A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire [REREAD]

- Jennifer L. Armentrout

Goodreads Book Blurb:

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.

Series / Genres:

My [REREAD] Review:

↓ scroll down for original review
almost perfect:
This is such an excellent series to reread. You have an idea that the foreshadowing is all over the place the first time, but once you know what’s coming, it is so good. I love picking up the hints and knowing what the characters don’t yet know.

"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 met 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."

The biggest standout in Cas and Poppy’s relationship this time is how similar they are. It’s a bit weird that Cas is literally hundreds of years older than her, but they’ve had similar life experiences. Being caged and having no free will, it’s no surprise they opened up to each other – even if there wasn’t the entire history of their world conspiring with the gods to bring them together. I appreciate the development of their relationship so much. It’s allowed to be flawed, complicated, and contradictory because that’s how it would be. Despite the instant connection, it’s definitely not instalove, and I will wholeheartedly support any narrative that delves into the messiness of relationships, emotions, and trust. Especially in high fantasy because that’s just more fun.

His touch stilled as he searched my face for an answer. And in that moment, I realized that this was my life. What existed between Casteel and I was neither right nor wrong. It was messy and complicated, and maybe I'd regret this later as I gave him more and more pieces of me, but I wanted him. And I was so done denying myself anything. I was done lying to him and to myself.

Honestly, I can’t believe Poppy doesn’t have a bit of a crush on Kieran. I mean, he’s the one answering all of her questions, helping her navigate her new life, and making sure she eats (to be fair, that’s mostly because he wants to eat, but it still counts). For what’s essentially a werewolf, he is very attuned to his feelings and the feelings of those around him. I’m still waiting for that threesome because it is definitely coming.

On that note, the smut is next level in this one. I thought it was a lot in From Blood and Ash, but that was nothing. As much as I love this series, I can remember the big moments, but I forgot all of the small, smutty ones. So I don’t know how much more there is to look forward to here, but I will certainly be looking forward to it.

It was because he made me feel seen, and he made me feel alive even when I genuinely wanted to cause physical harm to him. I kept falling when he never once told me not to pick up a sword or bow and instead handed one to me. I fell and fell when I realized that Casteel wore many masks for many reasons. What I felt only grew when I realized that he would, in fact, kill whoever insulted me, no matter how wrong that was. And that love…it entrenched itself deeply when I realized the kind of strength and will he had within him to survive what he had and to still find the pieces of who he used to be.

My [ORGINAL] Review:

solid, good read:
A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire was literally impossible to put down – I unintentionally stayed up until 3am to get to 80% even though I had to get up at 6am. I probably would’ve stayed up and finished the whole book if my alarm wasn’t looming. And the ending had me itching to start the next book immediately.

I could’ve used some editing on the ‘pretending’ romance drama and erotica – it started to get a little repetitive. I know Poppy and Cas are in an incredibly difficult and complicated relationship -they both have so much baggage related to each other and their traumatic pasts, and there’s no foundation for them to base any trust. So while I can appreciate the realistic nature of their attempt to find footing and figure out their relationship – and I would probably be here complaining about how unbelievable the writing was if they had gotten over their issues too quickly – I can still wish it hadn’t felt like they were having the same conversation over and over again. I understand their emotions are tormenting them, but they didn’t have to torment me. Armentroutmanaged something I thought was impossible in books like this, though:
an actual, open, honest conversation before a major commitment.
I honestly did not think this was possible.

The mythology of the Blood and Ash series really developed in A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire. From Blood and Ash only hinted at the overall picture, focusing more on the people and supernatural creatures in this world. With sleeping gods, omens, the origin stories of the Ascended and the Atlantians, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire is presenting a more complex and more interesting world. I love the development of Poppy’s powers, and every new development keeps getting better.

I’m so excited about the Blood and Ash series, and I hope it continues on this upswing – especially now that the tormenting romantic drama should (hopefully) be mostly in the past. Cas is already showing a bit of a jealous streak that’s a little territorial and throwing some red flags, but I’m hoping this doesn’t become the norm – especially as Poppy is stepping into her power and finally learning the truth about herself. And speaking of that truth – I cannot wait to find out what it is.

Pressing my lips together, I looked away. I didn't think it was impossible for them to change. 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.

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