Quite an adventure!
The following ratings are out of 5:
World building: 🌎🌍🌏🌎🌍
Character development: 😳🤬😏🤓🥰
The heroine: Penellaphe (a.k.a. Poppy) – the chosen one,”The Maiden”. She is meant to be untouched and is basically kept away from everyone until her ascension next year on her 19th birthday when she will be given to the gods.
The Hero: Hawke – A guard bound by honor to protect the kingdom. He works on the rise, which is a wall that separates the Kingdom from the outer lands which contains the mist. In the mist are the Craven, the creatures that feed on blood and turn anyone they bite, were created by the Atlantians after the war of the two kings. The Craven are controlled by the Dark One.
The Story: Poppy sneaks away to The Red Pearl, a tavern where all sorts of activities occur. There she can wear a mask and be unknown. Though if she gets caught, the Duke will be happy to punish her. There she meets Hawke and experiences her first kiss. Poppy was trying to live and experience new things before her ascension.
“He was going to take me back—to that room where I was the Maiden, the Chosen. Back to where I wasn’t Poppy but a shadow of a person who wasn’t allowed to experience, need, live, or want. I would no longer be who he saw.”
It is unclear through most of the book what happens in an ascension. However, it did say that the ascended were supposedly chosen by the gods to be given the gift of ascension and once ascended they would live a very long time. Poppy has a secret ability to feel the pain of others and everyone had pain, whether emotional or physical. When she tries to read the ascended she finds them completely empty and that scares her most of all.
We get quite a bit of backstory on Poppy’s life. Though she is a favorite of the queen who helped her and took care of her after her parent’s were murdered, she doesn’t live in the capital with the queen, she lives with the Duke and Duchess, who act as if they are benevolent benefactors but have a cruel streak. The Duke regularly finds issue with Poppy’s behavior and punishes her severely for it.
I usually try to buy audiobooks with dual POV and dual narration, but I just love Jennifer Armentrout, so I bought the three books in this series that are out at this time. I really enjoyed the narration. It was done by Stina Nielsen and she has a soft reading voice which is extremely pleasant. I like her cadence and tempo. She also does the other voices very well. Though I still would have liked a man to read Hawke’s lines.
I enjoyed where the story led, even though it wasn’t hard to figure out from the beginning where it was going. I also really enjoyed the fact that Poppy is such a fierce warrior and a likable heroine. Though for such an intelligent person, it took her way too long to figure certain things out. I think the story will get even more exciting in the next book.