SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF FROM BLOOD AND ASH BY JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT
my rating: ★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars — this was really not as good as i expected. for a quick (and steamy) read, it was alright. however, the plot was mediocre at best, and the characters had little to no development?? and @ poppy, the desire to stab everyone who talks to you is not a character trait.
this book felt like a twilight/acotar crossover. vampires (but they’re called ~other names~) and hierarchies and lots of sex. honestly, that’s it? so the book revolves around this 18yo named penellaphe (more about how i hate the names later in this review), but she prefers being called poppy by her friends and family. she is the Maiden, aka she can’t be touched or spoken to or seen without a veil by anyone, technically, because she’s supposed to be a sacrifice to the gods at the Ascension and she has to remain pure. but surprise surprise, she loves to break allll the rules. apparently other people love poppy but she just sounds really repetitive to me? yes she stands up for herself and is good at combat and killing and has a sharp tongue, but she literally does not have a personality beyond that. a mary sue of typical ya/na fantasy heroines (sassy, badass, stubborn), if you will.
we first meet poppy when she visits the red pearl, a gambling den/brothel. she goes there because she ~wants to make her own choices~, which is repeated every other page throughout the book. and there, she meets hawke, this new guard who all the ladies looooove, and he mistakes her for someone else and *they get steamy*. see, that’s my first problem with the book — consent is written so strangely in it. i won’t give any spoilers, but most of the scenes start with them bantering over nothing, and then person a asks person b if they want to do ~things~, person b doesn’t answer, and person a says that they would do it regardless unless person a leaves?? i can’t get past the fifty shades of wrong in that, because yes i get it poppy is a pure and innocent Maiden and would be awkward at voicing what she wants but the whole thing is just so ??? to me, it definitely knocked the book down a star. also, there is explicit mention of abuse and sexual harassment and graphic violence in this book, and it was very uncomfy so be prepared for that if you really want to read it!
another thing: the plot twists were so disappointing, because i literally predicted them at the beginning of the book. the foreshadowing was just so obvious that anyone with half a brain cell could tell that something is off, and piece it together in their head. obviously, it isn’t any sjm level of plot twist (if it was, i’d be a whole lot more intrigued) but i was surprised at how bad it was considering that everyone on goodreads was raving about it.
okay, now let’s talk character names. penellaphe?? victer?? malessa?? teerman?? casteel?? where is jla getting these names from and why do they have to be spelt strangely?? reminds me of the kind of moms who names their kids aeshlaigh just because they’re ~extra like that~. There’s too many e’s in the names to be considered seriously, and i can’t remember how it’s spelt for more than 3 seconds,,
i mean, this is a good book if you’re just looking for a casual read to pass some time, or if you’re a really avid paranormal romance fan. other than that… i don’t understand why this book got so much hype? i’m currently in the process of reading the second book, a kingdom of flesh and fire, so i hope it’s better than the first!
feel free to disagree with my points, let’s rant about it in the comments! as always, remember to drink lots of water and get some fresh air when you can! have a great day!
(this review was first posted on goodreads, here)
If you felt like From Blood and Ash deserved a better review, please leave a comment and tell me what you thought of it! I’d love to hear your opinions!
From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout