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Blood and Ash #2

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire

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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.

637 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 1, 2020

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About the author

Jennifer L. Armentrout

130 books116k followers
Hey Guys! Please note: I don't send out ARCs for review. If you're interested in reviewing a book of mine before release date, please contact the appropriate publisher. I also do NOT check my Goodreads email.

To email me, please use the below addy.

# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Charles Town, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. In early 2015, Jennifer was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and death of cells in the retina, eventually resulting in loss of vision, among other complications. Due to this diagnosis, educating people on the varying degrees of blindness has become of passion of hers, right alongside writing, which she plans to do as long as she can.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Tor, HarperCollins Avon and William Morrow, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her Wicked Series has been optioned by PassionFlix. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. Her adult romantic suspense novel TILL DEATH was a Amazon Editor’s Pick and iBook Book of the Month. Her young adult contemporary THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER is a 2017 RITA Award Winner in Young Adult Fiction. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

She is the owner of ApollyCon and The Origin Event, the successful annual events that features over hundred bestselling authors in Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult Fiction, panels, parties, and more.

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5 stars
170,951 (58%)
4 stars
79,815 (27%)
3 stars
28,981 (9%)
2 stars
8,238 (2%)
1 star
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 25,312 reviews
Profile Image for She-who-must-not-be-named .
180 reviews1,185 followers
February 17, 2022
There, I said it.

The Book Gods have finally listened to my prayers and combined the ingredients of intriguing premise, ultra powerful protagonists, amazing secondary characters, captivating world and not to forget- delicious, tantalizing romance and poof - A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire was born- One that will woo you into its clutches and make your heart thrum at a faster rhythm in your chest, one that will make you smile like an idiot at one moment and leave you with countless tears the next, again plastering your face with a permanent grin owing to the very entertaining banter between characters. This book will bring out all your emotions.

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire begins with a compelling start and advances with more action, world-building and steamy romance. The writing was crafted beautifully and the visuals were lovely to read about.

There are so many endearing aspects but one aspect is and will remain constant.

SPOILERS FOR From Blood and Ash, even in the comments' section

Hawke Flynn

My heart, my world 💙. My obsession with him is quite simple. He laughs, I laugh. He is furious, I'm furious, he cries, I cry. He is breathtaking and intoxicating and all the other good adjectives I can come up with. He might have a lot of blood on his hands, but his gentility, intensity and soft-heart, especially where Poppy was concerned touched the fan girl in me.

"I have a lot of blood on my hands, Poppy. Sometimes, so much that I don’t think they’ll ever be clean. So much that I. don’t know if I ever want them to be."

Whatever Poppy believed to be true was a lie. Watching her come to terms with all of it made my heart swell. She is the character that you will always respect and look up to. She is brave, valiant and fearless and her obsession with sharp objects and stabbing is something I'll never understand 😂

‎The best secondary character ever. His bond with Casteel warms me and his budding friendship with Poppy is raw and natural. He may be gruff on the outside, but he's a total sweetheart from within and I love him.

Casteel and Poppy's romance is not something I can get over, ever.
Their pretenses, their conversations, her retorts and his inappropriate behavior in the most inappropriate of times delights me. But their intensity, protective nature, and their readiness to sacrifice their lives for one another goes beyond physical and ignites my soul.
For the most part, I was ANNOYED at how oblivious they were to each other's feelings.

*Casteel melts Poppy with the intensity of his gaze* and yet
Casteel : I don't have feelings for her.
*Ignores all important discussions about his kingdom just to make sure Poppy's had cheese*
Casteel: I'm just using her to get my brother back, what are you saying-
*Threatens to kill someone for eyeing Poppy and actually kills someone for being mean to her* AND *talks smut all the time and says "I want you, Poppy" at least a hundred times* and yet
Casteel: I don't feel any-
Me: Yep.

I could practically feel steam coming off of my ears and when they finally confessed, I could feel myself breathe again. JLA sure as hell played us!

There were so many obstacles, frightening, hungry creatures, violence, ‎betrayal and horrific truths, but the pages of the book also brimmed with trust, love and warmth .

It takes a lot of effort and talent for an author to make readers gasp, fangirl, set their soul on fire, sick to their stomach and make them close their eyes and pray that things don't become utterly chaotic.

I've only read two books of Jennifer L. Armentrout but I respect her for blindsiding me like that, for keeping me on my toes, barreling my way through the twists and turns of the book whilst also pleading with anticipation.
Huge respect.

I don't care who you are, but if you have a thing for sexy, addictive fantasies, then look no further. There's no way this book won't appease you.
Profile Image for Sofia.
258 reviews6,463 followers
December 4, 2021
If I wanted to learn how to walk, I would ask WikiHow.

Ah, how I’ve missed Poppy Ballfoyer and Mr. Golden Violates Consent. In this book, they revisit some of their favorite skills—talking about nothing, insisting the other is lying, and fawning over eyeballs.

My heart stammered as my eyes locked onto his, orbs a shade of stunning, cool amber.

“I’m doing that because I like lying on top of you.”
“Well, I don’t,” I bit out.
“That’s a lie.”

Kingdom of Flesh and Fire is basically 2000s YA paranormal Wattpad fiction.

How do I summarize the plot when there is no plot? I can’t believe it took an entire book for Poppy to get from Solis to Atlantia. A whole book. A 637-page book. Nothing happened. No character development, no action. Just Casteel and Poppy pretending to hate each other but then kissing every other page.

He smiled up at me, his eyes twin golden flames.

The world’s Twilight phase is finally dying, right? Don’t worry, Twihards. When the world needed Twilight the most, JLA appeared. She’ll save you with her buff vampires and buff werewolves and the biting of lips.

Casteel watched me sleep? Wait.

”That’s creepy,” I murmured. “The watching me while I sleep part.”

She also stole from ACOTAR (uh, like everything: mates, Atlantians, the characters’ personalities) and Shadowhunters (parabatai). Nothing—and I mean nothing—about this book is original.

It turned his eyes from cool amber to warm honey.

The worldbuilding is still just names of real places with a letter changed. Is this trying to be subtle? What’s the difference between a Craven and a vampry? Nobody knows. The language in this book is confusing, as well. It’s a fantasy book, but words like yeah, okay, weird, hey, sucks, lemonade, weirds me out, nope, and wanna are used.

The golden hue of his irises had chilled.

“Casteel Hawkethrone Da’Neer.”
*chokes on my cocoa*

Even Rhysand It’s Your Choice But Not Really is better than Casteel. He’s seriously asking Poppy to marry him after forbidding her from leaving the house? And then he honestly believes he’s giving her a choice? He essentially says she’ll die if she doesn’t marry him. He keeps avoiding the question and ignoring her protests and basically forcing her into marriage. Is this a horror novel?

“It’s official,” Casteel said. “I’m going to have to kill him.”
“What? Why?”
“I don’t like the way he looks at you.”
“How does he look at me?”
“He looks at you like I do.”

Not Casteel pinning her to the bed and not letting go when she asks him to repeatedly. Not him killing someone for no reason and Poppy forgiving him because sHe BeTrAyEd yOu (fOr SoMeThiNg MiNiScULe) So It’S oKaY.

The intensity in those amber eyes held me captive.

Poppy and Casteel have this game they like to play called Pretend.
No, they are not toddlers.
Yes, they are adults. Mature adults? Debatable. But adults nonetheless.

They yell at each other and then Poppy asks, “Can we play pretend?” Then they suddenly tolerate each other enough to get married. Communication at its finest.

Speaking of communication, the queen of abusing ellipses and commas has returned! And she’s better than ever 😍

“Are you… well?” I asked. “The wound appears...quite fierce.”
“It is a very...fierce wound.”

A fawn-colored one that reminded me of Kieran but smaller, limped backward away from a knight.

Does anyone actually proofread this?

Of course, there has to be an infodump machine by the name of Alastir. He’s there to conveniently fill Poppy in on everything she doesn’t know. I wish I had an Alastir to tell me how to fix my life.

I twisted toward him, ignoring the jump in my pulse as heavy, hooded, amber eyes met mine.

Poppy’s powers are random. She can do anything and there are no limits. Just whatever is convenient at the time. She was chosen because the gods “found her speshul.” Her power is a total plot convenience. Someone needs to be saved? Whoa, she has another power. She needs to get out of trouble? Whoa, she has another power.

Casteel’s eyes were like warm pools of gold.

0.0001 dArK sPiCe AnD PiNe stars; but why is there only one female character.


I can't believe it took Poppy 637 pages to travel from one place to another.
They weren't even that far away.
This book was a waste of time. I can feel my brain cells slipping away.

Review to come...
Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
477 reviews38.1k followers
April 15, 2021

i cringed so hard from reading this that my face broke.

THIS WAS 70% TRAVELING AND TALKING AND CRINGING, 15% BITING AND BONING AND HEAVING, AND 5% ACTUAL PLOT— im fucking seeethingggggasdn234asdnaslknf oiqhfoifl!!!!!!!!
ISTG, Casteel's whole personality is smelling like dark lush spicy spice, pine, and citrus. Aside from smelling like a fruit, I guess he can only taste fruit honeydew too.

This has a higher rating than the first- y'all need to chilllll.

(if i pass away it's because this book fucking killed me).


i talked about this shit here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAg98...

Twitter | Bookstagram | Youtube |
Profile Image for Laura Thalassa.
Author 37 books16.7k followers
September 1, 2020

How is this better than the first book?

Guys, Jennifer Armentrout used straight up witchcraft to write this novel. That’s got to be her secret because I didn’t think she could top From Blood and Ash, but she did!

Okay, not going to spoil anything, though the book's final revelation had me FREAKING OUT. And now comes the heartbreaking part—settling in for the wait until the next book.

Seriously, this series is my top of 2020!!! Highly, HIGHLY recommend!


*SCREAMING* I'm so friggin' excited for this.




For those of you who haven't heard me shrieking about this series, it's my newest obsession. Like legitimately it just made my Monday feel like a Friday, and that's basically witchcraft. So.

Also, the BLURB. The motherf*cking blurb!

Can't. Freaking. WAIT.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,534 reviews32.5k followers
March 14, 2022
i reread this entire thing for the last scene alone.
cas on his knees, bowing, is the thing fantasies are made of.


this series is the best thing JLA has ever written and is singlehandedly saving me from the disastrous year that is 2020.

5 stars
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,828 reviews29k followers
March 23, 2021
2 Stars

***Unpopular Opinion***

Le sigh. I know I'm very much in the minority here, so keep that in mind; but off we go...

Honestly, I feel like I could just rubber stamp this with a copy/paste of my review of book one, but I will will endeavor to sally forth some minimal effort.

Well, okay, maybe some copy/pasting.
In my review for book one I said:

I feel like Jennifer L. Armentrout (JLA) saw the success of Twilight, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Throne of Glass, and Shadow and Bone and said...


Because this book felt like a mashup of all of those series. Especially ACoTAR...for real though.

And I still feel that way.

I also said:

....holy boredom, Batman. The first 67%+ of this thing was so tedious. SO tedious. It's not so much that I hated it or anything, but more just, well...


I feel like JLA could have achieved exactly what she achieved in the first 67% with about half the page count...Things finally started to pick up around 75% and I was happy as a clam by a solid 80% - which is the only reason I rated this thing above 2 stars, actually.

I still feel that way as well...with the caveat that I was halfway bored until approximately 80%+ this time.

Seriously though, people, borderline nothing happened in this book for a righteously solid chunk except an endless wallow through Poppy's thoughts. And if we weren't in her thoughts, we were listening to dialogue through which she basically repeated all the thoughts we just read about. There's a word for that, which I will "think" and "speak" simultaneously, you know, to save you the time I lost: redundant.

When we weren't meandering through Poppy's redundant thoughts and dialogue, we were seemingly wandering aimlessly throughout the countryside and low-key mooning over each other while throwing tired witty verbal barbs like confetti at a surprise party.


Also, at least a solid 30% of the book was any one of the following scenarios:

-Poppy thinking about stabbing someone.
-Poppy talking about stabbing someone.
-Someone else talking about Poppy possibly thinking or talking about stabbing someone.
-Poppy stabbing someone.

-Poppy saying, "I have a lot of questions."
-Someone else following that up with, "Of course, you do."
-Other characters saying, "I have questions."
-Poppy asking a ton of questions. About things we already read her thinking about or talking about.

On fucking repeat.

Very little happened in this book plot-wise until almost the very end. There was just so much chaff that could have been trimmed, so much aimless meandering through redundant everything: narrative, dialogue, even the characters. They all feel very interchangeable. With no development. And don't even get me started on how immature and clueless a lot of these seemingly centuries-old characters act and just feel on the page.

Thank God for Kieran, though (the only character with half a personality) and the somewhat exciting ending, or I would have given this one star. In fact, it's only because of the ending that I will even consider continuing with this series. I must admit I am curious what will happen.

But only then because I am going to wait to get book three from the library (like I waited for this one). Honestly, I just couldn't be bothered to actually spend the money finishing this otherwise.

Edited to add: For those wondering...if I do read book three and dislike it, I won't rate it. That wouldn't be fair and I'm not here to hate read just for a trash review.

My review for book one for those interested: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Profile Image for Nicole.
731 reviews1,832 followers
May 4, 2021
Was this fun?
Do I want to read the sequel ASAP?
Oh yes.
Was it perfect?
Not by a long shot.

I just finished reading this book and I’m thinking I read over 500 pages and what progress has been made since the total kickass From Blood and Ash? Not much. However, I read it fairly quickly and wasn’t bored at all. Nonetheless, it doesn't deserve 4 stars because it had its share of flaws. While they did not affect my enjoyment –most of the time- they certainly made me lower my rating.

Sadly, I can't discuss this book without any spoilers for the first one.

I’ll simply make a list of the pros and cons. I'm feeling too lazy to write comprehensible paragraphs.

Cons: this won’t be a short list but I want to say that I liked this book in spite of these and I grew fond of the characters a lot.

Poppy’s violence. Oh, Poppy is so violent. It was so forced. She spent the whole book wanting to stab Cas or Kieran. And Cas saying he’s turned on by that. And it went on and on. Most characters –who don’t hate her- talk about her violence. Ok. We got it. Enough already.
Poppy’s questions.she's special because of this.
Poppy and Cas fighting their attraction. Not discussing their relationship. Cas taking too much time to explain his reasons for wanting to marry her –which of course was going to drive her crazy. ¼ of the book was spent on those two bickering or kissing. This isn't slow burn anymore this nonsense. Also, some adjectives were used too many times like “indecent” “intriguing” especially when JLA was trying for dirty talk between our MCs.
Another ¼ was spent on Poppy’s inner monologues. Which led to nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. Not ashamed to say I skimmed through those parts.
Barely any major event happened we only had one minor event which promoted for the second big major event and then the last few pages. Yes, I enjoyed it anyway but when I finished the book and looked back, I realized the summary would be rather short for this amount of pages.
Poppy being all so special with special abilities, I’m sure this will be explained later but I felt that this book became too fantastical? Sure it is fantasy but the first book did not set up the world-building for this level of fantasy. Almost like whatever cool idea occurred to JLA she squeezed somewhere without giving much explanation.
✏ I thought I was missing something but I read some other reviews that shared my opinion. We still had info-dumping. In a second book. I was confused a few times but lacked the energy to find what I’m missing so I carried on.
✏ This book going to erotica books kind of places, sure I do appreciate some scenes but the Joining? Euh...

What I liked: which I’ll keep brief because of the 4.7 rating avg, most reviews are raving about this book.

✏ I genuinely love Poppy and Casteel, even though they do not communicate enough in my opinion, not nearly enough, I like them as individuals.
✏ I also enjoyed the secondary set of characters, especially the wolven. Kieran, Netta, Jasper, etc. But I only wish we had less dialogue about Poppy's personality. Or simply fewer pages so the events that took place can be seen as more significant.
✏ I’m very curious about how this story is going to continue, I can only guess part of it but because I wasn’t paying attention to all the info shower, I missed some stuff, so yeah no idea what is going to happen now but I am waiting for some heck of an explanation. A logical explanation might I add.
✏ Did I mention the fun? I think I did but I need to emphasize how much I enjoyed reading this book (with its outdated title). It took me 7 days to finish because it was a very busy week but I was reading in most of my limited free time. Which is mostly before sleep. Which means I had to struggle to stop reading. I ended up sleeping after 2 am on workdays.

Shortly, the strength of this book lays in its addicting quality and its characters even if their interactions weren’t the best all the time. If you enjoyed the first book, you’ll also enjoy this one too, although you most likely won't find it as good.
Profile Image for jaz.
233 reviews106 followers
November 2, 2020
cw: mentions of torture, (stabbing, sex, stabbing, sex and more sex)

oh boy do i have a lot to say.

i wish i had a knife to stab both the mcs in the heart. repeatedly. for days. and then stab cas some more when he, inevitably, tells me that that turns him on.

im proud to be the 17th person to rate this 1 star. i mean im worried about yall's standards, but im proud of my rating.

all the reviews saying this is better than the first book are driving me insane considering how the pace here is so. much. slower. it dragged out for ageeeees. i can't believe im finally FREE

the 1st book is full of action and plot twists, this one has *checks notes* poppy stabbing cas, him being turned on by that and *checks notes again* oh yeah nothing else. im so frustrated. with the foundation the ending of from ash and blood layed for this sequel it could have been so good. so good. i mean enemies with benefits? fake marriage? villain/mc romance? all in one? jla said why choose tropes if i can do it all.

but here's the thing, this book fucking sucks. bc while it's an interesting dynamic it gets tiring after a few hundred pages. she's a badass who likes to stab people. he's turned on by violent women. got that. you don't need to mention these things every chapter. the author should have trusted the reader's intelligence instead of using repetitive prose to reinforce the characters' archetype. subtext is your friend, why are you so scared to use it?

plus absolutely nothing happens for 600 pages. all we have is the romance which gets boring quickly because it feels like their interactions are the exact same and you're just reading different variations of the same scene over and over. they fight, she stabs or threatens to stab him, they fuck, the end.

are you tired of me mentioning the word stab and sex yet? does it feel like im repeating myself? does it feel like a waste of your fucking time?

and look their dynamic is fun but when nothing else happens and thats all we have to sustain the story? not so much. i loved them at the begining, but i cannot stand them now.

they spend almost 300 pages in the same location and then even when SOMETHING happens in the last 100 pages they...fuck. in the middle of a war. yep. of course. might as well. GET A FUCKING THERAPIST OH MY GOOOOOOOD. take a sit sarah j maas.

this dynamic and trope is everything to me. everything. its my number 1 trope i love it to death. im honestly impressed this author managed to make me hate this so much. like that took effort of jla's part. it truly did. i applaud it.

im gonna need a good villain/mc romance now to get over my frustration over my unmet wishes. or not read this dynamic for a very long time unless i know the writer knows what they're doing.

anyway i hate this fucking book fuck this book FUCK THIS BOOK
Profile Image for Brittni Kristine.
179 reviews113 followers
March 5, 2021
Things I never want to read again:
1. “You intrigue me.”
2. Any sentence that involves the word princess.
3. “I’m going to stab you.”
4. “There’s seriously something wrong with you.”
5. ANYmore questions from Poppy, who seems to only speak when asking questions and making stab threats.

Things I DO want:
The damn threesome scene, and it’s the only reason I’ll be reading the third book.
Profile Image for Maryam Rz..
220 reviews2,650 followers
April 25, 2021
(4.5 ★’s)

If you value your sanity, don’t read this book unless you also hold the sequel—but if you’re my friend, you probably never valued your sanity anyways. So allow me to give you a breakdown of what is currently going on in my obsessed brain:

✦ Am I too biased to even attempt to rate this objectively? Definitely.
✦ Isn’t the rating ultimately about my thoughts and emotions and, besides, can’t it be said that if the issues did not obscure my enjoyment then they don’t truly matter to me anyhow? I believe so, yes.
✦ And did I love this? Love? I am dead.
✦ Did that love have everything to do with the romance and characters which are, in the end, the entire point of this paranormal-fantasy romance? Undoubtedly.
✦ Were the characters and romance everything I, the aromantic dark-loving I, look for when picking up romance? Unequivocally
✦ Are they particularly healthy? Not really.
✦ Do I care? Not even a little bit.
✦ Will you now be assaulted with me “level-headedly” gushing over this romance and trying to explain why it’s so special to me? You got it. *winky wink*

To put it simply: if you, like me, crave from time to time a disarmingly seductive and feral new adult romance of enemies to lovers in an engagement of convenience, overflowing with deliciously addictive drama, delightfully humourous banter, easy-to-love side characters, and wickedly creative steam, a recurring theme of real or play-pretend deftly woven throughout its every thread, and want it to be unique and make you feel and cheer and bleed, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire will provide even better than its predecessor, with a young woman who will never again be a passive pawn, a prince who is more mad than man, and a war of love where neither side is afraid to fight to steal a heart and keep their own.

“Beauty, my sweet child, is often broken and barbed, and always unexpected.”

I’ll admit, this series feels like a mix of so many pieces plucked from other bestsellers, namely Twilight and A Court of Mist and Fury, except it’s somehow not a bad reminder because the pieces are turned on their heads. Where Twilight had a problematically romanticised dynamic of a cat and a mouse, AKoFaF has two cats playing chase. Where ACoMaF was too sweetly romantic for me, AKoFaF does it more ferociously. Honestly, what is more captivating than two savage souls tearing into one another, taking pieces and denying that the other holds too many of theirs?

Now to put it not simply:

AKoFaF Vs. FBaA: Fave or Not?

Let’s let get the whining out of the way before I can get to the level-headed gushing. AKoFaF is, technically, better than FBaA. Which is only natural, as the tension is already there, the scale is grander, the world is vaster, it’s even smuttier (and I do not say this lightly because I was murdered), etcetera etcetera, you know how this goes. BUT, while I’m giving both books the same rating, while they are both predictable and I don’t mind, while both are not good at building mysteries in a way that it makes sense before unravelling, FBaA was a fave (an all-time fave) and AKoFaF was not. Why?

What made FBaA iconic is no longer there: It doesn’t matter that the first book was smaller in scale—bigger scale does not automatically equal a better book. And From Blood and Ash did what it did just right, focusing on the iconic dynamic of a secret-warrior Maiden and her shameless flirt of a guard; but AKoFaF did not. With a bigger scale comes a bigger responsibility, and you just can’t take the same approach and unceremoniously dump it into a wholly different type of book. JLA did capture the grandness rather well at the very end, and she evidently stole my heart again. And yet.

Credit: Catherine Crowley

Someone explain to me why people found FBaA to have a slow start and not AKoFaF: With FBaA, being stuck in a keep was understandable and expected; there was no urgency to move from the MC’s home. But in AKoFaF you turn every page waiting for them to get off your asses and move already. And yet they don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I loved all the small drama and the new enemies to lovers romance, but it needed to happen on the move dammit not in a keep no one cares about.

There is no conclusion what the fuck: I’m just gonna go ahead and question my and everyone else’s sanity who thinks this is a complete book. Spoiler alert, it’s not. Or maybe I just misplaced the last chapters where the build up and the mysteries raised through the entire book actually got even a semi answer. My bad. Please move on to my incessant gushing now.

Romance: The Heart & Soul of It All

“You’re beautiful when you’re quiet and somber, but when you laugh? You rival the sunrise over the Skotos Mountains.”

In all the vast, wild world, there are different kinds of relationships; there are cute partners who give each other sweet whispers and kisses, there are steely partners who provide peace in their steady embrace, and then there are playful partners whose very dynamic is a cat and mouse chase. All relationships have a little bit of the three, but yours magnanimously naughty soul gravitates, unsurprisingly, towards the ones with a dominant playful side. That’s why I live for Poppy and Cas.

In all the aforementioned vast, wild world though, there are also different kinds of understanding; when we hear the word, don’t we usually think of sympathy for another’s pain, comradeship in compassion, or acceptance of different beliefs? Well, what about rage or hate? What about understanding one’s vengeance and seeking no sympathy? Understanding is, as a rule, crucial to us living side by side as varied humans, but yours raging truly gravitates, you guessed it, towards the latter the most. That is also why I live for Poppy and Cas.

“Retribution is yours, if you want it,” he said. “And if not, I will be your blade, the thing that ends his miserable existence. It’s your choice.”

Readers keep comparing these two to Feysand from A Court of Mist and Fury and they need to stop. Stop this madness right this moment! Feyre and Rhysand are, as a rule, sweetness seeking people. Yes, they have their playful side, but the core of their relationship is being cute and adorable and romantic and whispering sweet nothings. That doesn’t make them any less of a great couple (I do love them), it just makes them less of a my type of couple. Whereas Poppy and Cas, despite occasionally being romantic and adorable and making declarations of love, operate on a bloodsport-type of dynamic (seriously, Raleigh Ritchie’s song Bloodsport exists for these two no kidding; you can find it on my playlist), baiting, circling one another, looking to draw first blood. It’s a constant, neverending challenge, a game of who will best whom, and it killed me and revived me and dug a den deep into my abandoned heart and no I’m not dramatic you’re dramatic.

Their repeated scenarios of stabbing-threats and pretending-promises aren’t JLA being out of ideas (her banter and, obviously, drop-dead steamy scenes are signs of her creativity), what they are is an accurate, in-character core to their bond, the type of which you’d usually find in well-developed partnerships with too much history. What they are is a cycle: he teases, she brandishes dagger, he in enticed, she is enticed, so he teases, so she brandishes dagger, so he is enticed even more, and you know how it goes. That most likely sounds like a very dysfunctional romance, but to quote Cas, “You can’t spell dysfunctional without fun, now can you?” He wants a fight, she wants a fight, it’s a win-win. And them both being vengeful, ruthless creatures and experiencing a blooming development to embrace the other’s darker side is only a plus. Stop criticising them for not being a sane, boring, logical matching please and thank you.

