A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire is the second book in the Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I will link my original review of From Blood and Ash if you are also interested in that. As this is the second book in a series, I will keep my review as spoiler-free as possible, but it may not always be possible.
Title: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Blue Box Press
Audience: New Adult
Genre: Fantasy Romance
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.
Based on how much I loved From Blood and Ash, I knew that I would probably love A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, but I didn’t realise it would be as much as I do. I am amazed at how much I fell in love with the characters and the setting; I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
Characters are some of my favourite parts of a book, and A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire did not disappoint, but I did find myself getting quite annoyed with them at specific points. Poppy and Casteel went through quite a bit of development which added new depths to them and their relationship. But I did find myself getting annoyed at their lack of in-depth conversation with each other; I just wanted to shut them in a room together so they would talk about their feelings. During the middle of the book, I did find Poppy quite whiney, but she got better towards the end, which I definitely appreciated. I really enjoyed getting to find out more about other characters and their motivations, especially Kieran. Kieran has to be a new favourite character of mine; I loved his sarcasm and whit and can’t wait to see more of him in the future.
As A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire is a fantasy romance, I have to mention the romance. I love the relationship between Poppy and Casteel; they have a great amount of banter, and it feels like they do love each other. I have to admit that their love declaration to each other did make me cry, and that is quite hard to do. But I don’t think that their relationship is complete, and I have theories about where it is going to go, and if I’m right, I’m going to be very happy.
While the romance is a big part of A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, I didn’t feel let down by the fantasy elements. The fantasy elements kept me intrigued because they were really diverse and always kept me guessing. There are quite a few twists on traditional fantasy elements, which was nice to see. I also really liked the setting and world building, as I didn’t ever find myself getting confused, which I usually do. I think this was mainly down to Jennifer L. Armentrout’s writing style, as I found myself really connected to it.
A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire answered quite a few of the questions I was left with, but it also created some more. Especially after the cliff hanger! I can’t wait to dive into The Crown on Gilded Bones in April; I will definitely be reading it as soon as I can get my hands on it.