This is my personal book review of From Blood and Ash. Looking for a new fantasy novel to read or to tell your students about? From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout could be a place to start.
Introduction and Spoiler-Free Summary
The book starts in a local tavern, but that’s pretty much all you know. You understand that it has been a war and that the Rise protects the kingdom of Solis. The narrator is the Maiden, the Chosen who has to keep her face and hair covered by a veil at all times. As a reader, you don’t understand who she is, why she is important, or why she has to remain veiled.
Later, you learn that the name of the Maiden is Penellaphe, also called Poppy. She is eighteen years old and one way away from Ascending. Again, the reader doesn’t know what this means. You get a bit of background in the first chapter. Poppy has a brother who has ascended and whom she hasn’t seen since his Ascension.
What you can learn from the blurb of the book, is that the Maiden is of importance to the entire kingdom. You also learn that old feuds between the two kingdoms seem to stir once more. We also learn that the dangerous Craven exists outside the city walls. They pose a threat to the citizens, and if you get bitten by one you get the curse as well.
The Maiden is to be pure, untouched. But Poppy has a mind of her own and doesn’t always obey the rules. And once she meets the new guard Hawke Flynn, everything changes.
About the Novel
From Blood and Ash was first published in 2020. Genre-wise I’d say the novel is fantasy with a good deal of romance. It’s 467 pages in length, but if you feel captured by the storyline this is way too short!
You are plunged into action from the start, but to me, the beginning still felt a bit slow. It could also be that I took my time to actually get through the first chapter, the novel picks up the pace after this. It could be worth knowing that the start raises more questions than you get answers though.
If you’ve read fantasy before, you might start to pick up some things earlier, something just feels a bit off and there are signs of certain kinds of creatures you might recognize from somewhere else. You are held in suspense for a good while, not really knowing much about the Maiden or the Ascended, what the Rite or Ascension means, and so on.
Society is divided, and your destiny depends on if you’re the first, second, or third child in a family. As an example, the third child is sent to the temple to serve the gods never seen again by their family.
Later on in the novel, you get some of the answers but it’s worth knowing that From Blood and Ash is the first novel in a series, and as such you’re left with loose ends.
Final Verdict and Recommendations
To conclude the book review of From Blood and Ash, I’d say that the novel is a nice read, once it picks up the pace. I would definitely recommend it, but give it might take some time to get into the story. Also, this is a love story as well as being action-packed. Keep this in mind if you decide on recommending this book to a student.
The good news? This is the first book in a series – and I’ve already made my reservation for book two at the local library. This is one of those books where you want to read just one more chapter before putting it down for the night – and end up turning off the lights a little bit later than you had planned to.