Blood and Ash is a romantic fantasy series by world-renowned author Jennifer L. Armentrout. The first book was published in 2020 and quickly became a hit.

The story in the books follows the life of Penellaphe, who was raised as a Maiden. Aside from the obvious meaning of this title, she is chosen to “ascend” on her 19th birthday as a gift to the gods, along with the second sons and daughters of the people, and become part of the elite of society. The ascended are worshipped as gods and represent prestige in society.

The world Armentrout describes consists of two warring kingdoms, Solis and Atlantia. During the War of the Two Kings, the kingdom of Atlantia retreats and loses much of its territory. The rightful heir to the throne of the fallen kingdom, called the Dark One, leads the fight to restore Atlantia, and Penellaphe proves to play the most important role in his success.

Penellaphe is looking for a way to escape her role as a maiden. She wants to experience life. The small ways in which she manages to secretly defy her assigned fate reveal the character’s true nature. Although she is forbidden to show her face, she secretly dresses up and leaves her chambers. In the society in which she lives, women are not allowed to protect themselves, but she secretly takes lessons from her personal bodyguard. The heroine Armentrout creates is curious by nature and the fact that she manages to mess with the Dark One will come as no surprise to the reader.

In “Blood and Ash”

you will find many fantastic elements. Two types of “vampires” are introduced in the story. One is the Ascended, the so-called vampires, who are artificially created. This happens during a secret ritual called “ascension”, in which their blood is drained almost to a drop and they are offered the blood of an Atlantean. The Ascended are immortal and form the ruling class in Solis.

“Blood and Ashes” is about the power of self-exploration and the protagonist’s search for her identity. Armentrout shows the potential pitfalls of a society dominated by a ruling class that uses fear to control the population. The people of Solis, who blindly believe in the Ascended, and how cruelly they are tricked into betraying their children in the service of the gods.

Vampires cannot stay in the sun and naturally feed on blood. They are as agile and strong as the Atlantians. When the Ascended feed on a human, they can create a Changeling. A zombie driven only by its lust for flesh. When bitten, the mortal is also transformed into a changeling.

Atlantians are the pure race.

They only need the blood of their own kind. Their race is endowed with supernatural powers and senses. Atlantians are almost impossible to kill. After the War of the Two Kings, the people of the fallen kingdom are forced to hide and flee from the Ascended, for their blood is needed for the ritual.

Another fantastic race that appears in the books are the Wolfmen. They are metamorphs who take the form of giant wolves. Their appearance is characterised by their bright blue eyes and their supernatural senses. The Wolfmen fight on the side of the Atlanteans.

The Blood and Ash series consists of the following books:

From Blood and Ash
A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
The Crown of Gilded Bones
The War of Two Queens
A Soul of Ash and Blood