A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
Jennifer L. Armentrout
The second book of the Blood and Ash series picks up right after Hawke, actually Casteel, also known as the Dark One, proposes to Poppy in the most unromantic way possible. Off to a great start, Cas. Casteel needs Poppy to marry him to help him save his brother from the Ascended, the people of Solis that have raised Poppy since she was a child after her parents were killed in a Craven attack. Casteel has now been trying to show Poppy that the Ascended are the true villains in this story. Slowly, oh so slowly, Poppy is opening her eyes and coming to terms with the fact that he’s right and her whole life has been built on a lie.
We watch the pair try and fight their way through their relationship and face their traumas and futures together. There’s no way from this point that will have them continue in different directions. We witness love, loss, forgiveness and betrayal.
Poppy did not fail in the badass department nor did Casteel fail in the swoon worthy department. But this wasn’t my favorite. From Blood and Ash was so much more than a love story. There was a clear plot and path for the characters to achieve. And something happened in every single chapter. With this, I felt the story fell flat. The last two hundred pages or so were packed with information. Too much information. The books bleed directly into the next, and that’s great if you’re reading them back to back like me, but it also feels like there’s no separation between them. The lines are blurred. But I still enjoyed the book, don’t get me wrong. Casteel is still sexy, Poppy is still a badass. But I missed some of the smaller characters. Like Twanny. I understand that there was no logical way for her to appear in this book, but I still missed her.
This felt like a very long novella between From Blood and Ash and The Crown of Gilded Bones. A lot of information was repeated multiple times and it felt like Armentrout was just trying to make this book long when it didn’t need to be. And the cut off at the end was awkward. We were in the middle of a very important scene. A scene that defines the entire next book, and it was cut in the middle. Of course, I started reading the next book two seconds after I finished this one because I needed to know what happened. And I was disappointed to find out that the scene that was interrupted, was super anticlimactic. But three pages later, another dramatic, important scene was happening and we were off. This book just felt a little too rushed but still slow.
I still enjoyed it. It was still a good, steamy book. I was only disappointed about the plot falling away. Four out of five. Still keeping it on my shelf.