Series: Blood and Ash #2
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.
I don’t understand why everyone loves this series, but Kingdom of Flesh and Fire was even harder to get through than its predecessor.
For such a long book, it’s entirely focused on Poppy’s feelings for Hawke, aka The Dark One aka Casteel, the enemy she was told about all her sheltered life. I get it, she’s been betrayed and she’s literally given him everything about herself. Of course there’s ramifications to deal with in the aftermath of what happened. BUT, this book spends TOO much time on this compared to growing the new lore of the Atlantians.
I have nothing against romance but this long book can be summarized with travel from Poppy’s home in Masadonia out east wherever the Atlantians are taking her, and her conflicting feelings for Casteel. Travel + romantic angst for 500+ pages is NOT a fantasy book. I don’t mind either, but it just was not interesting!
There were little tidbits signalling more about Poppy’s “Chosen One” status. While I don’t usually have a big problem with this trope, it’s just emphasized so much how she’s this precious gem that both sides of the conflict want that it starts getting tiresome. Why is she so important? We don’t get any answers here, and only until the very end of the book does it get interesting with this element of the story.
I’m keeping this review short because I honestly don’t have much more to say. It felt like a filler story wherein Poppy and Casteel deal with their “feelings” and Casteel’s people do not like her because they didn’t expect these feelings to be real. Poppy develops more powers – because of course a Chosen One has to be powerful in ways that is like no other – and we don’t get any answers so hold onto your hats for book 3! Just…I’m tired, friends. Yet I will probably still read the next one just to finally get some answers for my own morbid curiosity.
Apparently I’m a sucker for punishment because Kingdom of Flesh and Fire was barely a fantasy story with hardly much action or lore being added in a valuable manner. It could’ve been way shorter for the amount of non-action happening. The focus is on the romantic angst and conflict between Poppy and her dark prince, Casteel. If that’s what you’re looking for, then by all means, go ahead. Otherwise, this completely suffers from Middle Book Syndrome and I would recommend almost skipping most of it until the last 10 chapters or so before it actually gets somewhere. Will I be present for book 3? Didn’t I mention I’m a sucker for punishment already?