“By the way, I’m not yours,” I told him. “I don’t belong to anyone but myself. Nothing changes that.”
“What if I just wanted a piece of you? A tiny piece that belonged to me? [...] Tell me what piece of you I can have. It can be any piece of your choosing. Whatever it is, I’ll take it.” His chin grazed my cheek. “It will be my most prized possession.”

Three further points to note in response to criticism of AKoFaF: ❶ the issues and possibly problematic aspects to their dynamic are not glossed over and instead acknowledged, ❷ he is clearly insane, and she wants him not as in the body-betrying kind but the I-want-you-even-as-I-hate-you, I-love-you-even-as-I-shouldn’t, and I-might-be-a-little-insane-too one, there is a difference, and ❸ even as Cas perpetually teases Poppy, he is not dismissing her and laughing at her but in delight of how she is serious about her threats, all because he loves the challenge she is.

Casteel: I Will FiveEver Be Swooning

“That was a temporary loss of sanity.”
“That’s my favorite kind.”

You see, the reason I’m in love with Cas is not because he is devilishly charming, irresistibly handsome, and willfully princely (though that helps), neither is it because he is impossibly insufferable, unbelievably challenging, and endearingly ridiculous (though that came close); it’s because he is an unhinged, vicious, murderous tyrant next to all the above, having gone through horrors, changing, and then carrying out his own horrible acts, effectively earning the title of the Dark One (unlike SOME hero-or-villain supposedly dark YA love interests *cue eye roll*). Casteel is mad, but all the best people are.

Credit: Dominique Wesson

One of the main reasons for why AKoFaF slayed as it did was the delve into Cas’s character, deadly dark side and lonely vulnerable side all unleashed on the reader. I can only beg JLA to not ruin him in the sequel because finding a character I stan this much is rare and scary—too many times have authors chosen to step back from the madness, efficiently breaking my heart of ice. I still bear the bruises.

Poppy: I Agree With Casteel on This One

“Fearing what you’re capable of doesn’t mean I fear you.”

I know Cas has said it enough times but...she is rather violent, isn’t she. I realise that coming at things like a battering ram is not the best strategy (it’s actually one reason why Gryffindors, despite being a huge part of me, annoy me every now and then) but I, to put it simply, adore her. Maybe it’s because I relate to her impulsive randomness, maybe it’s due to how hilarious her living-to-snap way of life is (I would sacrifice anything for a good laugh—even you); or perhaps it’s based on her aching for freedom or how she remains clever and rather wise when she’s not overwhelmed by her emotions; mayhaps it has to do with her deserving the “badass female lead” description, her rashness pointed out as she proceeds to provide me with a queenly character development. I have no idea.

What I do know is that Poppy spent too long trapped in silence as her future was chosen for her, her life discussed around her with only being on the recieving end of an order, and she will no longer wait to be rescued or controlled. I cheered with every breath in and every breath out for her to show them all that, “forcing a warrior to don a veil of submission was never going to last.

Kieran: A Moment of Appreciation, Please

I turned to him. “Were you injured?”
“Would you fret with worry if I was?”
The corners of my lips turned down. No? Yes? “Not particularly.”
“Ouch.” He pressed a hand to his chest. “You wound me yet again.”
“He’s not wounded,” Kieran answered. “At least, not physically. Emotionally, I believe you left him shredded.”

This is naught but a short paragraph of me telling you of how thoroughly my baby Kieran snatched my heart with his semi-bored constant sarcasm, his growing friendship with Poppy rooted in his imparting of wisdom, and his precious bromance with Cas. Move along now.

World Building: Do I Need To Rant Again?

Fortunately for you, the answer is no. Yes, there were still parts of the mythology that were poorly explained (e.g. everything that has to do with the deities and heartmates) but the missing glue creeped between the jumble of picked paranormal slash fantasy elements to turn the mismatched into a successful match, and the world expanded tenfold. So, you won’t hear me complaining. (I realise you just did, but shhhhh, go to sleep.)

Companions: Playlist & Other Reviews & Whatnot

Book series playlist: Spotify URL

Books in series:
The Red Pearl Bonus Scene (Blood and Ash, #0.5) ★★★✯☆
From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash, #1) ★★★★✯
➴ A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash, #2) ★★★★✯
The ​Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood and Ash, #3) ☆☆☆☆☆
Profile Image for ❀ Rose ❀.
303 reviews249 followers
October 29, 2021
2 stars
Okk Judging by all the five star ratings that i’ve been seeing for this book, I’m honestly in the minority here but that’s ok. A lot of things hindered my enjoyment of this book so let me just get into them.

🔹 Overall feelings:
〰 Oh my ever loving God who the hell allowed this book to be this long for no freaking reason? I liked some aspects of it but if you’re going to go into this book please know that this is, in every sense of the word, a filler book... and it shows.

🔹 The pacing:
〰 Here’s the thing, a slow paced book doesn’t normally bother me that much and usually, if the plot is action packed, then I find that I actually prefer slower paced books as they help me have enough time to understand everything that’s happening. However, not only does nothing interesting or of import actually happen in this book, but the author shows you every single second of every single hour of every single day and I just couldn’t help but wonder... why????

🔹 The plot :
〰 Who? What? Where?
When I tell you nothing of import actually happens... I mean it. Since we see every single second of the day, the whole book takes place over the span of what? A week? Maybe two? Mostly they’re on the road and trying to get to Atlantia but they literally only get to the city in the last 10 pages... which is why the only interesting event to happen in this entire book happens in the last 10 pages. And for a 600+ book, I don’t think that’s normal. Had this book been 300 pages shorter, i would have loved it. Hell, had it been 600 pages long but with real dialogue or at least a real plot, I also would have liked it.

The entire plot of this book is:
- Someone gets hurt,
- Poppy heals them,
- Everybody in town sees what she’s doing,
- People are either afraid of her or in awe,
- Someone tells her that she’s amazing,
- Poppy blushes and says that’s she’s not.
I kid you not, that’s the entire plot... kill me. Kill me now.

But the repetitiveness of the plot leads me to my next point...

🔹 The dialogue :
Remember when I said that this book needed to be 300 pages shorter? Yeah, that could have easily happened if the repetitiveness in the dialogue had been dealt with and cut out. I kid you not, when I tell you that you absolutely have to hear about how ‘random’ Poppy’s questions are and how ‘intriguing’ Casteel finds her every.single.chapter. And it’s not like they use different words to describe these things. Oh no, they literally use the words “random” and “intriguing” every time which just made me want to... *combust*.

That’s not the only repetitive thing however. Every single time Poppy meets someone new, they have a discussion about how “violent” she is and how she stabbed Hawke when he betrayed her. This conversation legit happens every couple of chapters and at one point, it’s just like... I get it. I was actually there when it happened so I don’t need to reread the events over and over again. I get that she’s not like other girls , I promise- (thankfully, no one actually uses this phrase in the book so thank God for small mercies I guess).

🔹 The characters:
I still liked him in this installment but some of the things he did just annoyed the living crap out of me. For one, we get that you like Poppy when she’s threatening you. I promise you that we get it. Secondly, the whole miscommunication and not telling your partner how you feel for so long just annoyed me. Finally, that scene at the end with the battle against the duchess and her army... the fact that he and Poppy legit stopped in the middle of the battle to kiss and have a whole ass conversation about how they need to get out (which, don’t even get me started about how he would have left his people to get massacred just to be able to get his wife out) just made me irritated with them... again. Also, are you kidding me with the scene in the duchess’s carriage?!? They’re literally STILL ON THE BATTLEFIELD in the middle of THE FREAKING BATTLE . But oh well, to each their own I guess *shrugs*.

Biggest disappointment in this entire book for me. If you’ve read my review for the first book (which I loved) then you’ll remember that I absolutely ADORED Poppy and that I found her to be one the best female characters that I’ve read in a while because I thought that she was soo well balanced (I explain what I mean by that in my review of the first book). In this book however, it felt like Poppy went from being a three dimensional, well developed character to being someone with one personality trait... which was that she’s violent. Literally. Her threatening to stab or kill someone got old pretty fast and just made me wish that she would show the different facets of her personality just like she did in the first book. That didn’t happen however which left me feeling incredibly disappointed in her character arc.

Side characters :
I liked all of them. I don’t like Alistir but that’s ok since I think that the author actually wants us to be weary of him. Kieran i liked but the whole thing with him and the joining just made me uncomfortable. I would much rather him be an older brother figure to Poppy than anything else to be honest.

🔹 Final thoughts:
〰 I think that this book would have been much much better had we had the chance to see them in Atlantia (the part where Casteel’s parents live). I would have loved to see both main characters deal with the king and queen in this book instead of prolonging the inevitable meeting for so long. Most of this book takes place on the road and that just did not do it for me. Although I enjoyed some aspects of this installment, I think that this is a filler book in every sense of the word. I was also really disappointed when I learned that this was going to be a series instead of a trilogy because that’s usually how and why filler books are created... to prolong the journey for no damn reason instead of just getting to the point.

That said, some things did amuse me and I did like some scenes so I do recommend reading this book if you enjoyed the first one. And since I seem to be in the minority here, then chances are you’re probably going to be enjoying this much more than I did!

Happy reading.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rose_books2/
Profile Image for Lacey (laceybooklovers).
2,019 reviews10.1k followers
September 4, 2020
Ever since I finished From Blood and Ash, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire shot up to the top of my most anticipated sequels of 2020. FBAA is one of my favorite books this year and the ending absolutely killed me. I NEEDED to read more of Poppy, Cas, and this epic fantasy world full of gods, magic, and vampires! Thankfully, this much-awaited sequel did not disappoint. I loved being back with our main characters, who have such great banter and chemistry together, and learning more about this new world Poppy is discovering.

AKOFAF literally picks up right where FBAA left off, with the wildest proposal ever. Poppy is rightfully hurt and angry at Casteel for his lies and betrayal, so their relationship, or what’s left of it, is on thin ice. Now to add in a marriage? It’s crazy – but it just might work. They both have something at stake and will do anything, even marry each other, to reach their goals. And in the midst of this marriage of convenience(!), Poppy also has to deal with being an outsider and despised by the Atlantians for being the former Maiden.

I was expecting a ton of angst and tension after what happened in FBAA and JLA dishes all of that out SO well. I was feeling so much for Poppy and Cas – they don’t want to want each other, but the lust and chemistry that developed while they were Poppy and Hawke is still there and only gets stronger the more time they spend together. JLA nails the push and pull of the romance, the longing, the heartache, and the love. Poppy and Casteel are both fantastic characters and there was never a time I didn’t root for them or want them to get their HEA. And I just gotta say, our vampire prince hero is even hotter this second time around! I loved him as Hawke but he’s way more compelling as Casteel.

We do get much more of the world-building, as expected in a fantasy sequel. There isn’t as much action and the pacing of AKOFAF is definitely slower, as it focuses more on fleshing out this fantasy world and developing Poppy and Cas’s relationship. But one of the things I love about JLA is that her writing is so easy to read. I never felt like there was too much info-dumping and despite how much more detailed and in-depth we get into the Atlantian world, I never felt like I was lost reading it all.

AKOFAF is a fantastic follow-up to one of my favorite reads of the year. Poppy is more of her badass self, the romance is steamyyy (I am HERE for all the hot fantasy romances!), and I just love this world JLA has created so much. If you thought the FBAA ending was awful (in the best way), prepare for AKOFAF’s! The cliffhanger will have you screaming!
Profile Image for Lucie V..
973 reviews1,787 followers
June 13, 2022
Oh. My. God. 😍 This book is even better than the first one.

*Long review ahead, #SorryNotSorry.

✅ Strong main character
✅ Awesome love interest
✅ Amazing secondary characters
✅ Hate/love and a lot of angst
✅ Sexual tension and some sexy moments
✅ Funny and witty banter
✅ Action
✅ Pace and plot
❗️❗️ Kind of cliffhanger
❗️❗️ Trigger warnings: violence, murder, and mention of cannibalism

"I am born of the first kingdom." Casteel's voice carried like the wind and snow, stroking over the knights, who all turned, one by one, to look in his direction. "Created from the blood and ash of all those who fell before me. I have risen to take back what is mine. I'm who you call the Dark One," he said, and chills danced across my skin. "Yes, I have the Maiden, and I'm not giving her back."

So many people told me that the second book was even better than the first one, and I was skeptical because I really enjoyed the first book, but they were right. The action, the love/hate, the angst, the plot twists... I can't find the words to explain how amazing this book is. It is the perfect mix of powerful main characters, great secondary characters (Kieran! 😍), funny banter, action scenes, political intrigue, and a slow-burning (and intense) love/hate relationship with a lot of sexual tension and steamy moments.

"All you have is me. Let me be enough." ❤️

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire picks up right where From Blood and Ash ends. Poppy and Cas have a few relationship issues to work out in this book and even though the steamy scenes and the tension between them are delightful to read, I was so desperate for them to realize that the other loved them back. It created a weird mix of excitement and frustration, but it made the book so enjoyable. Their game of pretending, their conversations, and Cas's inappropriate behavior delighted me, and their intensity and protectiveness made me feel weak in the knees a few times. I love them so much (I would let Casteel do whatever he wants to me, and I would thank him for it).

