Series Name:
Blood and Ash, # 2

Review By Veronica

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire is a heart-pounding spicy story that will keep you up until the wee hours of the morning.

Favourite Quote:

The snapping of a branch stopped me as I climbed over a fallen tree. Looking down, I saw nothing but smooth snow and scattered pine needles. I held my breath, skin prickling as I strained to hear any other sounds. A cracking noise came again, this time closer, sending a rippling wave of wariness through me.

Goodreads Synopsis: 

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.

If you still need to read the first book in the series and are planning on reading it. I would wait to read this review until after you are done with the first book because there are spoilers from that book in this review. I really, really like this book. It just grabs you right from the first chapter and only lets you go at the end. In typical Jennifer fashion, the ending of this story is a major cliffhanger which leaves you wanting to get your hands on the next book because you need to know what will happen next. There is a faster pace to this story compared to the first book. There are more battle scenes, travel, and twists and turns. There are also a lot of detailed spicy moments between Poppy and Casteel, aka Hawke. 

This book picks up right after the first one. Poppy has learned that Hawke, the man she has developed feelings for, is Casteel, aka The Dark One and that he planned to kidnap Poppy and use her as ransom to get his brother back from the Ascended. However, things don’t go as planned because Casteel has fallen in love with her and knows that handing Poppy over to the Ascended will mean she will be imprisoned and used by the Ascended for the rest of her life. The very ending of the last book had Casteel proclaiming that he was going to marry Poppy. As you can imagine, Poppy wants nothing to do with his marriage proposal or the man himself. She is angry and hurt and wants to escape. This story focuses on Poppy and Casteel trying to accept their new situation. Both have feelings for each other, and their attraction grows every day. Poppy knows that she should hate Casteel, but her heart just won’t let her, and Casteel knows he has hurt Poppy, but all he wants to do is to keep her safe from the Ascended. If you enjoyed all those Poppy and Hawke moments from the first book, you would be happy to hear that their banter and chemistry are front and center in this book. I devoured every scene that these two were in. It felt like an addiction because all I wanted was more.

What I love about a good fantasy series is that the world and its characters grow in richness and lush details as the series progresses. We learn more about the history of Poppy’s world and realize that all that Poppy has been taught has been a lie. As this story progresses, we explore more lands and meet incredible characters. I loved Kieran, who is a wolven and bonded to Casteel. The growing, shall we call it, the friendship between Kieran and Poppy is delightful and adds some lightness and humour to the overall story. Even though the main focus of this book is Casteel and Poppy’s relationship, this larger series of events is also happening. The Ascended will not stop hunting for Poppy. They need her blood to survive and will destroy anyone in their way. There is also this growing tension between the Ascended and Atlantia the Kingdom Casteel comes from. These larger events mean there are plenty of battles and betrayals. You don’t know who you can trust and when danger will rear its ugly face.

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire is a perfect book for those who are fans of Sarah J Maas’s books.