Teen Review: From Blood and Ash

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

Review by Sophie V.

From Blood and Ash is about an eighteen year old named Poppy, the Chosen/Maiden who was supposed to be the future of her people – the Ascended. Poppy was isolated her entire life, only allowed to talk to her guards and maid and forced to dawn an obedient, weak persona. However, Poppy is very well trained in weapons and combat and regularly broke the rules forced upon her. One night she snuck out and met Hawke, a man who later became one of her personal guards. Poppy continued to break the rules, and Hawke allowed her to, consequently being the only person who saw her as Poppy and not the Maiden. Poppy had two main enemies: the Craven (vicious human-turned-animals who kill mercilessly) and the Descenters (a rebel group who believe the Atlantians, not the Ascended, are the rightful rulers ). When the Descenters attacked the castle Poppy lives in, killing many of the other people, it was decided that Poppy needed to leave and go to the Queen of the Ascended where she would be safe. During the trip to the Queen, Poppy and Hawke’s relationship grew. However, a betrayal stopped Poppy from ever getting to the Queen and the Ascended, and she instead found herself in the clutches of the Atlantians, the presumed dead enemies of the Ascended. With the Atlantians, Poppy struggled to forgive the betrayal and learned that the world she knew was a lie. The Atlantians were torn between wanting to kill her, trade her for their captive Prince, or protect her. The disagreement between the Atlantians was ended by their Prince, Casteel, through a violent demonstration. The final decision was that Poppy and the others will all go to the Atlantian’s home. 

Poppy is a strong female character with a penchant for violence. Although slightly naïve because of her sheltered adolescence, Poppy is always willing to learn and experience more. Hawke, her love interest, appears to have a dark past and has an aura of sadness that he masks with humor. Readers watch them and their relationship develop, with many twists and turns, and a shocking ending. The world Poppy lives in is slightly cliché, in regards to other fantasy books, but is overall enjoyable. The beginning of the book has a lot of information right away, but once that is over, the rest is fairly uncomplicated. While some parts of the book are predictable, Armentrout does have a few surprises. Her writing style is very contemporary and romance centered. 

This book is best suited for mature readers, especially ones interested in a fantasy novel with a large focus on romance. It is a lengthy read, so readers should be prepared for that if they have a short attention span. It is best fit for older teenagers and young adults, as some scenes could be seen as inappropriate for younger readers. Readers who enjoy books with creatures like vampires and werewolves would find this book interesting. I would recommend this book to someone looking for a more mature version of Twilight or fans of Sara J. Maas’ books. Armentrout has many other series that readers might enjoy as well. 

I thought From Blood and Ash was a very good book. The characters were personable and the plot was exciting. The cliffhanger at the end of the book will definitely make you want to read the next one!