Honestly, for a book that’s over 600 pages, the plot does not progress that much, but I don’t care. At all. Because the interactions between the characters are so funny, cute, angsty, and heartwarming at the same time. Because Poppy showed everyone once again that she is a strong badass fighter and that she is not a meek and demure maiden waiting to be saved. Because Kieran is an awesome secondary character and I enjoyed every single interaction he had with Poppy. Because there is action, and fighting, and because this is an AMAZING BOOK.

“He was the first thing I’d ever truly chosen for myself.
I chose him because he made me feel like I was something other than the Maiden, and he saw me when no one else ever really did. He made me feel alive. He valued me for who I am and didn’t try to control me.”

Poppy just realized that all she believed to be true about her kingdom, about the Atlantians, and about Hawke are lies, and she now has to come to terms with this stinging betrayal. She is hurt, confused, and angry (and stabby), and I loved how she remained strong through all of it, and also how she held onto her anger. She did not forgive Cas after 2 hours just because he apologized and showed his dimple. Poppy is brave and fearless at times, and her obsession with sharp objects and stabbing has become a running gag in the book, but it really made me laugh.

"He has done things some might find unforgivable. Things that would haunt your sleep and leave you with nightmares long after you wake. He may hate being called the Dark One, but he has earned that name.’’ Kieran’s pale eyes meet mine as a shiver curled its way down my spine. "But he’s the one thing in all the kingdoms that you, and only you, never have to fear."

Cas is trying to find a way to protect Poppy, and what better way to do it than keeping her at his side as his soon-to-be wife. The relationship between Cas and poppy becomes more intense and even more complicated the longer they spend together. There is action, fights (verbal and physical), and sexy hot scenes, and I honestly couldn't put it down. I. Love. Casteel. Cas is as amazingly awesome as he was in the first book. He is funny, sexy, caring, intoxicating, and so many more adjectives that I can't come up with at the moment (I might be a little obsessed).

“Make me feel incompetent and kill more than me, Princess.”

That. 🖤
That one sentence shows how proud he is of the fact that she can defend herself, doesn't think she needs him to save her or protect her, and how he likes her fierce and violent side. 🖤

We were only pretending.
But this felt so very real.

"Only on one condition," I said.
"You have a condition now?"
I nodded, my heart thundering. "I don't want to pretend," I whispered. "I'm Poppy and you're Casteel, and this is real. Can you agree to that?"
His eyes drifted shut for a heartbeat, all the striking lines of his face were tense. "Always," he whispered. "Yes."

One thing that I truly ADORED in this book is the angst. I love it when there is angst in a relationship before the characters get their HEA (and I really hope they will get it). Poppy is slowly realizing that she fell in love with Hawke and with Cas, even though she tried to hate him. She is also convinced that he doesn’t really care about her, he just wants her to be in good health so he can use her to get his brother back. So here she is, stuck in this place with the man she loves, and she “knows” he does not love her back, but at the same time he is being sweet and charming and sexy so it hurts her even more because she falls in love a little more every day. Obviously, Cas is in love with her, but she’s oblivious to it, and he is also making a good job of hiding it behind his “Dark One” mask and careless smiles. The last 25% were so full of conflicted feelings and angst and I REALLY like that!

"I wasn't rocking that much!" I denied, wiggling to put space between us.
"I wouldn't advise that,' he said, voice gruff as his arm tightened.
"Squirm a few more inches lower, and I'm sure you'll find out."

The sexual tension between Poppy and Casteel is *chef’s kiss*. They have 0 skills when it comes to clearly communicate with each other, but when it comes to hot and steamy moments charged with sexual tension, lust, and desire, they are 10/10.

Wanting to know how these people knew what Kieran and Casteel were, I twisted at the waist.
“You’re naked!”
“I am,” Kieran replied.
And he was.

‎Kieran is one of the best secondary characters ever. His deep bond with Casteel is amazing and his shy and budding friendship with Poppy makes me want to see more of him in the next book (I also have to say that that one scene with Cas, Poppy, and Kieran made me realize that I would not be against some sexy moments between the three of them 🔥🔥🔥). I really love him. Delano is also a secondary character that I grew to love very much. He is less present in the book, but he made me smile too with his little comments about Poppy and Casteel, and he is one of the only Wolven who respected Poppy from the start and gave her a chance instead of immediately disliking her for her association with the Ascended.

"Please don't fight atop the horse," Delano called out. "None of us wish to watch Setti trample either of you."
"Speak for yourself," came Kieran's droll voice.
Casteel straightened "Don't worry. Neither of us will fall. It was just a love tap."
"That did not look like a love tap," Naill commented.
"That's because it was a very passionate one," Casteel replied.
"You're about to get a love tap to your face."

"It turns me on when you're armed with something sharp."
"There is something entirely wrong with you."
He came around to my front. "But you like what's wrong with me."

I love their snark and witty banter. Especially now that there is anger and angst mixed into it. The running gag of Poppy being violent and stabbing everyone was also funny and I adored how Kieran mastered the art of being sarcastic while appearing bored and emotionless. His interactions with Poppy always made me smile either because he was so obviously exasperated by her (but still like her way down deep inside), or because he was defending Cas and he was being so loyal to him.

The man was suddenly lifted up and tossed aside like he was nothing more than a bag of small rocks. I had no idea where he landed. All I could do was stare at Casteel.
He stood above me, his face splattered with dots of red.
“You’re bleeding.”
“You have three arrows sticking out of you.”
“You’ve been injured. Where?” He knelt beside me, ignoring my somewhat unnecessary observation.
“I’m fine.” I sat up, my eyes glued the arrow jutting from his stomach as I sheathed my dagger. “Does it hurt?”
“The arrows.” I paused as he grasped my left arm, pushing the cloak aside. “The arrows that are sticking out of your body.”

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire is full of action, violence, betrayal, twists and turns, and horrible truths, but it is also filled with fierce love and friendship, and perfect and delightfully intense sexy moments. This book is a rollercoaster of emotions. I laughed out loud many times, I was at the edge of my seat for most of the book and now that it is over I feel like crying because the final revelation with the cliffhanger ending is KILLING me.

“I don’t want to pretend,” I whispered. “I’m Poppy and you’re Casteel, and this is real.”
😭 I love them. 🖤

Also, I have to say that I do not trust Alastir, I am sure he was the man talking to Poppy's father the night they were attacked... And even if he's not, I don't trust him and I don't like him.

First artwork by Dominique Wesson, third artwork by Ellieoo

From Blood and Ash ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Profile Image for Phuong ✯.
617 reviews5,101 followers
March 21, 2021
reread march 2021: preparation for The ​Crown of Gilded Bones

Beautiful Mistakes – Maroon 5 ft. Megan Thee Stallion

original rating: 4.25 stars
new rating (1st reread): 4 stars

Blood and Ash drinking game:

take a shot every time Poppy wants to stab Cas or when Cas says something along the line of how incredibly violent Poppy is and how it turns him on.
we'd be all dead by the end of this book. 🙃

✯¸.•´*¨`*•✿ ✿•*`¨*`•.¸✯

Update: I'm obsessed with the Blood and Ash fanart and need to share another one!

Credit: Clever Crow

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire is the sequel in the From Blood and Ash series and starts right where the first book left off. It will answers some of the questions, but to no one's surprise will also leave you with a lot of questions and theories thanks to the mean cliffhanger. 

Atlantia rose from blood and ash. We are no longer a fallen kindom. Not by any sense of the world. We haven't been for a very long time. We are a kindom of fire.

I was kind of afraid to start this book, because I thought I would be confused. I've read Book 1, From Blood & Ash this year and it should be fresh on my mind, but it's not, cause I've read a lot of other books since then and some details are kinda fuzzy. If you're like me and too lazy/don't have time/or for whatever reason to reread From Blood & Ash, let me assure you: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire gives a good summary or rather brings up important plotpoints that will remind you of the previous book. 
What turned out surprisingly  well was the pacing. While it took me a while to get into the first book due to all the world building, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire was better paced from the beginning til the end. It had a good balance of actions, fight scenes, dialogue, world building etc. Not to say that there weren't parts that were dragging, but it was way easier to get into the story. 

Feelings were not stagnant. Neither were opinions or beliefs, and if we stopped believing people were capable of change, then the world might as well be left to burn.

I'd love to tell you something about the plot but I'm shit with plot summaries so I'm just going to ramble about the characters and the romance, cause let's be honest that's what I'm most interested in. 

↳ ✧  Penellaphe 'Poppy' Balfour  ✧
Poppy is a badass character, but then all females in fantasy series seem to be super badass. It's nothing special and it's not like it hasn't been done before. It's sounds very negative, but I don't mean it in a bad way. It is what it is and that's okay. Despite that trope being overused I still love Poppy so much. Poppy is the girl that has been hidden from the world since her birth, groomed by the society and the queen she lived in to behave, be quiet and do what she's told.
AKOFAF is the continuance of her character development into the real Poppy. The character development was so good. In this book Poppy learns a lot more about her powers that are evolving and her role in all of it. Let's not start about her abilities with a knife, sword or bow. We stan a  ✧ queen ✧ or should I say ✧ princess ✧  who can cut up her enemies like a fine steak. 🔪
“I bet you’re one of those wolven bitches. Hear they like their women all cut up.” He made a calling sound, one used to summon a dog, and my grip tightened. “Tell me, girl. What kind of bitch are you?” He lifted the club again, and I made my move. Shooting forward, I slipped under his arm and grabbed the dirty tunic. Thrusting the dagger up, I used every ounce of strength I had to drive it deep under his chin. “I’m this kind of bitch,” I growled. The muscles under the mask pieced together by human flesh went lax as I jerked the knife free.

It will be interesting to see how Poppy is going to deal with what happened at the end.  
↳ ✧  Casteel 'Hawke'thorne Da'Neer  ✧
I love you and I will love you until the end of time. 
Casteel also known as Hawke in From Blood and Ash, but I'm going to just call him Cas because I like that name better lol. 

Cas has built a name for himself as the 'Dark One' but honestly the only dark thing about him is his hair. Otherwise he is ✧ babyyy ✧ He is a tortured soul that is still dealing with his past. Cas is putting on his charm infront of his people and trying to so hard to be enough without knowing that he is enough. 
Everything he does, he does it fiercely. The prince of Atlantia does not play when it comes to Poppy. The things he says to her I don't know but it just wants to make me cry. Cas has some swoonworthy things to say i'm telling y'all!! 

"I need to feel your lips on mine." He planted his hands on the carriage wall, caging me in. "I need to feel your breath in my lungs. I need to feel your life inside me. I just need you. It's an ache. This need. Can I have you? All of you?

While Cas background was very wishy-washy in the previous book for a reason, I enjoyed learning more about his past and his family in AKOFAF. I was soaking all the information about what shaped him into the man he is now like sponge in heat. It's giving his character more dimension with rough edges, cause he's more than just a pretty face. 
↳ ✧  Kieran I-forgot-his-last-name  ✧

Jennifer L. Armentrout has the talent to write the best secondary characters. Kieran is no exception. JLA uses the same formula for all of her side characters: sprinkles a bit of sarcasm here, a little arrogance there, insert a definition of loyal and supportive friend and BOOM you'll have JLA side characters. BUT 👏. IT 👏. WORKS 👏. EVERY 👏. TIME 👏. 
Having said that, I looooved what Kieran brought to the story. Kieran and Cas bromance is one of my favorite things in this book. Their bond is so strong and only death can pull them apart. His brother from another mother. Also Poppy and Kieran's growing friendship was hilarious. They reminded me of two siblings who annoy each other daily but also care about them a lot. Honestly their interactions with each other is sooo funny!!
"He is not wounded," Kieran answered. "At least, not physically. Emotinoally, I believe you left him shredded."
I rolled my eyes. "Then why ask if he's okay if he's not hurt?"
Kieran started to reply, but Casteel beat him to it. "He's a worrywart. Constantly fearing that I've been injured or that I've overexerted myself. Wanting to know if I've gotten eight hours of rest and eaten three square meals a day."
"Yeah, that's exactly it," Kieran replied drolly.

I reacted without thought, slamming my elbow into his stomach. Casteel grunted out a curse.
“Please don’t fight atop the horse,” Delano called out from somewhere behind us. “None of us wish to watch Setti trample either of you.”
“Speak for yourself,” came Kieran’s droll voice.
Casteel straightened behind me. “Don’t worry. Neither of us will fall. It was just a love tap.”
“That did not look like a love tap,” Naill commented.
“That’s because it was a very passionate one,” Casteel replied.
“You’re about to get a love tap to your face,” I muttered under my breath. Casteel curled his arm more firmly around my waist as he laughed.

