Title: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
Series: From Blood and Ash #2
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Date Published: September 1st 2020
Publisher: Blue Box Press
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 starts immediately after the first book, following on from the same scene so that we don’t miss anything. This book combines a captivating premise, powerful and strong protagonists, entertaining side characters, and fascinating world-building to produce a true work of art. Armentrout outdid herself with this one, surpassing the first book in its excellence. The book follows Poppy and Casteel’s journey, involving more action, excellent world-building as well as some amazing steamy romance.
Poppy changes a lot in this book, as she comes to terms with the truth of the world. Poppy learns more about herself as well as who the ascended are, who Prince Casteel is and what that means for her. We see her become happier with herself and more unapologetically who she is. I adore how violent she is and how this serves as a reminder about who she truly is and how much she has to offer the world now that’s free of the constraints of being the 'maidan'. Poppy is one of my favorite protagonists, she’s brave and strong and capable of defending herself and others.
Casteel is perfection.
Poppy and Casteel’s romance was epic, everything about them was pure perfection. I adore their banter and poppy’s retorts and absolutely loved how inappropriate Casteel was at the most inappropriate moments. Their relationship was incredibly entertaining to watch and my heart was constantly racing through all their pretenses and their unspoken feelings. But more than that, their protectiveness of each other is beautiful and how much they clearly care even when they know they probably shouldn’t. What killed me the most about their epic romance was how long it took them to admit their feelings, every action they took made it clear how they felt, and yet neither of them understood how the other felt. However, this just added to the heart-pounding emotions that carried me through the book.
The premise of the story involved a lot of intense truths, betrayals, battles, and lots of violence which made the story incredibly compelling, but this intense plot was balanced out with the romance, so the story is filled with warmth alongside the intensity of the story.
I also adored all the secondary characters; Kieran might actually be my favorite side character of all time. I loved his relationship with Casteel and the role he played, I always looked forward to his interactions with Poppy as they were an endless source of amusement for me. There was a large cast of characters but all of which added such a great dynamic to the story, I can’t wait to see what happens to everyone in the following books.
Whilst I loved From Blood and Ash I did find it had a slow start with there being no rush to leave the palace, whereas there was a much faster pace/ sense of urgency in AKoFaF due to the much grander scale of things happening. Whilst the characters didn’t rush anyway fast, the pacing was better and there was a sense of urgency that has me worrying about them needing to move faster. This feeling just added to the suspense and had me even more involved in the story. Adding to this was the fact that very few of my questions were answered, instead, we just got given way more questions and mysteries that need solving and I am dying to know what happens next. I loved the way the story progressed, and each new aspect introduced had my heart pumping with shock and excitement. The ending of the book was such a twist and oh wow, it's cruel that the next book isn’t out yet. The ending was explosively dramatic with some incredibly shocking twists, and I cannot wait for the next book to answers at least some of my questions.
Honestly, I can’t say too many great things about this book. It’s a roller-coaster of a book, with endless laughs, tears, and heart-pounding moments. It had everything I wanted and more; addictive drama, humorous banter, easy-to-love side characters, compelling story and powerful protagonists. Overall, I can’t recommend this book enough, please read it and come chat with me about all the amazingness!
Rating: 5 Star