Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published September 1, 2020
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.
Ok so. Let’s see here. There’s a lot to unpack…
I’m not sure if rushed is the word I’d like to tag onto to this book, but I feel like it is. I feel like it was mostly just build build build build build and BAM. But the building of the story didn’t really go anywhere…if that makes sense. I felt like there wasn’t a lot of substance between where Poppy ended (location wise) in the first book, and then like a week long trek to Atlantia…SO MUCH could have happened yet nothing did, nothing that impacted the story at least. And then WHAM out of nowhere the last like 10 minutes of the book, this huge thing/reveal happens OUT OF NOWHERE. I’m trying to be really respectful of those who haven’t read this yet.
But man, I don’t feel satisfied with this book as much as I did with From Blood And Ash. First of all, I feel like Poppy ended up randomly overly violent out of the blue, there was no build up to it, why she decided she needed to resort to violence all of a sudden, I mean I know we see a glimpse of it in the first book but that’s for a legitimate reason. Then, I feel like there was so much depth and amazingness in the Wolven, like…why not spend time on them? I feel like there was so much that could’ve been replaced that was unnecessary that could’ve had some really cool Wolven stuff in it instead. AND THEN. My god, the end. WHY WHY WHY unleash an ending like that when there’s no precursor to any type of power/magic/being like that. We know Gods exist, magic exists, but like…how HOW does that reveal just happen out of the blue? I don’t understand it, unless I’m missing something completely I feel like Poppy went from 0 – 1000 really quickly.
There was a good amount I enjoyed about this book though. I have to give it to JLA, her writing is just overall great. I love it, I can’t ask for anything better really. It just flows and keeps you hooked. I’ll admit it, I usually read two books at a time, this book was my SOLE FOCUS when I was reading it because I literally couldn’t be bothered with anything else because to me it’d be considered sub-par. Her writing style is just something that HAS TO be mentioned, it can’t be overlooked. THE SMUT SCENES. DEAR LORD. – do I need to say any more? I literally was blushing by the end of some scenes, my goodness. And I love Casteel and Poppy, they’ve quickly become one of my favorite couples. They remind me a lot of Jude and Cardan from the Folk of the Air trilogy. Which I also loved.
I just think overall, yes it was entertaining but there was a lot that could be worked on. For a 600+ page book, I felt like there was a lot of dead air, in a sense. So hopefully the next book will be better, because I’m still excited to read it!