If something happens to Kieran in the next two books, I'm ready to hail fire on y'all. 
↳ ✧  The romance  ✧

"No." His forehead dropped to mine. "There is one mor thing I need. Something that I've needed for days. Weeks. Months. Maybe forever." The bridge of his nose brushed mine. "But I know you won't allow it. Not like this."
The pounding in my chest moved lower. "What…what have you needed for so long?"

Oh my goooddd. THE ANGST guys the angst!!
Fake dating or in this case fake engagement is always bringing a certain level of angst with it and I was here for it. Poppy and Cas having to fake that they are in love infront of everyone is doing things to my heart. The uncertainty for the characters if what was said/done is pretend or real? All the kisses, touches, stares… Give me all the longing!! That really tugged on my heartstrings. 

Poppy and Cas relationship ended on a rocky note in the first book, in this book Poppy starting to learn again that maybe not everything was a lie. Their dynamic is interesting… Poppy's love for sharp objects and Cas' kink to be turned on by it. That's some entertainment right there. While their banter greatly entertained me, sometimes Poppy's stabbing tendencies were repetitively mentioned. It was maybe a bit too much. 
But, the honesty between and Casteel and Poppy is a sight to behold. I mean after a betrayal the only way from there is up. The truth is out. The cards are open. Communication is key and Poppy and Cas do that. Whenever Poppy asked a question no matter how hard hitting it is, Casteel answered her honestly. 

"Always," he whispered in the breath we shared. "Your heart was always safe with me. It always will be. There is nothing I will protect more fiercely or with more devotion, Poppy. Trust in that–in what you feel from me. In me."

These two are so cute together.. So many heart eyes!! 😍😍😍 Casteel and Poppy are slowly making their way into my top JLA couples. #1 is always going to stay Daemon Black and Katy Swartz, because they're ✧ royalty ✧ and no one can change my mind. 
Anyway, i'm excited for what next to come. Hoping for a spring release with how fast JLA is writing *fingers crossed* 

#1 From Blood and Ash - 3.75 stars
#2 A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire - 4 stars
#3 The ​Crown of Gilded Bones - tbr
Profile Image for danerys.
451 reviews217 followers
December 24, 2021
Are yall ready for a rant review? Because I have a lot to say. I have been planning this review pretty much the entire time I’ve been reading this book, it’s the only thing that kept me sane. I... I don’t even know where to start in terms of AKOFAF. AKOFAF. Hmm. That sounds a little familiar. Where have I heard it before? Oh, right. ACOMAF. Those sound suspiciously similar, and if I’m being 100% honest, this is kind of (very much) an ACOTAR rip off. I mean, yeah, the plot and shit isn’t the same, but some scenes and certain dialogue and things like heartmates you can tell are taken right out of that series. JLA must’ve read it right before writing this book lmao. So that was just Complaint #1. Would you like to hear the others?

꧁The Plot꧂

Well.... what plot? What plot, exactly, are we talking about here? Cuz I don’t see shit. Unless you mean info dumps and vague world-building and unnecessary sex scenes in the middle of battle and Casteel talking about Poppy being violent and stabbing people and Poppy being ✨curious✨and ✨nOt LiKE oTHeR GiRLs.✨ If you’re talking about that, then yeah, sure, there’s a plot. But other than that? Nope. Nothing happens. Nothing ever fucking happens, except for at the ending, which I’m starting to think is JLA’s way of making sure people continue reading her shitty series. I said what I said. This entire book is pretty much Poppy and Casteel and Kieran s l o w l y making their way to Atlantia. Of course, they only get there at the very end, and in the meantime, all their is is people talking about how ✨speshul✨ Poppy is, random battles, and Poppy and Casteel having Communication Issues™️ AND cringey dialogue. Let’s not forget about the cringey dialogue. I swear, (and I’ll go back and check,) these characters have the exact same conversation multiple times. And they’re not dialogue you want to be hearing many times, either. Believe me when I say it’s cringey as fuck. It all consists of lines like:
❥“..... intruiging....“ many times from everyone
❥“...so violent and it turns me on...“ from casteel
❥“...poppy...stab someone again...“ from everyone
❥“there’s something wrong with you.“ from poppy
❥“i bet you do.“ from poppy
And many, many more, though I don’t really care to name them all because it makes me want to gouge my eyes out. And I think you guys get the point. As another reviewer said, this is a filler book, and it shows.

꧁The Characters꧂

So, in my review for the first book, I said that I didn’t find poppy annoying or whiny. Well, now I’m taking that back. She is both of those things. Before I get into the specifics, let’s start basic here. Her name is Penellaphe. Penellaphe. What kind of name is that?! I feel bad for her lmao. So yeah, even her name is bad. Ech. Now, for her personality. Oh, wait. What personality? As far as I can tell, the only personality traits Poppy has are being ✨violent✨, wanting to stab people, being ✨cURiOUs✨ and asking questions. Also being sheltered and not knowing anything about anything. So of course she’s going to ask questions. That’s not a personality trait, that’s not something to be praised for. If you have been sheltered your whole life, of course you are going to have questions about things. That’s just common sense. Casteel and Kieran and everyone else act like Poppy’s so ✨sPEshUL✨ and ✨nOt LiKE OtHER giRLS✨ because she asks questions, and honestly it’s fucking annoying. Back to the girl herself. I’m pretty sure she has the exact same thought process about 109 times in this book. Maybe more. The point is, it gets us absolutely nowhere. At the end of the first book, she admits that she is in love with Casteel. Halfway through this book, she comes to the conclusion that she might care for him beyond sexual attraction. W H A T ? I don’t get it. I don’t understand. Haven’t you come to that conclusion 20 million times before? I’m done, you guys. I’m so done.

So, I liked him as Hawke in the first book. I got annoyed with him at the end, because he was making me angry and ✨uncomfy✨, but i just assumed that oh, it’s fine, I’ll just fall in love with him over again in the second book. Well, no. Thats not what happened. If anything, Cas gets even more annoying in this book. All he ever thinks about and all he ever talks about is how amazing Poppy is and how whenever she’s violent it turns him on. Thats his entire personality, right there. Also, the author tries to make him so perfect. She tries to make him treat poppy ✨so well✨, believe in all the right things, and yet also be ✨bad✨ and ✨morally grey.✨ Well, i hate to tell you, JLA, but this is not how you write a good morally grey character. She just makes him confusing. Even poppy admits it at one point in the book, that Casteel is unpredictable and we never know how he’s gonna act. Actually, I disagree with that. I can predict how he is going to act, because he acts the exact same way each time we see him. But, each time we see him, the way he acts is confusing. It doesn’t make any sense, I know, but that’s exactly my point. Casteel doesn’t make any sense. Essentially he’s just an always horny, more annoying, cheap copycat version of Rhys from acotar. Yes, I said what I said.

Yay, I can finally talk about something I actually liked. Someone. I rated this book 1.5 stars, which means there was maybe one thing I liked about the book. Here is that thing. Right here. Kieran. K I E R A N. Yeah, he’s not the most original, and yeah, he’s not the most complex character ever, but he’s the best. He’s just the best, that’s my only explanation. I actually think the main reason for me liking him so much is that he, too, has to put up with Cas and Poppy 24/7. I relate to that. I relate to that a lot. He also just makes every situation better because he’s the only character who’s actually funny, and on occasion he makes fun of the two main characters, which is just the best fucking thing. So yeah. We stan Kieran in this house, and that’s about it.

(Yes, there were other characters, but they’re not important enough to mention, so I’m just gong to skip over them and pretend that they don’t exist because I wasn’t paying attention to them anyways.)

꧁The romance꧂

Cas and Poppy:
See, the thing is, I actually liked their romance in the first book. I’ve thought about why I liked it, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it was because of the trust. You cannot have a good, healthy relationship if there is no trust. That was not a problem for the first book. Poppy and Hawke trusted each other just fine. They were cute, they were sweet, there wasn’t really anything wrong with them. And then. And then. Hawke betrayed Poppy and became Casteel, Poppy was angry but still liked him, they had angry sex, blah blah blah. But all that trust that was there before? Gone. The author tries to bring it back in this book, by telling us over and over that Poppy trusts Cas and vice versa, but it just isn’t there. Yeah, they have pretty good sexual tension, and their smut scenes are fine, but other than that? I don’t see much. They can barely even admit that they love each other in their own minds, much less saying it out loud. They’re in constant denial of their feelings, and the whole will-they-won’t-they thing is annoying as fuck. Also, Communication Issues™️. There are so many communication issues it aint even funny. Poppy and Cas can’t tell each other anything. The closest they come to telling each other something along the lines of “I love you” is Cas complimenting Poppy and Poppy blushing and changing the subject. Occasionally there will be some cheesy line from Poppy that doesn’t make much sense, but that’s about it. It’s kinda sad cuz I was rooting for these two in the beginning, but things change ig ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

The Joining:
I feel like y’all would want to know how I felt about this, so I gave it it’s own section. It’s gonna be a pretty short section, but still. So. On one hand, I do think the joining is a little weird and I’m not really sure what the purpose of it is.... for what, JLA? What’s the reason? I don’t really understand, it doesn’t seem necessary to the plot or the character development or even the romance, for that matter. But. On the other hand, I’m all for it, and I’m not really sure why Poppy keeps complaining about it. She gets to sleep with two super-hot guys? (Just ignoring the fact that they’re gonna do some cannibalistic shit too.) She’s lucky asf. Also, we need some more Kieran in our lives. Kieran is the best thing ever, so I think that’s the overwhelming reason why I generally would like the joining to happen. Bring it on lmaooo.

꧁The writing꧂

So it pretty much just tries to be SJM’s writing. Some of the phrases JLA uses are taken right from acomaf, and it’s honestly pretty obvious. The rest of the writing isn’t generally bad; there were some phrases that were good.... but there were most definitely things that were cringey asf, as I’ve said before. Mainly the dialogue, as I’ve also said before. I don’t really want to go over that again though because I don’t want to relive the discomfort lmao. So I don’t really have much else to say, except for that this isn’t a well-written book by a long shot, but I have most definitely read worse. It’s no doubt written better than most Wattpads and fanfics, which I always take as a good sign. That’s about it lmao, I know this is probably the shortest section yet. (What does it say about me that my section on the joining was longer than my section on the writing. 💀)


Okkkk, so that’s pretty much it for my review, I hope y’all enjoyed. Rant reviews are so much fun lmao. Bye now, thanks for reading if you made it all the way to the end that’s impressive asf, now go and read the book that you know you should be reading rn but aren’t. (Ik cuz I do that too ehehe.)
Profile Image for Lia Carstairs.
409 reviews2,191 followers
October 23, 2021
Reread [April 16, 2021]: resisting the urge to read the first 3 chapters of tcogb

Review [Sept. 14, 2020]:
  “I don’t want to pretend,” I whispered. 
“I’m Poppy and you’re Casteel, and this is real.”

Can you hear me crying? That's also real.
This book was too beautiful.🥺

AKOFAF is definitely one of the best books of 2020 imo and my favourite from JLA.
I didn't even think it was possible to love JLA more than I already do, but it is.


How does she do it?!?! Casteel, Poppy, and Kieran have got to be my favourite characters from all of her books. The banter between them all and just....everything.🤧

Awww now I feel like crying even though there's no reason to. JLA is simply just amazing.


A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire picks up literally right after Casteel Da’Neer aka The Dark One aka the Prince of Atlantia aka Hawke Flynn (so many different names) declares to all about his plans to marry the once-Maiden, Poppy Balfour.

Well, you can guess how that went with Poppy...

She definitely wanted to stab someone i would too honestly And so it began: The battle between Poppy & Casteel.🔥⚔️

“I was the Maiden, nearly groomed my entire life to remain pure and focused only on my Ascension. I was Chosen to be given to the gods, even though I never chose the life. I didn’t get to choose what I ate, when I left my chambers, or who was allowed to even touch me."

"But he was the first thing I’d ever truly chosen for myself.”

Poppy has got to be one of my all time favourite MCs. I love this girl so much sdfsfs she's such a strong and witty female protagonist. Finally, after being subjected to a life of no choices and silence, Poppy can now be herself and speak out to those who insult her. And being declared as the fiancé of the Prince of Atlantia—well, of course she's going to have a lot of enemies and hatred directed towards her.

Even so, she speaks her mind and refuses to let anyone put her down or scorn her. Her curiosity also never ceases to amaze me ahaha omg I love that all the questions she asks annoys Kieran endlessly. Their bantering is just too good.
“Do you think he’ll believe us?”

“Yet another question?” Kieran leaned back, crossing his arms. “Seriously? Do you ever get tired of asking so many?”

“Apparently, you don’t, since you just asked three of them.”

And though she used to feel a self-conscious of her scars, now Poppy stands proud and looks straight into peoples' eyes without absolute fear of what they'll think of her. I love this girl sm.

“Somewhere along the way, I no longer saw her as a bargaining chip or a tool for revenge. I saw her for who she was. Who she is—this beautiful, strong, intelligent, endlessly curious and kind woman who was as much a victim of the Ascended as any Atlantians."

