Book Review: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash #2)

Title: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Pub. Date: September 1, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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.

This will be a spoiler free review.

Jen might kill me with this series.

I’ve been a fan of her and her books since 2012 and I’ve fallen in love with each and every one of them. I’ve fallen for all of her characters and I’ve said that no one writes a male love interest the way she does, but oh my fucking god, this book.

Casteel might kill me.

Kieran might kill me.

Poppy might kill me.

I don’t think I’ve ever wished for a polyamorous relationship before, it’s always been either or, but dammit!

I know I should be talking about the plot, or how I’ve only just finished the book and the ending has me absolutely screaming, but I have never wanted three characters to get together and be romantically involved before. Not really, and yet, Jen sat there and wrote those three who have freaking amazing chemistry, and I need that scene to play out in full.  

I don’t know what it says about me, but I thought about that scene for an entire fucking day.

As far as spicy scenes go, it was relatively tame, but somehow that made it hotter?

If you’ve read the book, or at least got to that scene, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Jen better deliver in book 3. I don’t care if Poppy and Cas are fated, I need one fucking scene.

And then there’s that milder just sleeping scene towards the end, jfc, yes please.

If Poppy didn’t have chemistry with Kieran, I doubt I would be pushing for this as much as I am, but she does.

I had to pour myself a glass of some terribly sweet wine (it’s all I had – it’s nasty – to write this review, because I’m kind of embarrassed at how much I want the three of them to fucking get it on.

But I digress.

I’ve been looking forward to this book ever since I read From Blood and Ash back in March when it came out. I stayed up until like 6:30 AM binge reading it, and then thought I was going to have to wait a year to find out what happens next. Then Jen announced it was coming out in September, and I freaked out. Needless to say, I preordered it, and if it hadn’t been for work, I would have binged it all the night it came out. But since I had work and a very bad headache the week of its release, I got to savor this book a bit.

It was so easy to fall back into this world, with these characters. Jen has always hooked me with her opening lines, and this one wasn’t any different. It picks up right where From Blood and Ash leaves off and Poppy and Cas are at odds. From there things keep unfolding, new characters are introduced, and Poppy learns so much and has to confront a lot of misinformation she’s been fed her whole life. Cas is as charmingly insufferable as ever and Kieran is like the exasperated babysitter who wishes that his kids would just stop fighting…and asking questions.

Fuck I love them.

Then there was the ending. All through this book Poppy’s abilities grow and change and they directly tie into the freaking biggest reveal that leaves you gasping and needing to know more. I’m really excited to see what comes next, and really freaking annoyed I have to wait for that third book to find out what this all means. What it means for Poppy, for Casteel, for Atlantia and Solis. I’m so damn excited. That whole scene was epic, and I honestly expected it to play out negatively, but oh this is so much better. I can’t wait to see how it explains and ties into everything.

One last thing before I close out this review – because honestly, I’m still just internally screaming, and I might be tempted to start talking spoilers because I need to talk about this book.

I loved the Atlantian wedding ceremony and how Jen wrote it. I loved the symbolism of where the rings are placed and the meaning behind it. I honestly stopped reading to look at my hand once I read it and kind of fell in love with the whole thing. Which leads me to one more thing, I loved how Poppy came to realize the depths of her feeling for Casteel. That moment when she realized her door was unlocked…y’all that broke me. She’s suffered so much, and finally she has what she’s always desperately craved.

Jen made magic with this book, with the story and releasing it mere months after the first book was released. It’s engaging, good and leaves you desperate for more. She makes you fall in love with the characters, makes you feel for them, and thoroughly pulls you in. If you like Throne of Glass, A Court of Thorns and Roses you’re most likely going to enjoy this series. And if you’ve enjoyed this series, then I highly recommend Miranda Honfleur’s Blade and Rose series.

New Adult High Fantasy needs to become a much bigger genre, because I could read books like this all damn day.

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire is out, so you should definitely pick it up, and if you haven’t yet, pick up From Blood and Ash and see where Poppy’s story starts. You don’t want to miss it.

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