Series: Blood and Ash #3
Published by Blue Box Press Genres: Fantasy
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Bow Before Your Queen Or Bleed Before Her…
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes book three in her Blood and Ash series.
She's been the victim and the survivor…
Poppy never dreamed she would find the love she’s found with Prince Casteel. She wants to revel in her happiness but first they must free his brother and find hers. It’s a dangerous mission and one with far-reaching consequences neither dreamed of. Because Poppy is the Chosen, the Blessed. The true ruler of Atlantia. She carries the blood of the King of Gods within her. By right the crown and the kingdom are hers.
The enemy and the warrior…
Poppy has only ever wanted to control her own life, not the lives of others, but now she must choose to either forsake her birthright or seize the gilded crown and become the Queen of Flesh and Fire. But as the kingdoms’ dark sins and blood-drenched secrets finally unravel, a long-forgotten power rises to pose a genuine threat. And they will stop at nothing to ensure that the crown never sits upon Poppy’s head.
A lover and heartmate…
But the greatest threat to them and to Atlantia is what awaits in the far west, where the Queen of Blood and Ash has her own plans, ones she has waited hundreds of years to carry out. Poppy and Casteel must consider the impossible—travel to the Lands of the Gods and wake the King himself. And as shocking secrets and the harshest betrayals come to light, and enemies emerge to threaten everything Poppy and Casteel have fought for, they will discover just how far they are willing to go for their people—and each other.
And now she will become Queen…
This book deserves 10 freaking nuts. Ho-ly shit. I’m not one to spend over $20 on a single book but I finished THE CROWN OF GILDED BONES and immediately bought all 3 hardcovers for $29 a piece. It’s that good. It’s so good in fact that I also preordered the first book in the prequel series coming out in October and will do the same for book 4 as soon as the listing is up. Yes, this is now officially an autobuy series, if not and autobuy author. That last one remains to be seen for me yet.
So suffice to say I loved this book. Even the parts that I predicted, JLA managed to write them in such a way that I still feel like I got the surprise and shock of the moments even though I knew what was going to happen. If that isn’t masterful writing, I don’t know what is. But let’s start from the beginning.
CROWN OF GILDED BONES or COGB starts off much like its predecessor, right from where the previous book left off. And I don’t mean like the way some books do it, where time has gone on and they summarize events. No, I mean JLA writes this series like it is all one book and they just sliced it up into smaller, more palatable chunks. It makes marathoning these books like I did a nice, seamless saga.
So we leave off at an incredible cliffhanger and one of the most cinematic scenes in the entire story thus far. So much so that artist Dominque Wesson had to capture it for one of her incredible fan art pieces (and yes I have some nitpicks about the accuracy of the image but whatever). Still, the scene gives me chills and is an intense way to open the story.
You can bet JLA doesn’t lose her mojo from there. On the contrary, I would say the first third or so of CROWN OF GILDED BONES is straight action and important information mining. I love how Poppy is able to get her adversaries monologuing like its not going to come bite them in the ass later. Self aware antagonists they are not. Throughout this section I was happy to find that my instincts were indeed correct and those who I thought were sus did turn out to be imposters (to coin a turn of phrase from Among Us fame). And also as I predicted, a character I was getting attached to did get offed out of the blue. Thanks JLA, you’re a regular George RR Martin.
Then we have our triumphant moments of justice and I couldn’t help but make excited noises and comments out loud as I listened. People must think I’m an absolute nutter talking to myself as I go. Between the action and the steaminess, this book has you hooked as you bounce back and forth. Did I mention this series is hella steamy? Because it makes Maas books look tame. Well, until ACOSF and Crescent City that is.
We get a nice lull in the middle of the book to cool down from the intensity of the beginning before we go right back into the chaos of the last third of the book. Plenty is still going on as the characters piece together Poppy’s past and she meets her new in-laws. JLA doesn’t waste a single moment of page time. Behind every seemingly tossed aside comment or scrap of information is something ready to be sprung on you later in the book, or even possibly later in the series.
The ending of the book had me all over the place. While I had predicted a lot of what was going to happen I didn’t realize quite how well JLA had wormed these characters into my heart or how I would feel when they got to this point. The only word I can use is “masterful”.
Because of the steamy nature, I would not recommend this book or the series for under 18s. I absolutely would would have read this as a younger teen and been fine, and so would many today. But it’s not something I want to encourage considering just how hot this book is. It is ADULT fantasy romance after all.
I am at a loss for what to read of JLA’s next to see if I should make her an autobuy author or not. So down in the comments let me know which of JLA’s other books are your favorites and why.
From my shelf to yours,