"I fell in love with her, probably long before I even realized I had.”

omg how could anyone not fall in love with Casteel?!?! Even after all the lies and betrayals, you could understand where he was coming from. He wanted so badly to save his brother, Malik, from the Ascended and was planning on using Poppy to get to him, but all that changed from the very moment he met her. Instead of going through with that, he completely changed all his plans just to find a way to be with her.🥺 ohmygod I cant-

And then there's Casteel's fierce protectiveness over Poppy. I love how even though he worries and tries to convince Poppy from taking huge risks, he doesn't actually stop her. He respects Poppy's decision and ability to do what is necessary. He's always taking care of her, too.
“Fight me. Argue with me. I won’t stop you. But I will not allow you to put your life in jeopardy."

And don't forget those dimples as Poppy loves to point out.😏

“He was Casteel then just like he’s Hawke now,” Kieran stated quietly, drawing my gaze to him. “And you know that. You just aren’t ready to accept it.”

KIERAN CONTOU, MY LOVE. He's literally like the wingman and barrier between Casteel and Poppy for majority of the book. He had to deal with being in between the heat of Casteel and Poppy's arguments and conversations. You have to admire him for all that ahhh I probably love him the most. He knocked some sense into Poppy, that's for sure.

ahaha and the conversations the 3 of them had omg
“I’m curious,” Casteel said, causing me to jump. I hadn’t even heard him approach. “What are you two discussing that has Poppy looking as if she’s five seconds away from crawling under the table?”

“Nothing,” I said.

“I was just telling her about how you have heightened physical senses,” Kieran answered at the same time as I did. “Like your ability to see better than her, and scent her arousal—”

“Oh, my gods!” I spun on the bench, swinging at Kieran, but he easily avoided my fist.

“I’m sorry.” Kieran didn’t look remotely remorseful. “I meant desire. She doesn’t like the word arousal.”

Poppy hating on the word arousal ahaha I can't. She was so embarrassed omg. Casteel, Poppy, & Kieran are definitely at their best when they're together.😌

And then of course, there were appearances of both new and old characters👀 Some wolven, Atlantian, Descenters, and Ascended. Declan, a wolven, was placed on guard duty a few times and his responses to Poppy demanding to be let out were just too good omg.
“No one wishes to chase you through a snowstorm.”

“I’d rather not be gutted by the Prince, so no.”

“The Prince will return soon.”

My favorite was when I’d said that I just wanted some fresh air. “Nothing personal, but there is literally no way I would trust you enough to crack this door open to allow even an inch of fresh air to enter your chamber.”

Someone's learned their lesson from the last time they were on guard duty with her *wheezing*

Then there's Alastir.... I'm a little conflicted about him hmmm I do love him for being such a kind wolven to Poppy, but certain events have left me wondering some things. Still, he'd only met Poppy yet he was already offering to help her. So kind.🥺
“So, that is why I’m offering you my aid. If you are being forced into this, I will help you escape. I will do everything in my power to ensure safe passage."

"But I will make sure you are somewhere neither the Ascended nor Casteel can ever reach you. All you have to do is tell me, and this will be over for you."

Ohmygod wait--I just realized something. I have a theory ~

I must, before I end this, put in those moments with Poppy threatening the life of others.😌 Mostly just Casteel and Kieran.
He chuckled. “Careful, Kieran,” Casteel murmured, catching my hand before I could swing at Kieran once more. “She’ll be threatening to stab you next.”

The wolven grinned. “I’m pretty sure that’s already happened.”

“I hate you,” I announced. “I hate you both.”

Poppy loves them so much--so sweet🥺
“Obviously, Casteel takes after his father when it comes to women with sharp objects,” Jasper commented with a snort. “I feel like I’m missing some vital information that Delano conveniently left out when he met me halfway.”

I frowned, but at least I knew where Delano had been.
“You stabbed Casteel?” Jasper repeated. “In the heart? With bloodstone. And you thought it would kill him?”

“In my defense, I felt bad afterward.”

“She did cry,” Casteel remarked.

I was going to stab him again.

Poppy's murderous intentions and violence is too funny, especially when she's around others who bear witness to it. I so need more of that.😂👏👏

okay but after that ending the 3rd book has definitely landed into my most anticipated releases for 2021. sdfdsds I can't wait!!! I NEED THE NEXT BOOK NOW. *sobbing*

I just love JLA so much. You can really tell how much her writing has changed from her first few books. Truly just a queen <3

Hopefully, the latest the 3rd book comes out will be spring 2021.

I don't think I can bear waiting a full year or more....
  "From Blood And Ash."
"We Will Rise."

December 11, 2022
God give me fantasy to stop me thinking about the things I cannot change
Imagination, courage, and belief to change the things I can
and wine to know the difference!!!

5 fiery stars for a story that is addictive, explosive and highly imaginative, as we combine political and religious conflicts with cultural and mythological elements to provide the perfect backdrop for a passionate and spicy romance that would rival any romantic novel out there.

Flaming brilliant.

The Plot

Too many threads to explain but the essence of the story is, Poppy had lived her life as a veiled ‘Maiden’ and was deceived into believing she was the chosen one. In the last book she is rescued and kidnapped (yes both) by Hawke, her bodyguard, who at the end of book 1 is revealed as Casteel the Prince of Atlantia.

This is where we pick up book 2 in the series and the continuation of Casteel / Hawke and Poppy’s personal story and a fiery romance full of passion, tension, and also mistrust.

Casteel has kidnapped Poppy to use as a bargaining tool to save his brother and negotiate a peace treaty with the Blood Crown. What he doesn’t foresee is the chemistry building in this passionate, spirited, and fiery relationship with Poppy as they both fall in love. However, like most people in Poppy’s life, Casteel has his secrets and lies to her about his full intentions, his past and his duty which threatens their union as revelations are slowly released through the story, constantly undermining what they thought was ‘real’.

From Spessa’s End to Atlantia, and with the Ascended, Descenters, Craven, Vamprys, and Wolven at play in this power struggle we are taken on a journey to places and within people who are cursed with much emotional baggage, history, and betrayal.

Review and Comments

Heart-warming yet violent, a slow burn romance with such an action-packed storyline, and with similar real-life themes of betrayal, political instability, religious and cultural division yet this is pure fantasy at its best.

Storyline and Plot ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The lingering and constant level of threat in the story was a standout. With so many divisions in the kingdom, danger could have come from anywhere particularly as Poppy was not accepted by Casteel’s people and with so many factions vying for power. The world building was superb, the plot was action packed, unpredictable and adventurous. Just brilliant.

Main Characters ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Incredible character development, particularly with Poppy, but also Casteel, and even Kieran, Vonetta, and Alastair.

Romance ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ this was a romantic fantasy story where the banter, humour and chemistry had me gripped. As far as spice goes this certainly was 🌶️🌶️ without being vulgar, yet it was very physical, which came down to the choice of words the author used. So, hats off to write such hot and saucy scenes without the crude expressions you sometimes find. If I had one complaint it would be the use of cheesy dialogue which I don’t care for – peel it back please.

Addictive, immersive, spicy, adventurous, and fiery. Another 5-star fantasy that provides pure escapism, so let’s make a deal “… that we don’t borrow tomorrow’s problems today” and read a fantasy instead and this my friends is an excellent choice.
December 31, 2021
”I don´t want to pretend. I’m Poppy and you’re Casteel, and this is real”.

No puedo creer que me haya tardado tanto en hacer esta reseña, pero prepárense para mucho fangirleo, Isa perdiendo cualquier sentido de la razón que le quedaba y también Isa deprimiéndose porque estas historias de amor y romance nunca van a suceder en la vida real.

Poco puedo decir sin spoilers, así que sepan que A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire es incluso mejor que From Blood and Ash y que Poppy y Casteel se ganaron un lugar en mi corazón para siempre. Dicho esto, vamos a empezar directamente con la sección que sé que todos están esperando.


1. Pues esto empieza fuerte porque una de las primeras cosas que hace Casteel es arrancarle, LITERALMETE, el corazón a un wolven que osó insultar a Poppy. Apruebo estas vibes de “tócala y te mato”, jajaja.

2. Y luego Casteel diciéndole que no hay ni un lado de ella que no sea tan hermoso como el otro, que se lo había dicho antes y que se lo repite ahora. MUERO. DE. AMOR.

3. En un momento Casteel y Poppy están peleando y él la agarra, los tira al suelo y ella queda encima de él. Y Casteel dice como “uh, esto me recuerda a los establos”. Ajakshdaskjds.

4. Damn, y cuando están allí empiezan a llegar Cravens, entonces CASTEEL LA BESA SIN CONTENERSE COMO CUANDO “ERA HAWKE” y luego le dice que lo deje mal y asesine a más Cravens que él. No saben cuánto amo que él confíe en sus habilidades y nunca la subestime.

5. LOL, amé el momento en el que Poppy se da cuenta de que va a compartir habitación con Casteel y es como “oh, esto es inapropiado, no quiero” y yo sólo pensaba: MUJER, YA HA VISTO TODO LO QUE TIENE QUE VER DE TI, DORMIR A SU LADO ES LO DE MENOS. Aunque una gran tentación, eso sí.

6. ¡Ah! Y es que, además, Poppy lo mira cuando él sale de la bañera y es como: OMG, SÓLO TIENE UNA TOALLA QUE ESTÁ COLGANDO MUY ABAJO EN SU CADERA. En serio, adoro que ella siempre esté toda sonrojada con todo lo que hace Casteel. Y es que, en el fondo, ella tiene clarísimo que lo quiere y en lugar de aceptar el trato de “pretender” ser la prometida y todo eso, debería sencillamente decirle que quiere casarse con él. Aunque, claro, todo tiene que ser un proceso.

7. Y luego ellos dos están hablando y ella le dice que hablar no requiere que él esté sin camisa. Y Casteel le responde que las mejores conversaciones se tiene sin ropa. LA TENSIÓOOON. Que los dioses bendigan a JLA por haber creado un personaje tan sexy, desvergonzado y con una habilidad para hacer que todo suene como dirty talk.

8. Morí de ternura cuando Casteel le explica a Poppy sobre los middle names de los Atlantian y le dice que el suyo es Hawkethrone, pero que solo su madre y sus amigos más cercanos le decían Hawke… hasta que llegó ella. Y es un gran honor porque esos nombres especiales solo se revelan ante las personas más queridas.

9. Ya ni recuerdo de qué están hablando en este punto, pero Casteel le dice que si ella quiere sus labios sobre alguna parte de su cuerpo, él está más que encantado de complacerlo. Y que la oferta no se limita a sus labios, sino a sus manos su cuerpo, su… cock. Y POPPY LE DICE QUE NO REQUERIRÁ DE ESOS SERVICIOS. Ay, mujer…

10. Y más adelante ella le pregunta por qué le dijo que Hawke era su middle name Y ÉL LE DICE QUE ERA PORQUE NECESITABA QUE ENTENDIERA QUE NO TODO LO QUE VIVIERON HABÍA SIDO UNA MENTIRA. Mi pobre corazón.

11. Mi debilidad en los libros de fantasía es cuando uno de los personajes se despierta en los brazos del otro después de una pesadilla. Y eso le sucede a Poppy aquí, que está soñando con la noche en la que asesinaron a sus padres, y cuando finalmente se despierta Casteel la está abrazando y tranquilizándola y es todo demasiado tierno.

12. Esto no es algo súper importante, pero es una frase de Casteel con la que me sentí súper identificada. Dice algo como que sabe muy bien cómo el pasado a veces no se queda en donde debería y cómo le gusta visitarnos en el presente cuando estamos en nuestros momentos más débiles. Holy damn.

13. ¿Ya les dije que amo la picardía de Casteel? Hay una noche en la que está claro que Poppy está dando vueltas en la cama y él le ofrece de nuevo lo que le hizo en el Blood Forest para ayudarla a dormir. Poppy: no, gracias. Yo: DI QUE SÍ, POR FAVOR xD. Entonces Casteel se acerca a ella sólo para estar abrazándola, pues le dice que a veces él siente que dormir junto a alguien hace todo más fácil. Pero Poppy se empieza a deslizar y mover y él le dice que pare porque, si sigue así, va a notar ALGO que hay entre los dos, oh, my gods. Y ella queda como “¿qué? ¿Está hard sólo por estar en una cama conmigo?”. Ternurita.

14. Epic LOL al momento en el que Kieran le está explicando las habilidades de los Atlantian a Poppy y llegan al punto del sentido del olfato… Y QUE INCLUSO PUEDEN SENTIR CUANDO OTRA PERSONA ESTÁ AROUSED. Y Poppy solo piensa en todas las veces en las que Casteel puede haber olido eso en ella, jajajaja. Me muero.

15. Casi me muero de la risa cuando Poppy y Casteel están intentando convencer a Alastir de que de verdad se aman y están comprometidos y todo eso. Y el hombre les pregunta que en dónde se conocieron y Poppy empieza a decir algo, pero Casteel la interrumpe y confiesa que se conocieron en un burdel, en la Red Pearl.

