodreads Choice Best Romance for 2020. When I saw this announcement, I was excited to dive in and start reading. I never could have imagined the book would capture my imagination (and my inner conspiracy theorist) so fantastically.
This novel was a magical trip into the fantasy world of Ascended, Atlanteans, Wolven, and of course the main character Poppy, the Maiden. It follows Poppy as she struggles with the weight that was put on her shoulder as being the chosen one, the Maiden. She fights against her wants and the needs of the people, her own attraction to her personal guard, and what it means to truly be herself.
Admittedly, I read this book for my romance book club and each meeting everyone enjoyed as I had so many theories about what was going on behind the scenes. Yes, I was very interested in Poppy and if she would finally wind up with Hawke, but the world building was what really had me in this novel. There was so much mystery and intrigue it was hard to put the book down.
My only negative take from the book was the ending. It left things on a huge cliff hanger that I wasn’t satisfied with. A lot was laid out at the end of book one that made if very hard to see the good that was to come or even feel like the story was at a good stopping point. It wasn’t the “HEA” (Happily Ever After) or “HFN” (Happy For Now) I have come to expect from romance novels. In fact, my book club and I had a discussion about whether book one should be considered a fantasy romance or just fantasy. However, the ending of book one did make diving into book two all that much easier.
Book two picks up right after book one ends and flows seamlessly from one to the next. Where book one deals with Poppy realizing who she is and what is really happening in the world around her, book two dives into her healing and discovering what power she holds. I must insert a warning here that there is abuse, torture, gore, and a great deal of betrayal in both novels. It can hit hard, so if you don’t like reading those themes, this book may not be for you.
I did enjoy these books and I’m excited for book three (which comes out next month!). I am hopeful that Poppy gets her happy ending and that all my theories about what is going on in the world is correct. This is a deep dive read, that has you thinking about each and every detail. If you’re looking for a fantasy romance that will pull you into the world, and you’re up for that deep dive, be sure to check out “From Blood and Ash” By Jennifer Armentrout.