Tuesday, March 31, 2020

From Blood & Ash by Jennifer L Armentrout

A Maiden…
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.
A Duty…
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.
A Kingdom…
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.

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An intriguing puzzle of a world, a ruthless hero, a determine heroin, and a plot that will keep you up late, this book is one of the best I've read this year.

This is high fantasy peeps.  World building fills the beginning of the book.  And it's an intriguing world.  Full of the Ascended, who are just plain strange.  Enough hints finally had me figuring out what they were.  Then there are the cursed, the craven, and the Descenters.  Not to mention our heroin.  She is gifted.  Not a mere mortal, though she believes she is one.  And there are mortals.  None of these include the Atlantians who lost the war of two kings.  The Dark one remains.  Oh and don't forget the Gods.  Who knows what they are up to.  This mix of strange people had me trying to figure out the puzzle that was this world and I had a great time doing it.

Hawke.  Our hero.  The man is good at killing, if he does say so himself.  He is a guard that helps guard the rise around the community but he's a little bit better at it than most.  He takes note of everything and I would NEVER cross the man.  You will not like the result, I assure you.  He is ruthless but his is also funny, handsome, intelligent, and kind.  Well, he's kind to Poppy when he's not teasing her.  I definitely fell hard for the guy, despite his homicidal tendencies.  (There is one death I cheered.  The man has style and that's all I'm going to say about that).

Poppy.  Penellaphe.  The Maiden.  Chosen by the Gods from birth, she is to usher in a new age for their people.  She is veiled and hidden away.  None can speak to her, see her or have anything to do with her.  Yeah, how would that go over will most teens.  She's drawing near her nineteenth birthday and her ascension.  But she hasn't lived and she wants to.  Of course she's gonna break the rules.  Love that about her.  She's learned to fight, thank you Vikter.  She's good at sneaking out of the castle.  She's intelligent but she misses a few things.  I was happy when she started figuring things out.

As for the story, expect blood.  Lots and lots of blood.  But once the world is firmly in place, these 600+ pages will fly by with you stuck right there in them.  I wanted to know what was going on.  Hints were carefully given but I needed to know for sure.  I figured out the biggest question but I had to know for sure.  So, yeah, I read until 1 AM.  I swear I don't know where the last 4 hours of reading time went.  My husband came to tell me goodnight and I looked back down to my book.  The next thing I knew it was after 1 and I was reading the last line.

And speaking of the last line.  O. M. G.  It is not an Opal (JLA fans know what I mean) and I wouldn't call it a cliffhanger at all.  The characters are not in danger or apart.  But it had me yelling and screaming because I NEED MORE.  NOW.

When an author can write so many different types of books and still do it will such perfection, it is just amazing.  I always enjoy her books.  Some I want to throw but I've come to terms with that.  If you are a JLA fan, you MUST read this one.  If you've never read her books, this is an amazing place to start.


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