16. Amé el momento en el que Alastir le dice a Poppy que salga con él a caminar y Casteel dice algo como: sólo para que lo sepas, Penellaphe no necesita que nadie la proteja, es más que capaz de manejar las cosas ella sola, pero te estás yendo a caminar con mi futuro, así que ten cuidado, tu vida depende de ello. AYYYYYYYYY.

17. Por cierto, otra cosa que no atañe a un momento particular, sino a muchísimos, es que Casteel no es capaz de dejar de tocar a Poppy, y ni siquiera de esa manera, sino toques casuales. Roces de manos, toques en la cintura, la cadera, el hombro, todo. Y eso me parece demasiado hermoso.

18. FUEEEEEERTE cuando Alastir le dice a Poppy que Casteel estuvo comprometido antes. Y más adelante, cuando toda esa historia sale a la luz, uf…

19. Hay un punto en el que Poppy está entrando a una biblioteca y está tan perdida en los libros que no ve que Casteel está sentado en una silla, pero él sí la ve y hace que se siente encima de él. Y Poppy le pregunta que si eso es necesario y él le responde que SIEMPRE, akjfhkladjfsa, momentos aleatorios que Isa adora.

20. Dioses, y es que JLA es una maestra en describir cómo se siente Poppy cada que está cerca de Casteel… y el hecho de que él pueda PERCIBIR cómo se siente ella lo hace todo más hot. Además, hay un momento en el que Poppy le dice que nadie les va a creer su charada si solo hace unas pocas noches ella dijo frente a todo el mundo que no lo soportaba… Y CASTEEL LE RESPONDE QUE, CON ÉL, UNAS POCAS NOCHES PUEDEN CAMBIARLO TODO.

21. Hay un momento en el que algo le pasa a Poppy y Casteel le da de su sangre de nuevo para curarla. Y más adelante ella le pregunta por qué lo hizo si solo sería una cicatriz más, entonces él le dice que todas sus cicatrices son hermosas, pero que no permitirá que nadie marque nunca más su cuerpo. Ay.

22. Y luego tienen que salir de la habitación, pero Poppy está con su bata de dormir, entonces Casteel le dice que se cambie porque no quiere ponerse celoso si todos los demás ven los espectaculares que son sus piernas.

23. En un punto Casteel toma de la mano a Poppy y ella dice que para él eso parecía como su segunda naturaleza, pero que, para ella, cada que él la tomaba de la mano era como una revolución. AY, YA ÁMENSE, POR FAVOR.

24. AHHHHHHHH. Y hay una escena en la que Casteel mete a Poppy de repente en una despensa y ella le pregunta que por qué hace eso. Y él solo responde que la NECESITABA. Que siempre está impresionado ante su bondad, por el hecho de que usó su habilidad para quitarle el dolor a otros. Y luego dice que hay algo que ha necesitado por días, semanas, meses, años, por toda su vida. Y Poppy le pregunta acerca de eso… Y CASTEEL RESPONDE QUE LA HA NECESITADO A ELLA. Que quizás solo por unos momentos, cuando nadie los esté viendo, pueden pretender que el pasado no existe, que ellos son solo Poppy y Hawke y que pueden besarse. Y ENTONCES ELLA LE DICE QUE LA BESE Y ÉL LO HACE SIN CONTENERSE Y TODO ES MUY INTENSO Y ME MUERO. Y todo el tiempo ella está pensando que se siente muy real como para ser algo falso. Y LUEGO ÉL EMPIEZA A TENTARLA CON SUS COLMILLOS PORQUE SABE QUE QUIERE QUE LA MUERDA Y, DIOSEEEES. En fin, que en una demostración de fortaleza, Casteel para en un momento porque cree que es “suficiente”, pero Poppy lo está mirando como “NI DE COÑA ES SUFICIENTE”, y él le pide que no lo mire así porque no va a poder controlarse.

25. Joder, y hay otro momento en el que Poppy vuelve a despertarse de una pesadilla y Casteel le dice que ahora entiende por qué ella siempre exploraba la ciudad de noche, para distraerse de eso. Pero que ahora no tiene una ciudad a la que escapar, QUE AHORA SOLO LO TIENE A ÉL, QUE POR FAVOR LO DEJE REEMPLAZAR EL SUFRIMIENTO CON ALGO MÁS, QUE ÉL PUEDE SER SUFICIENTE PARA ELLA. Y entonces ella lo besa y todo sube de temperatura y Casteel es el ser más espectacular, tierno y atento del mundo y, básicamente, reemplaza su sufrimiento con el placer más grande que puede darle. No eso todavía, pero close enough. Y después la abraza toda la noche. Por culpa de estas expectativas es que siempre estaré soltera.

26. Más adelante los dos están en el mismo caballo y ella dice que el acuerdo que tienen es impersonal, pero Casteel le dice que lo de la noche anterior no se sintió impersonal y empieza a tentarla con sus dientes por todo su cuello Y POPPY SIENTE DE TODO. Y obvio él se entera porque Atlantian. Ay, los amo.

27. Casi me parto de la risa cuando, después de una pelea, Poppy está con Casteel y de repente aparece Kieran DESNUDO. Y Poppy entra en pánico en plan: ¿POR QUÉ ESTÁ SÚPER DESNUDO? Y los otros dos están partiéndose de la risa y diciéndole que qué esperaba después de una transformación. Y lo único que Poppy acierta a decir es que seguramente tiene frío. Y Kieran le dice que no, que los wolven tiene una temperatura corporal elevada, que sólo tiene un poquito de frío… como seguramente habrá notado. Y Casteel dice que seguramente no sabe a qué se refiere. Y POPPY GRITA QUE SÍ. Y los dos la miran como: ¡PILLINA! xD

28. Ay, amo un momento en el que Poppy se despierta en medio de la noche pensando como “uh, la cama está muy dura” y luego se da cuenta de que básicamente está usando a Casteel como almohada y está súper abrazada a él y alkjdfhakjsd. Y ella está regodeándose en todas esas sensaciones que le provoca eso y, después de un tiempo, intenta moverse pero él se mueve de repente y la inmoviliza debajo suyo. Pero todo es raro porque él parece como en un trance, como si quisiera matarla y no la reconociera. Poppy intenta defenderse con su daga y la tiene en el cuello de Casteel, pero él de repente va bajando y bajando y… empieza a… go down on her. Y ella sabe que no debería permitirlo porque Casteel no parece él mismo, pero el placer es tal que no puede resistirse. Y eventualmente ella grita y, de repente, aparece Kieran por la puerta del balcón diciendo que la escuchó, pero que claramente había malinterpretado la situación. Y sí, pero no, porque los ojos de Casteel están completamente negros, lo que quiere decir que no se ha estado alimentando y está perdiendo el control. Kieran le dice a Poppy que huya, pero ella usa su don para traerlo de vuelta y, cuando Casteel vuelve en sí, sencillamente le dice que lo lamenta y se va de la habitación. Wow.

29. MOMENTAZO EN EL QUE POPPY ADMITE QUE HA ESTADO ENAMORÁNDOSE DE CASTEEL DESDE LA PRIMERA VEZ QUE LO VIO. Es decir, todos lo sabíamos, pero ella al fin lo está admitiendo.

30. Hay un punto en el que ella le dice a Kieran que el sentir afecto por Casteel solo la llevaría a tener el corazón roto, pero él le responde que a veces el dolor de un corazón roto que llega por amar a alguien lo vale, incluso si amar a esa persona significa tener que decirle adiós eventualmente. AUXILIO, MI CORAZÓN.


32. HOLY MOTHER OF EVERYTHING, ese momento en el que alguien le cuenta lo que es The Joining a Poppy. Que, básicamente, es una tradición de Atlantia en la que dos personas que están casadas, en este caso serían Poppy y Casteel, hacen un ritual de compartir sangre con el wolven que está enlazado con uno de ellos, en este caso Kieran y Casteel… Y ESE RITUAL CASI SIEMPRE TERMINA SIENDO COMO UN TRÍO Y OH, MY GODS, NECESITO QUE ESO SUCEDA, JAJAJAJA. Bueno, y el resultado de ese ritual es que el wolven también termina enlazado con la pareja, en ese caso Poppy, y, además, se le confiere inmortalidad a la parte que no era inmortal de esa relación, again, Poppy.

33. Otro momentazo es cuando Poppy le pide a Casteel que se alimente de ella y le grita que lo haga porque tiene sentimientos por él. Y todo esto sucede porque Kieran le explicó que Casteel no se ha estado alimentando porque eso para un Atlantian es algo muy íntimo. Y que cuando un Atlantian empieza a tener sentimientos por otra persona, no puede concebir alimentarse de nadie más porque se sentiría como engañando a esa persona. Entonces al final Casteel acepta su oferta, pero le dice que no lo hará estando solos, que necesita que Kieran esté allí para que lo controle si algo sale mal.

34. Y entonces llega la escena de Casteel alimentándose de Poppy… Y TODO ES TAN INTENSO, EL DOLOR, EL PLACER, TODO, QUE CASTEEL LA EMPUJA HACIA ATRÁS… PERO ATRÁS DE ELLA ESTÁ KIERAN Y ELLA TERMINA BÁSICAMENTE ENTRE LOS DOS Y, MADRE MÍA, POR TODOS LOS DIOSES. Además, recordemos que la mordida de un Atlantian es afrodisíaca, así que imagínense todo lo que Poppy podía estar sintiendo. Y es que mientras todo esto está pasando, Kieran también está apoyado contra una pared… Y CASTEEL ESTÁ THRUSTING HIS HIPS AGAINST POPPY, SO NOT ONLY SHE FEELS IT BUT KIERAN TOO.

35. Eventualmente Kieran le dice que pare, que ya es suficiente. Y Casteel lleva a Poppy a la cama y le pide que, por favor, le permita complacerla porque sabe cuáles son los efectos de la mordida. Y ella le dice que sí. Y CASTEEL EMPIEZA A SER MUY CREATIVO CON SUS DEDOS (ejem), pero Poppy no se queda atrás y SHE GRABS HIM… Y al final los dos acaban juntos y ajshdlskadjsad. Estúpidos y sensuales Poppy y Casteel. Y al final él le dice que eso nunca le había pasado… lo de you know sin que él lo planeara.

36. En otro momento Poppy y Casteel hacen un trato y él le dice que los Atlantians cierran los tratos con un beso. Ella le dice que no le cree y Casteel admite que es falso, pero aún así se besan y, maldita sea, los odio por ser tan hermosos.

37. Hay una escena en la que Casteel le está enseñando a montar a Poppy su propio caballo, y cuando ella lo logra y sonríe él le dice que quiere besarla, pero que no puede porque ya está en otro caballo y que quizás todo fue una mala idea. STOP BEING SO PERFECT, DAMN IT.

38. Bueno, momento no romántico pero que tengo que mencionar porque, si no, seguro lo olvido. Y es que cada que Poppy usa más sus habilidades, se van desarrollando más… y en una de esas ocasiones ella empieza, LITERALMENTE, a brillar. Y nada, que recordé a Aelin en ese momento, jajajaja.

39. Dioses del Olimpo, hay una escena en la que Poppy le pregunta a Casteel que si vuelve a estar hambriento… de sangre, you know, pero él le dice que no es de eso. Y que si abre sus sentidos para percibirlo, sabrá de qué está hambriento. Pero ella se niega, entonces él le dice que no lo hace porque no quiere saber que le está costando todo su autocontrol no arruinar otro par de sus pantalones al destrozarlos para fuck her so hard y que ella sienta su agradecimiento en todo su esplendor. Mon Dieu.

40. Hay otro momento en el que Casteel está hablando sobre su compromiso con Poppy frente a otros, que tienen dudas acerca de si la aceptarán o no en Atlantia, y Casteel dice que, cuando la conozcan, LA AMARÁN TANTO COMO ÉL LO HACE. Y obvio Poppy cree que es parte de la fachada, PERO ÉL LO ESTÁ DICIENDO DE VERDAD.

41. LA ESCENA DEL LAGO EN LA CAVERNA, AY, NO PUEDO. Los dos están allí y ella ya está en el agua, pero luego Casteel se empieza a desvestir y Poppy lo mira en todo su esplendor y piensa como “vaya, sí que se nota que me desea”. DIOSES. Y luego ella se sumerge y por fin se permite pensar en cuánto lo desea ella a él, en todo lo que quiere hacer con Casteel y en cómo se siente cada vez que la toca. Eventualmente Casteel se acerca a ella y le dice que la mordida que ella tiene en el cuello se convierte en una zona erógena hasta que se cura y que él estaría dispuesto a probárselo. Y OBVIO POPPY DICE QUE SÍ. Entonces él empieza a tocarla down there y le dice que de nuevo pueden pretender que eso es real, que ellos son solo Poppy y Hawke, pero después ELLA LE DICE QUE NO QUIERE PRETENDER, QUE ELLOS SON POPPY Y CASTEEL Y QUE ESO ES REAL. Me muerooooooo. Y entonces Casteel le pide que le diga de nuevo que lo desea, que eso es real. Y ELLA LO HACE. Entonces él la carga y le dice que quisiera hacerle muchísimas cosas, que ella le hiciera otras, pero que no tienen tiempo. Entonces le pide que se sostenga muy fuerte contra él porque está a punto de FUCK HER LIKE HE PROMISED. Isa muriendo en 3… 2… 1…

42. Y luego casi me da algo cuando, más adelante, Alastir le dice a Poppy que Casteel no le ha contado que está prometido a OTRA MUJER. Pero bueno, la sorpresa pasa rápido porque luego Casteel le explica que fue un acuerdo de sus padres, pero que él nunca estuvo de acuerdo y bla, bla, bla.

