From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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.
I have some mixed emotions about this book. First I am going to start by saying I love Jennifer L. Armentrout’s books. I have read every single one of her books (some multiple times). Her characters are usually pretty relatable, sassy, can often make me laugh, and (usually) don’t annoy me.
The main character, Poppy, is a maiden who is chosen from a very young age to Ascend and be found worthy of the Gods, the future of the Kingdom relying on this. Because of her duty, she is not permitted to have friendships or relationships of any kind, and she must cover her face from all but a select few.
Poppy meets the male protagonist for the story, Hawke, and she begins to question everything she believes in. Now I am not normally for this trope; heroine meets hero and he changes her life, blah, blah, blah, but I will say it is discussed that she had certain conformity issues before Hawke, he was just the catalyst to more.
I think the plot and Poppy’s character started out great in terms of development, though I did guess the *plot twist*, which I am not too upset over since that means the foundation was laid properly. However, once the plot twist comes into play, Poppy becomes very wishy washy on her morals and that really upsets me. I don’t want to say too much on this so I don’t give away any spoilers, but honestly, it really pissed me off the way she handled the situation.
I understand as new information is presented, Poppy’s world view will be completely changed, however I hope she is better able to realize she deserves to be treated better than she allows herself to be.
This book is available in print and Kindle versions. Overall, I enjoyed the book and am excited for book #2!