Audiobook Review: From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash, #1). ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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.

From B

Quite an adventure!

The following ratings are out of 5:
Narration: 🎙🎙🎙🎙
Romance: 💙💚🖤💜❤️
Heat/Steam: 🔥🔥🔥
Story/Plot: 📕📗📘📙📔
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.


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