43. Más adelante los dos están hablando y ella dice que no se arrepiente de nada, a pesar de las mentiras y Casteel le dice que por favor no diga cosas así porque le dan ganas de desnudarla y hundirse en ella hasta que ninguno de los dos sepa dónde empieza uno y dónde acaba el otro. WOW.


Profile Image for SK.
249 reviews1,347 followers
July 14, 2022
So sooo good 🤌
The angst. Oh, the ANGST.. it was PERFECT!!

This one was even better than the first book. Casteel and Poppy are the superior couple and there's no fighting it. The banter and the drama is so worth reading.
Kieran is an equally interesting supporting character and I would definitely like to see more of him.

The ending had me screaming!! The spice was well..spicy 😏😏

I did however feel at times that there were too many dialogues and the plot was dragged on a bit unnecessarily. The pacing was inconsistent as it got a bit slow for me at times, then picked up pace only to slow down again.

Regardless, I obviously want to find out what happens next. Gimme more Casteel and Poppy. Always more Casteel. The man is a total book boyfriend material and I'm all for it..er, him..er yes the book not Casteel..but definitely Casteel.

To sum it up this was such a fun read, can't wait to read Casteel, er I mean the next book.
Profile Image for Sentranced Jem.
1,090 reviews570 followers
August 16, 2020
No no no no no! You cannot end this book on such a massive cliffhanger!You cannot do this Jennifer!

From Blood and Ash was on the list of my top reads during the first half of 2020.I am aware that I sound like a broken record but I loved that book, so much so that I’ve read it numerous times.I didn’t think A kingdom of Flesh and Fire would be as good but Jennifer L. Armentrout proved me wrong.
I am absolutely in awe of JLA’s imagination. 

I am not going to sugar coat it…A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire is violent and I LOVED every part of it.

Hawke stole my breath away you guys. He is a flawed character but his purpose and sense of duty, love and loyalty makes him more than admirable.
When Hawke tells Poppy,
“ You’re the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thought I have when I fall asleep, replacing everything else. It’s why when I’m with you, I can be quiet. I can just be. You know what that means.”

I felt those words ..I felt them to the core of my being. I realise I sound dramatic but I wanted to cry my eyes out and say “Yes I know exactly what you mean.”

Poppy is such an amazing character and I do not say that lightly. Does it make me sound morbid when I say that I admire characters that are willing to make sacrifices, make more than difficult decisions for the greater good even if it means death? Even though I have conflicting thoughts about that ..even when I hate it..I appreciate the sacrifices.
I loved Poppy’s endless curiosity. I found so much joy when she asked so many questions.. It made this strong, intelligent, kind woman even more beautiful.

There is no doubt that I loved the dynamics amongst the characters. There was such a varied melange of personalities and I LOVED it! 
Does it make it sound weird if I admit that these characters felt real? The realistic actions and reactions between characters captivated me. I LOVED that the characters had full blown conversations without it feeling rushed..it’s like, if you are going to sit down and talk about serious important problems..it shouldn’t be done within two pages! So thank you JLA because I found myself nodding my head at the parts where I agreed with where the discussions were headed… scoffing and wanting to voice my opinion on things I didn’t agree.
I was more than invested.
I am well aware that this is a fictional book but that Ladies and Gentlemen, is the power of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s writing. She brings it all to life.

With everything said and done, I must be say that A kingdom of Flesh and Fire definitely had an air of mystery that kept me on my toes. Even when I felt elated during parts of the book, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and completely ruin my heart. But to be honest, I enjoy the suspense of the unknown.

Jennifer L. Armentrout knocked it out of the park with A kingdom fo Flesh and Fire. I cannot wait to read more from this series.
Profile Image for Arini.
772 reviews1,615 followers
January 15, 2023
🎧 2nd Read, Nov. 2021 — 4 Stars
📚 1st Read, Sept. 2020 — 3.5 Stars

#1 From Blood and Ash — 4 Stars

Idk if someone’s mentioned it or if I’m alone in this, but AKOFAF felt like the mix between Twilight and ACOMAF with a little bit of Wonder Woman cause for some reason Atlantia and the army of female warriors made me think of Themyscira. I’m not alluding to any similarities in plot or romance specifically, but this book certainly got the vibes.

I felt pretty much the same as I did the 1st book, but can we talk about the ending?! Because that was EARTH SHATTERING. I’m honestly not sure what that last revelation means. 🙈 Listen, I had a hard time as it is keeping up with all the history lessons, all the different species of vampires and werewolves.

There’s so much to swallow about this world that sometimes my small brain just couldn’t compute, and I didn’t care enough to try harder because all I focused on was the romance—which I shouldn’t be failed to mention was WHOLESOME (even though I got kinda tired of all the repeated Poppy jokes and teasings about her inquisitive and violent nature).

So, basically my review of the 1st book pretty much still applies to this one. I only enjoyed it slightly more because I loved the focus of the story in this installment. The world building was better explained, but there was a lot to process, and I’m confused. I may have to re-read the two books, but I’m excited to see what Poppy has in store for us in the next one.
Profile Image for becky .
151 reviews163 followers
August 28, 2021

“There is no side of you that is not as beautiful as the other half. Not a single inch isn’t stunning.” His lashes lifted, and the intensity in his stare held me captive. “That was true the first time I said it to you, and it is still the truth today and tomorrow.”

A confession: I fell in love with Casteel ❤️

For the 5th time i'm reading this book and it still doesn't get boring...

I have waited for this book for MONTHS and finally, it has been released and I have read it. I have not moved my butt from my bed and continued to read this until someone had to drag me out and tell me to eat some food. So let's just say I have been reading this the whole day. And damn, the book is too good to be true.

I could've asked for an ARC, but I waited until the release date. Because you know what? Waiting for it makes the book more exciting to read. Have you ever had a day when you just remembered that the book you've pre-ordered is meant to be released today and you just grin foolishly because you got that book in your hand (reading it)? Well, today was one of those days to me.

“I’ll try to escape again.”
“I figured as much.”
“I’m not going to stop fighting you.”
“I wouldn’t want you to.”
I thought that was weird. “And I’m not going to marry you.”

I was a bit annoyed of that marriage between the two of them being a huge deal and all. I know it's a big thing for Cas (aka Hawke) and Poppy but if felt a tiny bit overreacted. It made it feel like Poppy being too dramatic for saying no to Cas. And the whole Poppy being so 'violent' was a bit weird. I mean, sure, she can be violent when she wants to be, but if felt like it was a bit too much. And the reaction from other people when Poppy held a sharp object just felt a bit forced and all.

Nothenless, I quite enjoyed reading Poppy and Cas' adorable arguments because you have to realize when they are fighting over something that is unnecessary, it doesn't feel like it was forced. It's just so funny reading that Poppy still wants to have Cas' head chopped off, but we already know their real feelings for each other. And the cover already said they are going to be married. There are two golden rings. Does that ring any bell?

Surprisingly, the pace of the book was genuinely good, considering the fact that the first book took ages for things to start to start heating up a bit. The speed of the book was much better and all, but I felt like some bits were squished in and it ended a bit fast. Some scenes that I wasn't sure that it was useful but I'm sure it had a connection.

"Which part confuses you the most?" he asked, amber eyes unblinking.
"It's the part where you think I would actually marry you."

I didn't realize until starting reading the book that this was a duology. Or it's a sequel. I thought it was a series, but then again, the story is what matters the most. Not if it's a duology or a series or a trilogy or others.

It starts right off from where Hawke announces that he's going to marry Poppy. I was eager to read on for reasons why he would do that, since his original plan involved trading her to get his brother back. Obviously, they fell in love and things changed, so the conclusion was that they were to marry.

Unsurprisingly, Poppy doesn't accept it because she's still wounded by Cas' lies and betrayal. So half of the story is about Poppy being confused (about her feelings) and the rest is the journey to go to Atlantia. It's long, but I like long books because I don't have to stop reading it. I keep going and going but then, JLA had to stop where there were SO MANY questions that I have. I'm pretty sure they would be answered, but just to let you know, I am NOT happy that I was left hanging.

We also get a lot from other characters as well, and I truly did love them all. Especially Kieran. He's even more funnier than I gave him credit for. I like him. But I'm still #TeamCasteelDa'Near.

“You’re welcome,” I panted. “For saving your life.” Breathing raggedly, he jerked the sword back. A wide, bloody smile broke out across his face. “Would this be an inappropriate time to let you know I’m incredibly turned on by you right now?”
“Yes.” My gaze shifted to the guard staggering to his feet behind him. “Highly inappropriate.”

Poppy is such a badass character and extremely lovable because she totally has a warm heart. She's brave, bold, and beautiful. Even when there are scars on her face, she's still an amazing character. She cares for those she loves, smiles and teases them and mostly, we'll probably do anything to save them. Oh, and we cannot forget her random questions thrown at Kieran and Cas. She's so curious about everything. I'm surprised she hasn't asked the question, "Keiran, why is the sky blue?" or something very random like that. And that made me lik her more as a character.

Hawke, who incredibly, irritatingly, (and really, really adorable) is the prince of Atlantia who, has officially got my heart. He just, matches Poppy so well. Their words are always like a challenge but it still makes me laugh so much. I can't believe I once thought he was evil (ok, he may be a tiny bit evil in some places but he's good guy).

I have to say, romance in this book was everything. It was about Cas (maybe I should call him Hawke? Because there's a reason behind that name) and Poppy's marriage and their growing feelings. But at one point, I was jealous. Yup, I got jealous for Poppy because Cas had a lover who presumably he loved deeply. The fact that Poppy and Cas had to do some let's pretend game, the romance felt forced. Because they weren't actually aware of their feelings when it came to one another and then finally, they come to a conclusion which I shouted a thank you at them for declaring that a bit late for me.

But, I loved this book. SO MUCH. Let's just say some of the reasons I loved this book was because of Cas' existen. I'm always #TeamCasteelDa'Neer.

Oh, and did I mention that there is some small chapters of Cas' (at that time, Hawke's) POV when he met Poppy at the Red Pearl? I still have that to read....
Profile Image for jules.
207 reviews69 followers
September 12, 2020
Profile Image for myo ✧༺ ༘♡ ༻∞.
742 reviews6,482 followers
April 24, 2021
1st reread:
okay so my second time around i had so much more fun, i loved all the characters even more than the first time and it really made the book more interesting. i love the side characters, delano and naill, i hope to see more of my kings in book 3. this book had a lot of world building in the end but reading it a second time i didn’t care. this was soooo much better than my first read.

1st read:
this was very much a filler book, i didn’t hate it (obvi) but i was a bit bored because the beginning dragged A LOT. i have a problem with reading big books because i tend to get bored easily so the book starting off slow was really had for me to stay interested but luckily it had great banter between the love interests and other smaller things i enjoyed

Profile Image for Julezreads.
202 reviews789 followers
March 12, 2022
*Hier bitte sinnvolle Rezension einfügen, weil das Buch mich gerade überwältigt hat*
Wir haben hier ein JAHRESHIGHLIGHT🥳!Es passiert so unfassbar viel in diesem Buch, dass sich die Ereignisse überschlagen haben und der letzte Satz hat es mit einem Knall enden lassen. Obwohl es so eine komplexe High Fantasy Welt ist, liest es sich so flüssig, dass man durch die Seiten fliegt. Vor allem die zum Teil skurrilen Dialoge tragen dazu bei. Mehr als einmal dachte ich mir „Was zur Hölle passiert hier gerade?“, aber das macht den Charme der Reihe aus. Außerdem: die ganzen vielschichtigen Charakterdynamiken!!! Es gibt nicht nur die Main-Romance-Beziehung (die ich ganz toll finde), sondern auch so spannende Freundschaften und Charaktere, die man noch nicht einschätzen kann. Es ist alles extrem gut gemacht, man weiß nie, was als Nächstes kommt und mir bleibt nichts mehr zu sagen, als: *fangirl-mode on* ICH LIEBS😍
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
369 reviews977 followers
July 4, 2021
4.5 stars, lowered down to 4 because of some pretty severe info dumps :/

“Always,” he whispered in the breath we shared. “Your heart was always safe with me. It always will be. There is nothing I will protect more fiercely or with more devotion, Poppy. Trust in that — in what you feel from me.”

This was somehow an improvement over the previous instalment, yet that one was brilliant, too. JLA managed to serve EVEN MORE addicting tropes that I’m a sucker for (marriage of convenience, there's only one bed, etc).

I’m extremely confused and shooketh from this ending though. SO MANY QUESTIONS. How am I to wait until April?!
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