Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.
Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.
But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.
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. Armentrout managed 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.