Book Review: The War of Two Queens (Blood and Ash #4)

Title: The War of Two Queens

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Pub. Date: March 14, 2022

Pages: 628

Pub: Blue Box Press

Genre: NA Fantasy Romance

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads


From the desperation of golden crowns…

Casteel Da’Neer knows all too well that very few are as cunning or vicious as the Blood Queen, but no one, not even him, could’ve prepared for the staggering revelations. The magnitude of what the Blood Queen has done is almost unthinkable.

And born of mortal flesh…

Nothing will stop Poppy from freeing her King and destroying everything the Blood Crown stands for. With the strength of the Primal of Life’s guards behind her, and the support of the wolven, Poppy must convince the Atlantian generals to make war her way—because there can be no retreat this time. Not if she has any hope of building a future where both kingdoms can reside in peace.

A great primal power rises…

Together, Poppy and Casteel must embrace traditions old and new to safeguard those they hold dear—to protect those who cannot defend themselves. But war is only the beginning. Ancient primal powers have already stirred, revealing the horror of what began eons ago. To end what the Blood Queen has begun, Poppy might have to become what she has been prophesied to be—what she fears the most.

As the Harbinger of Death and Destruction.


This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to Jennifer L. Armentrout and Blue Box Press for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. I love this series, and I love having the opportunity to read it early and help get people excited!

If you haven’t yet dived into the Blood and Ash series/world, you should really change that. It sucks you in and keeps you wanting more. If you’re interested you can check out my spoiler free reviews for the first three Blood and Ash books – From Blood and Ash, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire and The Crown of Gilded Bones. Plus you can also check out the first book in the Flesh and Fire series, A Shadow in the Ember  – which is a prequel to the Blood and Ash series.

And there is a recommended reading order! You’ll definitely want to have tread A Shadow in the Ember BEFORE diving in to The War of Two Queens – trust me on this.

So, the order would be – From Blood and Ash // A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire // The Crown of Gilded Bones // A Shadow in the Ember // The War of Two Queens

With that sorted, let’s just jump into this review.

I have so many thoughts, theories, fears…everything is just kind of roiling around in my head. It’s only been a few days since finishing, and I’m definitely going to do a audiobook reread because I love them. But mostly, I loved this book. I’ve loved every book in this series, are we surprised?

Probably not.

But I was a little bit terrified of this one – I wasn’t quite sure about the trauma JLA was going to put us through. After the cliffhanger that is that is the end of The Crown of Gilded Bones and everything we learn in A Shadow in the Ember I really didn’t know what to expect. Which is obviously a bit terrifying, but oh so exciting.

This book pretty much hit every emotional moment you could think of, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Do I wish it had been a little more action packed, sure. But I get why things happened the way they did, were revealed the way they were.  Even the moments where a certain character – well, characters – had me so rage-y that I had to keep setting the book down so I could exhale the fury. Like, kudos to JLA for writing a character so well that they elicit such visceral reactions. I love it when that happens. But also, jfc they made me so damn mad.

As for the other characters in this book who didn’t make me want to rage punch and kick things – namely throats – their arcs were so good.

Poppy’s journey and growth in this book is so satisfying – regardless of the shit she has to deal with, she handles it so well. I loved the way JLA wrote her in this book, the moments of strength paired with the moments of weakness. It’s insane to think about where Poppy started, and how far she’s come.

I also especially loved that we got chapters from Cas’s POV. I don’t know what it is about the Male Love Interest’s POV in books that is so damn addicting, but I love them and absolutely love reading from their POV. I love that extra bit of insight, especially at the stage the two of them are in this book.

And don’t even get me started on their emotional journey. JLA has me sunk with the two of them. Let’s be real, we’re all here for their journey, their love story.

But apart from their connection, another thing that I really loved is the fact that we get to see Poppy rely and interact with other characters more. Same with Cas. Poppy has never really had to stand on her own feet, truly make her own choices – choices that can and will affect others. Her life has always been dictated by others, and while Cas is all about letting her choose, there’s still a sort of (co)dependence there. So getting to watch her lead and make those choices – it’s perfect.

The relationships and friendships Poppy cultivates in this book are so good, so endearing and satisfying. It also forces her to step up, to grow herself and own her own power. It makes the tougher emotional moments so much more impactful and I loved it so much. There is a certain character I would love to gush about, but that would be verging on spoiler-y territory, so I’ll refrain. But the near comedic tension between that character and Kieran, one of the best things in this book, and I loved getting to see this character again.

As for the twists and turns this book takes – so many I could have never guessed, and I thought they were brilliant. And having read A Shadow in the Ember – the ones pertaining to what we learn in that book…phew. I can only imagine that JLA is sitting behind her laptop grinning mischievously at everything she’s crafted and how she’s woven it all together. And even though we’re 4 books and a prequel in – shit is only just getting started. It’s intense and things you think you know to expect get flipped on their head, and other things end up being twists. Just the intricacy of how everything is coming together, the reveals and hidden truths that characters let slip…

Y’all, I cannot wait to see what comes up. I’m terrified but omfg I’m so ready. JLA has had me hooked since From Blood and Ash and at this point I’m so invested, I just need more. Like, inject it right into my brain because I’m mildly obsessed. So much happens in this book, and there are certain moments that I’m thrilled happened, other moments not so much, but they’re what make this book so damn good, so enjoyable. It might be a throat punch to the emotions, but it’s so worth it. I wasn’t bored for a moment and if I’d had the time (or the energy, to be honest) I would have inhale this in one sitting. Working full time sucks, jfc.

I highly, highly recommend picking up this book, and picking up the first book if you haven’t yet. I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Once again, thank you to Jennifer L. Armentrout and Blue Box Press for the advance copy of The War of Two Queens and I cannot wait to see what happens next!

 

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