Monday, April 26, 2021

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire - Review

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash, # 2)

By: Jennifer L Armentrout

Publication: September 1st 2020 by Blue Box Press

637 pages

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Personal Kindle Library (Christmas present from Husband)

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Goodreads description--A Betrayal…

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.

A Choice...

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.

A Secret…

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.

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire was so long that it is hard to remember exactly where it started compared to how far in the story things developed. Granted, the book didn't feel as long as its 637 pages. But it leaves me struggling to remember how much I need to comment on. I do know that From Blood and Ash ended with Casteel announcing that he plans to marry Poppy. So that's exactly where A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire began. Poppy is resistant mostly because she doesn't believe in Casteel's feelings for her considering his prior betrayal. But it doesn't take long for Casteel to outline the benefits of a marriage between the two of them to convince Poppy to agree even if she still doubts he has any true feelings for her.

Casteel's reasoning does make sense, but he's counting on some factors that he can't control, like his people falling in line and not questioning him and his father not risking their relationship. And of course, the reader suspects his feelings to be just as real as Poppy's even if neither is yet willing to admit them.

The story progresses quite a lot in this one book. The group leaves New Haven after some troubles there and finally progresses to Atlantia. Poppy's powers are growing in ways that she doesn't understand or expect. She doesn't know what changes might come next. And she finds herself hoping that the Atlantians accept her instead many fear and distrust her. Unfortunately, her growing powers do nothing to quench their fears. If nothing else, her powers create more fear. And we know that people often do terrible things out of fear.

Content is descriptive and language is certainly present. I also worry that Jennifer L Armentrout is slowly trying to prepare the reader for an upcoming sexual event that goes beyond my comfort zone. I hope she doesn't go there. Perhaps the suggestion is enough, but I feel like this is one of those things that wouldn't even have been mentioned if she weren't going there at some point. Either way, if language or descriptive scenes aren't your cup of tea, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire might not be for you.

Favorite quotes:

-“Make me feel incompetent and kill more than me, Princess.”

-"The world, no matter how big, is often smaller than we realize.”

-“Don’t,” he warned softly, and my hands froze. “I appreciate the gesture, but I don’t need you to take away my pain, nor do I want that.”...“Because the pain is a reminder and a warning. One I plan to never forget.”

-“When it comes to bacon, the answer is always yes.”

-And it was strange how revelations felt like they happened all of a sudden, but in reality, it took many small, almost indiscernible moments over the course of weeks, months, and years.

Given the length of this book, I read A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire quickly. I enjoyed every step of the way. I can't say I had any issues except the potential worry for some scenes to come. Casteel and Poppy's relationship has been such an enjoyable one to read about. Given this was one of my most anticipated reads, I was not disappointed at all. A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire? What did you think? Let me know!

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