A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire is the second book by Jennifer L. Armentrout in the Blood and Ash series. It picks up right where From Blood and Ash left off, with yet another cliff hanger ending, and kept me anxiously awaiting book 3! (This post has been sitting in drafts for months now, my apologies!)
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IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK, STOP READING! SPOILERS AHEAD
So Hawke is a bad guy (shocker) and really Casteel, the prince that Poppy was taught to fear growing up, and now they’re getting married! What could go wrong?! A lot. A lot does go wrong, story-wise but also in the way in which the story is told, IMO.
There are a lot of tropes at play here. Fake marriage, enemies with benefits, blah blah. You don’t really read this series for the excellent writing, you do it as a guilty pleasure thing (in the same way that I am currently rewatching Twilight lol).
Cas wants to marry Poppy, but to do that, they have to be on Atlantian soil. The closest place for them to marry is a treacherous journey away, all while being pursued by guards determined to take The Maiden back.
We’re inside Poppy’s head a lot, and while I get that it’s needed, I think a lot could have been sped up had that inner monologue been external?
Also: Poppy stabs things, Cas likes it when she does, cool. This takes up way too much of the book for me, and I feel like it’s overdone. The “I have a million questions” thing and someone laughing about Poppy saying that because *of course she does* is also wayyyy over done for me.
Kieran as a character is funny and at times the only one I view as self-aware. I hope we see more of him in book 3 and in a larger role!
I did like seeing the group dynamics unfold, and meeting more of the Wolven. When Alastair is introduced, I felt it was pretty obvious that he was a shady character, but I guess not everyone sees him this way? I get bad vibes from him.
Did we really doubt that Poppy and Cas would get back together?! No? Yeah, there was literally no way this wasn’t happening, and I wanted to smack the two of them multiple times for not *communicating* but again, written for teens, not for me. They get married, as planned, but it’s legit, lots of cute fluff here.
Poppy has a new healing power that makes some sketched out, and a lot of the Wolven are really against their marriage. Bodes well for the honeymoon period, don’t you think?
Eventually, the gang goes over the mountains and into the capital of Atlantia, where Cas plans to unveil (see what I did there lol) his new bride to the King and Queen, but not before the Wolven try to kill her!!! Unreal cliff hanger, I was honestly really mad that there was no other chapter after the final scene.
To be completely honest, as I finish this post a few months after reading this book, I don’t really have much else to add, which is sad. The book is forgettable, because it’s sandwiched between the plot lines of the two other faster-moving books. We get some resolutions, but more questions than answers, and the major takeaways from this book are 1. Poppy and Cas make up and get married, 2. Poppy has weird powers that sketch people out, and 3. Poppy is now potentially usurping Cas and his parents from the throne after almost being murdered.
- I will forever love Poppy, despite the over-stabby tendencies
- cliffhanger ending that I have a love/hate relationship with
- I was v emotionally invested despite it all
- multiple cringe moments
- multiple moments where I realized this book was definitely intended for teens and not me and my friends in our mid/late 20s (despite the group text we have lol)
- overdone tropes IMO but again, this is meant for people who would eat it up
- kind of slow plot wise in the beginning
3 stars for me! The third book is already out, and I’ll link that post below.