Hello hello and welcome to another book review, this time looking at the splendid From Blood and Ash. I joked on my first WWW Wednesday of the year that some of the other book lovers had lovingly bullied me into reading it, and now, having finished it, I’m sort of glad they did. The part of me that isn’t glad needs the second book immediately. So we’ll forgive them.
Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.
The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.
Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.
As always, my review will be spoiler free, but this is one of those books where I just want to hit everyone over the head with it and scream READ IT. After how much I’d fallen in love with Feyre and Rhysand in ACOTAR, I honestly didn’t know if I could be completely submerged in a book the same way again, and I do think it will take very special books to do it. Thankfully, this is a very special book.
Written in a way that is both beautiful and real, I fell completely in love with both Poppy and Hawke, as well as Tawny and Vikter, throughout the course of the book. I was furious with other characters with a real passion, and even though certain question marks started nagging away at me about halfway through, it didn’t detach from how engaging the book was. If anything, it made me more engaged, unable to put the book down – although I did have to be cautious about leaving my Kindle unattended when my son was walking around during certain scenes! This really isn’t the book for you if you dislike sex scenes.
As is my habit and preference, I listened to part of the book as an audiobook, and read part of it physically too. This made it a lot easier to speed through what is quite a long book, and I’m glad I did it that way; if nothing else, it helped bring the characters to life a bit more, especially Poppy, with her internal monologues and her relationships with other characters; at least, the ones she is allowed.
The world building within the novel is first class, no hesitation, and the dogma that Poppy and all of Solis has been sold into is intriguing from an almost anthropological reading perspective. You can understand why people having reached a point where they are questioning everything they have been sold into over the years, and there was certainly a level of empathy for Poppy especially, having been through so much trauma in her younger years, to now be in a position where she is terrified of what comes next, with nobody to answer her.
It’s incredibly powerful, and is a reflection on people and the way they behave under all sorts of circumstances as much as anything else. This was my first five star read of the year, and I absolutely cannot wait to go on to book two. It’s one of those books that will utterly destroy you while you read it, and you’ll thank it afterwards for doing so!