Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.
The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.
Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.
When people say the last 20% of this book is wild and changes everything…they aren’t wrong. Did I predict the huge plot twist? Yeah it was kind of obvious with all the context clues. But this book did some things that even I couldn’t follow.
Poppy is the Maiden, chosen by the gods at birth to ascend and save the entire kingdom. Being the Maiden comes with a bunch of rules and restrictions that Poppy isn’t super great at following. Then a new guard named Hawke comes into the picture and he is essentially temptation in tangible form. As whatever is between them grows, Poppy finds it harder and harder to remember what her duty is.
The first thing I’ll say off the bat is that this book starts strong, gets slow, and then ends wild. This is a fantasy romance so the plot isn’t the strongest. There was a lot of world building but once Hawke really comes into the picture it’s all about the romance. Did I mind? Hell no. I knew what I was getting into when I picked this up. The only thing that bothered me was the string of chapters that Hawke wasn’t in because all I wanted was to read more about him. I also didn’t like some things that happened at the end because a certain character makes some very questionable and dumb decisions.
Poppy was a really interesting character because while she had a sense of innocence to her she really wasn’t what I expected. She was quite mischievous and had a fiery personality. Not to mention a penchant for violence. Hawke, for the most part, was fun to read about. Honestly he is probably the most attractive male character I’ve read about. Apparently he’s so gorgeous that literally everyone is thirsting over him. It was fun to swoon but his personality would irk me if I were Poppy. I loved watching them go at it but damn if I was Poppy I would have punched him in the face so many times. The best way I can describe him is to imagine how the devil would be portrayed in a romance and thats Hawke.
Like I said the plot wasn’t very strong but the romance was fun. I wasn’t obsessed with it but it was highly entertaining to watch. I am interested to see where it goes considering the events at the end of this book.
I would recommend giving this book a try if you’re interested. It’s definitely fun and full of wild twists. This is my sixth Jennifer L. Armentrout book and I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve read the Lux series and I didn’t love those. So if you didn’t like that series you might enjoy this one!
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