Series: Blood and Ash #2
Published by Blue Box Press Genres: Fantasy
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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes a new novel in her Blood and Ash series...
Is Love Stronger Than Vengeance?
Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that's one order she's more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.
Casteel Da'Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he's the only way for her to get what she wants-to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she's ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself-about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she's far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.
But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.
How many books have you read a book where you put it down after completing and waste no time picking up the next? No breather, no moment to consider, just grabbing the next to continue on the saga without interruption? That was me after reading FROM BLOOD AND ASH. I finished my audiobook, put it back into the cloud, and immediately downloaded A KINGDOM OF FLESH AND FIRE. Who needs sleep, right?
KINGDOM OF FLESH AND FIRE or KOFAF as its often shortened, picks up right where FBAA left off. No “a few days later” no summary of what happened after the cliffhanger. No. JLA gets right back to it and continues the story from where she left it at the end of book 1. I love an author that doesn’t mess around. Get me right to the good stuff and I’ll be a happy camper. How did you guys ever wait for book 2 to come out? or even worse, book 3? I would have gone mad.
Most of the first part of this book is Poppy denying what is obvious to LITERALLY EVERYONE ELSE. Good lord girl, take a deep dive into yourself and figure out you shit. “Search your feelings, you know it to be true”* and all that. My mental Darth Vader was getting so frustrated with her. And yet it didn’t hurt my enjoyment like it normally would have. JLA makes Poppy’s inability to admit her feelings even to herself make sense. It’s not like Poppy would know what attachment, especially romantic attachment would feel like. Combine that with the conflicting feelings after everything she’s gone through, especially with Hawke. Yeah, it’s not unrealistic she’d be all over the place.
Once she does make her decision however, their relationship becomes one to rival Rhys and Feyre or Aelin and Rowan. Honestly, I think it beats both of them. KINGDOM OF FLESH AND FIRE is where these two really shine as a couple. And yes, I’m purposely not saying his name. Spoilers and such. At least these two aren’t always saying “Like calls to like” every few pages. (Yes, regardless of being an addict of “Maas” proportions I can admit to this flaw in her writing. Among others.)
Once we get past the will they-won’t they nonsense the story really begins to pick up. We get to meet more Atlantians, more Wolven, and more friends that I know I’m going to get attached to just for JLA to knock them off at the most inopportune and heart wrenching moments. I already have one in mind among the Wolven and it’s not going to be pretty. I know as soon as I like a character or say “awwww” that something bad is going to happen to them.
On the other hand we have characters that JLA wants us to feel one way and I’m over here calling sus. Suspicious and paranoid, perhaps, but I’m going to be right when it comes to this specific character. I’m well read enough to know how this is going to go, but for others maybe this turn will be a surprise. I’m not very trusting of characters who wheel and deal and plot while they smile to your face.
Just like the first book, KOFAF gives us some fantastic action scenes. A stunning, violent little creature indeed. Poppy is sassy, capable, and will not hesitate to rip your head off if given half a chance. And her Other Half is perfectly content to let her do so. Such an accommodating lover, isn’t he?
JLA matches wit, action, and character supremely well in this book as we dive deeper into the world. Once again, like with FBAA she leaves us with one hell of a cliffhanger that had me grabbing for book 3 as soon as the credits roll. I’m so glad I’ve found some fan art of this scene because it’s incredibly well done. I’m expecting quite a lot from book 3 now, the bar has definitely been raised. Will JLA beat out SJM in soul gripping stories? I guess we have to read on to find out.
A note on the audiobook: the book is narrated by Stina Neilson, the same person who reads A COURT OF SILVER FLAMES by Sarah J Maas for her audiobook. I loved how she read the voices for Maas’ characters and she doesn’t disappoint here doing Jenn’s. Stina is quickly becoming one of my favorite audiobook narrators, from the ways she reads voices to the emotion she puts into scenes in just the right way. She reads all three of the FBAA books and I hope they keep with her for the rest of the series.
Which book in the series has been your favorite? I’m not quite ready to pass judgement yet. Share your thoughts in the comments
*Darth Vader- Star Wars. Do I really have to explain this?
From my shelf to yours,