Updated: May 26, 2021
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Blue Box Press
Is Love Stronger Than Vengeance? 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.
Let me start off by saying this, I really enjoyed From Blood and Ash, the first book in Armentrout’s new series, but this next installment missed the mark. The author crammed tons of page-turning action into the beginning and end of A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire. I could feel the external conflict, such as the Craven and the Ascended, which I enjoyed, but the drawn-out conversations and steamy sex scenes overshadowed these threats. The plot dragged for over 400 pages. Literally 400 pages.
Poppy’s internal struggle and Casteel’s constant doting left me rolling my eyes. It was too much. I love a good sex scene, but this book had so many I started skimming the pages. At times, I wondered if Armentrout abandoned her attempt at adult fantasy and switched gears to romance.
The endless conversations and repetitive sentences bored me to pieces, and the ending, though exciting and jaw-dropping, felt rushed. Speaking of the ending, Casteel’s actions felt out of character. An overprotective prince who never lets Poppy out of his sight because he fears for her safety around his own people, suddenly lets her explore his homeland with a young wolven who lacks combat experience. Huh? Come again?
Overall, I struggled with this book because of the stark difference in the writing from the first installment. I’m always here for a new adventure, but it lacked in action and pacing. I do love Armentrout’s writing style and her witty banter. The woman knows how to tell a story. Perhaps she’s still getting her feet wet with adult fantasy. I'm definitely willing to give the next book in this series a shot because I have so many unanswered questions about Poppy’s lineage.
Readers: A fun read for those who love romance, character-driven books, internal struggles, and steamy sex scenes.
Writers: For those who need more experience writing sex scenes, witty banter, and relationship strife.
Triggers/Warnings: adult language, explicit sex scenes, violent and graphic scenes
Escapism Factor: 3/5
Emotional Connection: 3/5
Character Development: 4/5
Completed Read: 10/26/2020