Across the Room: This second instalment of Jennifer Armentrout’s Blood and Ash series is another testament to her talents. However, there are several nit-picky problems I discovered along the way. Please note the triage assessment below.
Temperature: Low-grade fever: This leg of Poppy’s journey seemed a lot more fantastical/whimsical than the previous. While we were battling the dark oppression she was under in the previous, we are now journeying and discovering more about this world outside of her town. While there are still some darker elements to this part of the story, I can’t help but feel this is a bit more whimsical than the previous.
Heart Rate: Normal rate and rhythm. Here is where Armentrout shines. Her storytelling and pacing is incredible. Not once did I feel like the slow parts were too slow, nor did the action feel too fast.
Blood Pressure: Low normotensive: Since it’s all from Poppy’s POV, the plot was very easy to follow. However, there was a touch of monotony that made things a bit too predictable. The stakes just didn’t feel high enough/real, since Poppy’s the narrator, and this is all from her eyes. There were other parts that I actually wanted to get into, as well. Oh, to be a fly on the wall during some of Hawke’s scenes when she’s locked in her room!
Respirations: irregular rate: the characters were…I’m not sure how to describe them. I felt that Poppy’s "flaws" weren’t really flaws, at all, except *maybe* her naivety. Even then, however, it’s not really a flaw, per say, since she was so heavily sheltered in book 1. I feel as though her and Hawke’s personalities revolve around their traumas to the point of boredom. All they seem to be is their past, and their lust.
Oxygenation: Well-oxygenated: The setting and prose are also major strengths of Armentrout. The imagery, smells, sounds, etc. really help paint a vivid picture in my mind.
Work of Breathing: Occasional shortness of breath: For the most part, I was fully immersed in this world. However, there were little pieces of dialog and characterisations that pulled me out of the story.
Medical: grammatically, there is very little wrong with this tale. However, there were a few choices of phrasing by the characters that just didn’t make sense to me. (Ie: Poppy saying, "I didn’t ask for your two cents!" When there is no mention of dollars, cents, etc. throughout the story). Overall, however, I’d say not a huge "medical history"
Psychiatric: I don’t know. I guess I’m just not shipping super hard for the main couple. They are so dysfunctional.
Socio-economic: I want to assume this is adult fantasy, given all the sex on the page. However, there are moments that this reads like YA, and it holds quite a few YA tropes.
Head to Toe Assessment
Head and Face: The cover is absolutely stunning. This and the previous book: the covers are the #1 reason I picked these off the bookshelf in the first place.
Neck: The opening felt a little lack-lustre. I think the picking-up of the story immediately one sentence after the first book ended was a little jarring. I would have liked to have a prologue that showed a little more of the religion of either side of the story.
Chest: I had a hard time figuring out exactly *when* the inciting incident starts. I think with the opening being so sudden and jarring, I couldn’t figure it out.
Abdomen and Flanks: Overall this was a really easy read, and I fully enjoyed the mere 2 days it took for me to read.
Perineum: Again, throughout the story, I felt as though the stakes weren’t super high, so I had a hard time believing Poppy’s "Breaking Point" in this leg of her story.
Extremities: The whole bleeding sky was amazing! I loved the imagery there. I definitely enjoyed the turning point/big reveal, even though it wasn’t that much of a surprise to me.
Backside: I feel like this part of the story ends on a better note than the previous book. It has a more natural break/ending.
Prognosis: I’d give this a Fair-to-fairly good prognosis. (3 stars on Goodreads). While the story as a whole is intriguing, and I plan to read this entire series through (I’d preordered "Crown of Gilded Bones" immediately after reading this one), I can’t say I’m a super-fan of this instalment. I am looking forward to book 3, though.
Again, here is the link to my triage formula:
Stay safe. Stay sane. Keep healthy. Keep smiling. Much love!