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.
This book has a solid 4.5-star rating with over 24K reviews on Amazon and I was so, so excited to finally pick it up. I’ve seen so many great things about it, ‘best love story’ even, that I was sure I’d found a new favorite book…
From page one, I was let down.
I just couldn’t. I put it down on page four.
A few days later I started it again. This time, I forced myself to continue reading. So many voices in my head were telling me it was supposed to be one of the greatest reads of my life. I think I got about 20%. Maybe not quite. Every page was a struggle.
First of all, the writing style… it was so clunky. I could never fall into a flow, constantly kicked out to slow down my reading to interpret sentence structure. I wanted to send it back so it could go through another round of edits.
Sure, the world seemed cool. The problems seemed problematic. The MC was in a place to dive in and leave her mark and get some things set right, damn the man! But I just couldn’t stick with it long enough to see if that happened.
The main character—I don’t even remember her name—just no. I have not liked MCs before and it isn’t necessarily a deal breaker for the book. I think a lot of MCs we’re not even supposed to like. This one though, I think we are supposed to like. We are supposed to feel sorry for her and be so curious about her traumatic past. But it all seemed so forced. Something about her seemed—inconsistent?
I hated the opening scene. I hated the forced nature of it, like it was saying ‘look, I’m not afraid to be sleazy. I know you like that.’ And I can like sleazy. Erotica is one of my most-read genres (don’t tell my mom). But I hate things being force-fed and that’s how I felt this was. Maybe it would have made more sense if I’d stuck around to find out what happened, but I have too many books on my TBR…
A part of me wants to go back and see if maybe I was just in a mood of some kind. But the rest of me will just put this one in that column of ‘didn’t do it for me.’