Vampires, zombies and werewolves. Sounds like we’ve travelled back in time ten years, doesn’t it? Unlike Twilight, the From Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L Armentrout puts a delightful new twist on classic paranormal elements.
Guest blogger of From Blood and Ash, Amelia Connell, is a University of the Sunshine Coast student. She’s completing a Bachelor of Creative Industries, majoring in Publishing & Creative Writing. Amelia is currently undertaking a 208-hour internship with Gail Tagarro.
A New High Fantasy Twist
Armentrout is well known for her paranormal and fantasy series, and From Blood and Ash is yet another hit in the high fantasy genre. Common paranormal creatures have been rejuvenated and renamed in this series. For instance, vampires become Atlantians, zombies are craven and werewolves are wolven. All these creatures feature heavily in the series, and when blended with elements of high fantasy, the effect is addictive.
Protagonist Poppy Balfour has been told for years that she is ‘chosen’. She is kept under lock and key in the castle, a silent puppet for the Queen of Solis. On her twentieth birthday she will ‘ascend’, a ritual no one will explain to her and something she has every right to fear. The queen and her caretakers, Duke and Duchess Teerman, use Poppy to keep the peace in the kingdom. They repeatedly refer to her as ‘chosen by the gods’.
However, Poppy is not interested in a life of silence and staring at walls. One of her guards, Vikter, teaches her to fight, and she sneaks away from the palace frequently. On one of these escapades, she hears of craven attacks in the outskirts of the city and later meets a man named Hawke Flynn.
When one of her guards is killed in an attempted kidnapping, who will replace him? None other than the golden-eyed Hawke.
Hawke is an enigma to Poppy from the moment they meet. He’s charming, playful and full of secrets, and the pair hit it off immediately. Their humorous banter is as entertaining as the plot itself. As the two grow closer, Poppy’s doubts about being ‘the Maiden’ only increase. What will her future look like after she ascends—and will Hawke still be with her?
The Dark One
Throughout the story, the enemy kingdom of Atlantia is an ever-present threat. Bands of rebels wreak havoc in the border towns, and at the centre of it all, the Prince of Atlantia, known as ‘The Dark One’, is a constant threat. His moniker is whispered throughout Solis, and rumours that he controls the craven run rampant. When the city is attacked by craven and, later, when another of Poppy’s guards is killed, The Dark One seems to be the obvious perpetrator.
Poppy is summoned to the capital—where she will ascend early, for her own safety.
A Perilous Journey
On their journey to the capital, Poppy, Hawke and their group of guards face many obstacles, including craven attacks and a trek through the eerie Blood Forest. Hawke and Poppy become even closer, and Poppy makes a decision regarding her future.
Worlds will collide and all is not as it seems. When everything Poppy thought she knew turns out to be a lie—what will she do?
From Blood and Ash is an ongoing series, with three books released and another three to come (book four releases in March 2022). In addition to this, there’s a spinoff series. The first is publishing in October and focuses on the lives of the gods in the From Blood and Ash world.
Armentrout, JL 2020, From Blood and Ash, Blue Box Press, USA.
JR Korpa Unsplash