Review: From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

A Kindle copy of From Blood and Ash rests on a cream-colored blanket next to a white mug with a matcha latte.

Alexis:

Okay, so this book is hot garbage. But it’s enjoyable hot garbage. 

Think a refashioned Twilight; throw in some werewolves and two types of vampire type things. Although, this book honestly has way more plot and worldbuilding than Twilight ever did. 

The first half was a little slow as it set up the world, Poppy’s character, and Poppy’s role in the world. The writing is honestly not great, though it did improve as the story went on (and as I managed to turn off my critical reading brain). But there were just some strange sentence structures and a lot of “telling” over “showing” in the first half, especially.

Plus, there were typos. I don’t know if it was just in the e-book version, but on page 305, for example we have: “Of course, you do.” Why is there a comma after of course?? Later on, we have: “He was an Atlantian, His people…” There were others, too, but I tried not to keep track of them all. After all, that’s not the author’s fault.

There were a lot of plot twists that were obvious from nearly the very beginning of this story, and Armentrout throws in very heavy-handed foreshadowing that doesn’t help. The romance is very Twilight-y in that there’s a power imbalance, and Hawke’s character is morally grey (and at times creepy, hello Edward).

Okay, then why did I say this was an enjoyable read? Because the dialogue is dynamic and snappy. There’s a lot of well-written tension. And once you get past the not-so-subtle foreshadowing, I found the world and the world’s history interesting. Plus, reading about flawed, morally grey characters always intrigues me, and it kept the pages turning. Despite Poppy having some pretty dumb moments, I enjoyed her POV and found her an interesting character, and I was glad that her character knew how to fight. 

My enjoyment while reading this book? Nearly 5 stars! But the writing comes in at about a 2. I’m not sure I want to rate this one overall, but I guess that would fall in at about a 3.5. You can bet I still want to read the series, though! Too bad I have to wait about 7 weeks to read the next book from my library.

Anyway, if you can turn off your critical reader brain and you’re looking for a Twilight meets A Court of Thorns and Roses kind of read, then you might like this.

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Alexis: Read 4/27/19

Spoilers Below!

While I have some mixed feelings about A Court of Thorns and Roses, overall, it was a 4 star read for me.

So, here’s the book in a nutshell: It starts out as The Hunger Games, then turns into Beauty and the Beast, and finally turns into Twilight.

I’ll start with what I loved about the book. While Maas writes the occasional cheesy and cringey line, I enjoyed her writing style overall. I love the way she describes color, and I was impressed by the landscape she painted in the beginning of the book. I related to Feyre in the beginning of the book the way I related to Katniss: she’s a girl turned hard from trying to survive, and I sympathized with her.

I found Tamlin an interesting character because of his role as a host and protector of his manor and land, because of his drive and sense of honor. His shapeshifting was written well. And I liked Lucien the most; he had the most vibrant personality of all the characters.

Once the plot picked up, I enjoyed the action-packed third section of the book. I think Maas’ writing shines the most when she writes action scenes. I also enjoyed (finally) learning about the political and historical backstories of the world.

I also liked the romance. The middle section of the book was very slow-paced, so Feyre and Tamlin’s budding romance didn’t feel too rushed or insta-love.

As for what I didn’t love about the book, my biggest issue was that most of the important backstory/plot points weren’t revealed until 250 pages in. Yep. 250 pages. Even the synopsis of the book includes the curse, which Feyre doesn’t know about until, again, 250 pages in. Here’s the thing: everyone knows the basis of Beauty and The Beast. So the main, mysterious plot of the most of the book wasn’t so mysterious, because this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. If Maas had switched it up a little more, the reveals would have been more interesting.

I also had issue with some of the characters. I didn’t have any issue with Feyre, though I found her name annoying because I had to remind myself how to pronounce it. I’m also not a fan of Tamlin’s name; it just sounds like the name of a modern five-year-old boy. But that’s just personal preference. I wanted Tamlin to have more of a stand-out personality, especially since he doesn’t have much of a role in the latter half of the book. Rhysand has more personality than Tamlin, and unfortunately, I have a feeling a love-triangle is going to make an appearance in the next book.  

As for the ending, I guessed it about halfway through the book. There were too many similarities to Twilight, and I knew human-Feyre wouldn’t make it too much further in the series.

Overall, this was a fun and engaging read. Though the middle was a little slow, it allowed time to get to know the characters better. I enjoyed the final section of the book the best, despite the Twilighty ending. I’m definitely going to continue the series, as I tend to like the first book in a series the least!

VERDICT: 4 stars