The War of Two Queens

- Jennifer L. Armentrout

Goodreads Book Blurb:

From the desperation of golden crowns…

Casteel Da’Neer knows all too well that very few are as cunning or vicious as the Blood Queen, but no one, not even him, could’ve prepared for the staggering revelations. The magnitude of what the Blood Queen has done is almost unthinkable.

And born of mortal flesh…

Nothing will stop Poppy from freeing her King and destroying everything the Blood Crown stands for. With the strength of the Primal of Life’s guards behind her, and the support of the wolven, Poppy must convince the Atlantian generals to make war her way—because there can be no retreat this time. Not if she has any hope of building a future where both kingdoms can reside in peace.

A great primal power rises…

Together, Poppy and Casteel must embrace traditions old and new to safeguard those they hold dear—to protect those who cannot defend themselves. But war is only the beginning. Ancient primal powers have already stirred, revealing the horror of what began eons ago. To end what the Blood Queen has begun, Poppy might have to become what she has been prophesied to be—what she fears the most.

As the Harbinger of Death and Destruction.

Series / Genres:

My Review:

enjoyable/easy to read:
Before I start this review, I may have made a mistake by looking over some others. I was not aware of the Joining controversy. I understand feeling connected to characters, but people know this is a fictional story, right? Whether three fictional characters are portrayed in a sexual encounter or not shouldn’t be this inflammatory. Moving on…

I love Kieran. That is the biggest takeaway from not only this book but this series. He has so many heartbreakingly sweet moments with Poppy in the beginning while they grapple with Cas’ imprisonment. I enjoy the seriousness of their relationship more and more – they can joke around, tease, and flirt, but it feels more grounded and relatable than Cas and Poppy’s relationship. I’m sure, yet again, an unpopular opinion, but I’m totally shipping Kieran and Poppy.

I’m not going to lie; I’m a little disappointed in The War of Two Queens. It dragged a lot more than it should have with everything going on. There are only so many times Poppy’s ancestry can change, and she can become something even more powerful. But it happened twice here, making it what, four or five times in the series?
Mortal to half mortal/half Atlantian to deity to goddess to primal to something life and death.
It’s not a twist anymore when it keeps happening; it’s expected. There was a lot of build-up for reunions and events and battles that ended up falling flat, only to move to the next build-up and repeat.

And I get it, Poppy and Cas are heartmates and in looove and everything but not every moment needs to be sexy. I’m aware that’s rich coming from me, reading romantic fantasy, and very well aware of the level of spice expected in these books. But there are way too many life-threatening moments in which it makes no sense to be having sex, let alone drawn-out foreplay and multiple sessions. No wonder they keep falling into traps and having all their plans ruined – they’re worse than teenagers.
Though the Joining finally happening was a relief – poor Kieran’s been left out and teased for so long; taking Cas’ place when he’s not around, answering all of Poppys dumb questions. While I’m glad it happened, the event itself was pretty disappointing. We have to read every tiny detail when Poppy and Cas get it on, but when Kieran joins in, it’s all blurred and vague. The Joining has been teased since A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, and the better Kieran gets with every book, the more I’ve been waiting for his moment in the spotlight. Forgive me for expecting the same level of detail we get with all of Poppy and Cas’ interactions. There are a few nuggets of hope that this relationship between the three of them will be explored further, so I’ve got my fingers crossed for more.

"We can’t save everyone, Kieran reminded me. But we can save the ones we love."

There are a lot of good moments, but the entire book is a little slow, repetitive, and too similar to the rest of the series. I’d like to see more development in non-central romantic relationships. There’s a lot of talk about these close friendships within this larger group, but there isn’t much evidence for this – we have to take it at face value and assume it’s true. If we dropped half the ‘always and forever‘, we’d have plenty of time to delve deeper here.

"Hisa turned from her horse, clasping the back of Lizeth's head. Her fingers tangled in the blond strands. Concern radiated from her. "Be careful."
The female wolven pressed her forehead to Hisa's. "But be brave," she replied, kissing her.
"Always," Hisa confirmed.
"But be brave," I whispered, looking away. I liked that. Be careful but be brave.
And we would all be that today."

I spent some time after the last page trying to convince myself that I liked The War of Two Queens more than I did because of how excited I was to read it. I enjoyed it, and I think it’s well-written and an excellent addition to this series and whatever it’s building to. But I wasn’t blown away, hanging on each word, dying to know what would happen next. Of course, I’m going to read the next book, but I likely won’t reread the series again when it comes out.

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