A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout is the second book in her Blood and Ash series. The story picks up right where we left off in From Blood and Ash, and overall, this is a book I couldn’t put down. While there were bits that didn’t convince me or left me perplexed, I am still eager to know what happens next. I think this book deserves more credit than the first book in the Blood and Ash series.
Image from Amazon
The review I posted on Goodreads
⭐⭐⭐⭐/5: I really liked it
“A lot of people seem to have liked the first book more than this one but I didn’t. I think this second book is where the series truly picks up and becomes interesting–I thoroughly enjoyed this book save for a few “eehh” moments.
“First of all, I liked the pace of the book. They basically travel almost the entire book, lol, and maybe I’m weird but that felt realistic to me. I also prefer this kind of world-building since it happens as the characters move from one place to another, and this furtherly makes me wonder why there was so much info-dumping in the first book if the second book was meant to take the characters on a journey across the continent.
“This novel is a perfect example of new adult fantasy for me and since I really like the genre, I was eager to know where the story went. Poppy became a little more likable, although the inner monologue thing needs to stop at some point. The parts where she forces herself to believe that Casteel is going to sell her to the Ascended were so unnecessary and dragged on for too many chapters.
“AKOFAF introduces some extra characters that seem pretty interesting as of now, like Jasper, but I also liked Alastir’s desperate need for soap opera drama. Casteel is still Casteel, and maybe I’m biased because I like egotistical characters, but the way he carries himself makes me laugh. His interactions with Poppy were a bit less cheesy to me, though I wonder why everything about him is described through food comparisons…?
“The story moves forward and becomes more about “romance” and less about fantasy. I don’t mind but I am a little confused as to what the author is aiming for. She packed the book with more “saucy” scenes and yet whenever we reach that point, it’s like she wrote them in a rush to get them out of the way. I’m also not a fan of the whole “heartmate” thing, I think it’s an overused trope and it doesn’t look like it’s adding much to the plot at the moment.
“In any case, the ending of AKOFAF intrigued me and I’m truly eager to know what happens next. I hope the sequel contains more action because, despite the fact that the battle in AKOFAF was far from realistic (Atlantians die only if injured in the head but no one wears a helmet?), it was nicely written and it kept me entertained. I also hope we finally get some more insight on this religion other than legends and omens, because the setup is promising.
“Overall a good fantasy romance, maybe a bit overhyped, but for its genre and audience, it delivered what it promised.”
Some thoughts on the author’s writing style
I am a little conflicted when it comes to some words and concepts the author is introducing in her series (*coughs*heartmates*coughs*). I fail to understand the need for that and what it brings to the plot other than some WAFF moments that belong in the realm of fanfiction. Granted, maybe this gets explained later in the series, but I hope this won’t take Armentrout down the mate path that swallowed half of Sarah J. Maas’ writing, for example.
The world-building here was a lot more convincing and definitely better handled, so there is definitely an improvement that needs to be pointed out. I generally enjoy Armentrout’s writing; I think it flows well for the genre.
Conclusion? More commitment, please!
Sometimes, this books feels like it’s half-fantasy and half-erotica. It’s hard to understand what the author is trying to go for because the fantasy setting is very basic with promises of an expanded universe and on the other hand, there’s a lot more focus on the romance part compared to the previous book but Armentrout doesn’t really commit to the explicit scenes she starts writing. I wish she would delineate her choices better, give us less monologues and more impacting moments. I’m down with both epic fantasy and fantasy erotica but at the moment, it feels like the author is testing the waters.