"A Soul of Ash and Blood" Gets Mixed Reviews from Early Readers
September 9, 2023
The infamous Blood and Ash series continues with its fifth installment, and early reviews show some readers are not pleased with the alternate POV retelling. Fans were hoping to learn more about what happens next for Poppy, Casteel and Kieran. Instead, Jennifer L. Armentrout takes us back through the events of the first books from Casteel's point of view. Some readers are thrilled to learn how Cas felt when he was keeping secrets and falling in love with Poppy. Other's feel like it was a cop out from Armentrout, a lazy attempt to draw out the bestselling series and increase sales revenue before releasing the final installment.
Read on to learn more about the Blood and Ash series, what early readers have to say about the new release, and if it's even worth it to start the series knowing what comes next.
What is the Blood and Ash series about? (Spoiler-free)
A young woman, Poppy, has only known life as the Maiden. She was told she was special, chosen to assist the Gods by turning second born children into Ascended. These immortal beings are mysterious, walking around with black eyes and vacant expressions, but maintaining power across the triumphant Kingdom. This includes Solis, where Poppy is kept hidden behind a veil to maintain her virtue and purity. She is only allowed to interact with her assigned companion and her guards as she awaits her Ascension, forced to hide her hopes and dreams in fear of punishment.
When rebels attack, she's assigned a new guard named Hawke. The two form a connection that fertilizes the seeds of doubt already planted in her soul. She becomes fed up with the treatment she receives from her Ascended caretakers, and she wonders what life would be like if she could make choices for herself. As she plans her escape, her feelings for Hawke unfold with secrets of legend that will change the course of her life and the Kingdom. As the series continues, Poppy must decipher which history to believe. Are the stories that shaped her world true, or are they legends? Who is telling the truth, and what is her role in all of this?
What are readers saying in the A Soul of Ash and Blood reviews?
If you were looking forward to continuing the story with an exciting new book full of substance and adventure, then you will surely be disappointed. Aside from the first and last chapter, the latest installment acts as a retelling of past events in Cas's POV. Some readers found this enjoyable as they get to experience the angst and romantic tension again, but this time with a deeper connection to the characters and events that take place. But other readers feel let down, calling it "a blatant cash grab" and "a waste of time."
Arini, a popular Goodreads reviewer, states: "While i sometimes wondered about Cas' thoughts during specific occasions throughout the first two books, I hardly think re-writing the WHOLE first book in Cas’ POV was necessary."
Another reviewer shares her frustrations about the series without reading the book, posting that "the fans are really defending this a** of a book 🤣. Yes, people knew it would be a retelling, but some people were expecting things like, I don’t know, plot progression. I am so glad I am not reading this s**. This is the 5th book in this series. We need more than smut, fluff, and random dialogue. We need a PLOT."
One reviewer took it to a whole new level. "At this point this series would be better if every single character died."
I fear that this is quickly becoming a Zodiac Academy style nightmare. Either Armentrout is attempting to extend the series in a capitalistic attempt to wring the popular series dry, or she has no clue how to successfully wrap up the ambitious world she's created.
If you're wondering whether to pick up the new book, it truly depends on your level of patience and desire to reread something you're already familiar with. But I did hear there's a cliffhanger in the last chapter, with at least something new added to the plot. So maybe just read the last chapter and get ready for book six? Or maybe wait until it's available on Kindle Unlimited, because $7.99 for two chapters of new content is honestly just criminal.
How many books are in the Blood and Ash series?
There are currently five released titles in the series. The latest book, A Soul of Ash and Blood, was released on July 17, 2023 and Jennifer L. Armentrout has announced there will be six books total. The sixth and final installment, The Primal of Blood and Bone, is rumored for release in 2024. Note the actual publication date has not yet been confirmed.
Is Blood and Ash spicy?
I would rate it a 3.5/5. The spice kicks off in book one and gets even hotter as the series continues. If you are looking for a spicy read, this series is a good choice. Book two pushes the spicy meter to the next level, focusing more on the budding relationship between our main characters. But Jennifer L. Armentrout doesn't lay all of her cards on the table right away. As the plot thickens and the connection between Poppy and her man grows, the steamy scenes reach a whole new level (especially when the line between friends and lovers becomes a bit smudgy).
Is the Flesh and Fire series connected to Blood and Ash?
Yes! The Flesh and Fire series currently consists of three books, connected to the world in the Blood and Ash series.
A Shadow in the Ember (2021)
A Light in the Flame (2022)
A Fire in the Flesh (2023)
Flesh and Fire serves as a prequel series, but you don't need to read them before starting the Blood and Ash series. In fact, I would recommend starting with the B&A first so you have more background on the legends and history of the world before meeting the characters in the F&F series.
While I will definitely not be running to the bookstore to pick up a personal copy, I may come back to the series eventually. I did grow to like the characters, but I have little patience one the plot falls to the wayside in a fantasy romance book series. And I have even less patience for pointless retellings of books I've already read. Overall, this is a no from me, but I'm curious to see what you think.