The latest in the From Blood and Ash series and it’s okay. It was just as fast moving as the previous books but felt a bit uneven. I’m not sure if that is because it’s the first book that the POV is split between Poppy and Casteel and as interesting as it was to get in Casteel’s head but I’m not sure it brought that much to the narrative. I see how it was necessary because for the first half of the book, Poppy and Casteel were separated and with him in the capital with the Queen, we got more insight into who she was but also more context as to her plans. However, I didn’t find Casteel as interesting as I thought I would. He is far more attractive in Poppy’s POV in my opinion.
So what worked for me is the introduction of Reaver. Technically, we first meet him in the prequel series but he was a child and I don’t think he actually said anything. I loved every scene he was in. He not only brought the well needed comic relief but also the exposition needed to not only bridge the two series together but also move this book forward. He really saved this book for me. What didn’t work was the little character development for Kieran. He goes from being the loyal best friend and bonded pair to Casteel to the loyal best friend and bonded pair to Poppy. He has such little personality or purpose outside of the those two characters. I feel like more could be done with this character.
So yeah, it was a good read but compared to the previous books it was a little bit of a let down. I can only hope that what has been set up will bring the series back to the what made it interesting and fun in the first place.
So I’m not going to lie. I didn’t enjoy this much as the other books set in the world. I guess it’s good to give more context to world that Poppy and Casteel live in and the history behind so many of the conflicts and relationships. Other than that I don’t think it’s necessary. For most of the book, I felt like I was just rereading From Blood and Ash, the first book in the original series. Sera is so much like Poppy and Nyktos or Ash is so much like Casteel. They relationship is so similar. Sera, like Poppy was the Maiden and was raised to fight. They both meet their love interest while they are assuming different personas only to reveal who they really are later. Even their back and forth banter is the same. Heck, at one point, both Sera and Poppy stab Casteel and Nyktos in the heart. Thankfully, the last 100 pages finally became interesting as we learn more about the other Primals and Gods and the circumstances in which Sera and Nyktos became paired up. It just just didn’t need to be a 600+ book to get what we needed to extend the world. Then again, maybe there are things that happen in this book that will become more important in the following books both series to justify the page count. I can only hope so.
Back to the World of From Blood andAsh. This is the 1st book in the prequel series Poppy’s grandparents. The Primal of Death and his consort. So far, it’s kinda of a retread of the first book but I’ll give it a chance.
I believe I said when I started reading this book that this was right in my wheelhouse. I do love this type of fantasy. Very Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. With multiple characters and rival arcs and magical powers. I rushed through the first three books only to have to wait another month for the fourth to come out. Poppy is the Maiden. She’s not allowed to talk or talk to anyone. She must always wear a veil when she is in public. Her every move is watched but what is the Maiden? It’s kind of a religious role. She is told how important she is and how she must keep up appearances and not to upset the Gods but no one tells her what really her role is after she ascends or what happen to the only other Maiden. Poppy wants to live and is unsure if she really wants to be the Maiden. Enters Hawke. The handsome and dashing Palace guard. When tragedy strikes and he is assigned to be one of her personal guards, Poppy world starts to change. For the first time, someone starts to ask her questions she’s been asking herself. She starts to believe that there is more to her life then what she has been forced to believe but Hawke is not who he says to be. Of course they fall in love but things are not as smooth. They are from different worlds and want different things. They start to work together because they both can give the what each other wants. I do admit, I like Hawke but there are a few red flags that start to show. He can be very possessive and controlling. He saves her from her prisoner only to try to force her into marriage. However, as the books move on he starts to give up a little control. Poppy because more powerful and into her own and he realizes, she’s going to do what she wants, he either can support her or fight her all the time. He chooses to mostly support her. Their relationship may not have started out in the best way but it has become one of the healthier relationship with the both learning to listen to each other to give each other want they want without pushing each other. I do admit, I thought this was a YA book since the last book I read by Jennifer Armentrout was but it does have some of the most explicit sex scenes I have ever read. The details in them at times was kind of blushing, which can be a little embarrassing when reading on the subway to work. So yeah, I like this series. I look forward to see where it goes from here now that the stakes have been raised and war is about to begin.
I do really love Poppy. I love her curious nature and her willingness to put others first despite everything she’s been through. I’m not sure how I feel about Hawke, though. He’s great but there are also some red flags there. So I guess our typically YA love interest.