Fantasy is not my usual go-to, but it is one of my good girlfriend’s go-tos, so I usually rely on her recommendations, of this was one. It is not a short book (are any fantasy novels?) and initially had that ‘self-published fantasy’ feel. Once I was deeper in, however, man! I read this book on the bike at the gym, I stayed up late to finish chapters, I used this book as a reward was how into it I was. And at the same time as I was into it, I was also very aware of how cheesy and problematic certain elements were. So: bad but compelling (especially the sex scenes)- is this my Twilight/ 50 Shades of Grey??
From Blood and Ash is the first part of a triology set in Masadonia, a mythical kingdom where our heroine, the Maiden/Penellaphe/ Poppy, lives a cloistered life waiting for the mysterious coming of age ritual known as The Ascension. Poppy was attacked as a baby by the Craven, which are hordes of zombie-like creatures that emerge from the forests surrounding the fortified villages of Masadonia. Where other victims either died or become Craven themselves, Poppy survives with only scars to show for it. As civil unrest flows over into Poppy’s towered existence, she finds herself distracted by her feelings towards one of her new guards, the tall and handsome Rylan. World in turmoil + love interest, check, check.
I cannot deny that some of the sex scenes seem designed to trigger consent issues. And yet. I was BLUSHING as I read this at the gym, and it definitely got my heart rate up. I can also see the merit in some of the goodreads reviews, which are polarized and those that give it one star are SCATHING (aside from consent, the points of contention seem to be Armentrout’s laziness with plot/plot twists and her willingness to crib things from other books, including her own). I could also see large parts where she really could have used a good editor (some of the early sections were really repetitive).
All this aside: I am eagerly awaiting the next two installments and have done some dream casting for Rylan, girding my lions.