I picked up From Blood and Ash in January thinking I’d see what all the hype was about, but little did I know I’d get hooked as fast as I did. I finished the book pretty fast, and then found myself waiting for this book to arrive. I always love a good romance in my books, and this series seems determined to keep me reading it, so how did book two go? This review goes into the second book of the series, so if you do not want spoilers for the book one, please see that review here.
A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (AKOFAF) picks up after Hawke’s betrayal, as Poppy finds out that the one last person there to protect her was only out to use her from the beginning. She now knows a lot of dark truths about her own past, but it doesn’t change that she is caught in between two kingdoms who want her for terrifying reasons. It also doesn’t help that Hawke happens to be the Dark One whispered about as well as the Prince Casteel of the other kingdom that wishes to use her.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
From Blood and Ash was like a different book compared to this, and I think in this case that was a really good thing. Somehow, between the ending of the last book, and the majority of this book we quickly departed the primarily Fantasy feel the series had going, and had Romance take over. There’s still quite a bit of world-building, and I constantly enjoyed the Paranormal creatures lessons we get as readers, but I can definitely see how this could make some readers love it, and some not. Like A Court of Thorns and Roses, there are times where I’d say the Romance takes full stage, and all else is put on hold. If you aren’t as big a fan of romance, or the characters from the first book this could be a drawback as there is a lot more in this one than the first. That said, I really do like a good romance, so I was perfectly happy with having a series that gives us that as its priority. I’m planning to read some thick fantasy books this year, so I know romance isn’t always a big part of those, which is why I love series like this.
For the world building that we do get in this book I was really interested in the tidbits we learn both of the Atlantians and wolven, all of the gaps in Poppy’s knowledge getting slowly and beautifully filled in. It’s essentially like a vampires and werewolves scenario, but instead of hating one another, they work together? There’s also more information on the kingdom she left behind, and the craven they have to run from constantly, so as much as I said there’s a bigger focus on the romance and characters there’s still quite a bit of the world being revealed. There’s also a bigger reveal on the lore of the world, which was really well done, and played well into the questions surrounding Poppy’s own past. I swear this series just loves to keep me in detective mode, I felt like I was eagerly piecing together everything we were learning around every corner. I typically try to put two and two together (since that’s what you’d do anyway), but this series somehow has me consistently creating new theories, and just enjoying that vibe all around.
Getting past the Romance vs. Fantasy ratios of the book, this was an incredibly easy sequel to pick up and continue the series with. I was still on a book hangover from the first book, so where normally I would have read something else in the waiting period for this book to arrive, I sat around and stared at the delivery progress instead. Once I had this book, it was like nothing changed in that regard as I found myself practically inhaling this one much the same as the first. Let’s put it this way, if you liked the first, and enjoyed the romance, characters, etc., this one will fly by just the same, and I am all for that. On top of that, the cast of characters somehow grew in this book, and developed in ways that had me getting real excited.
So, any cons? One big one is that this really does run on the chosen one trope, like a lot. It was present in the first book, but boy do we latch onto it in this one, and probably even more in the next book. It’s unfortunately just something that will be very present in the plot, so if you are done with this one, then this might be a big struggle. If you can gloss over that, I think the characters, the world, and the overall mysteries of Poppy in general made it easier to look over that and just get lost in the story. Other than that, I only had minor cons written in my reading notes this time since all in all this one was just an amazingly fast and easy read for this year. I am definitely excited to see what the next book has in store for us though not excited for the book hangover that one will likely give me.