3.5 star, NA

Review: The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: Blood and Ash #3

She’s been the victim and the survivor…

Poppy never dreamed she would find the love she’s found with Prince Casteel. She wants to revel in her happiness but first they must free his brother and find hers. It’s a dangerous mission and one with far-reaching consequences neither dreamed of. Because Poppy is the Chosen, the Blessed. The true ruler of Atlantia. She carries the blood of the King of Gods within her. By right the crown and the kingdom are hers.

The enemy and the warrior…

Poppy has only ever wanted to control her own life, not the lives of others, but now she must choose to either forsake her birthright or seize the gilded crown and become the Queen of Flesh and Fire. But as the kingdoms’ dark sins and blood-drenched secrets finally unravel, a long-forgotten power rises to pose a genuine threat. And they will stop at nothing to ensure that the crown never sits upon Poppy’s head.

A lover and heartmate…

But the greatest threat to them and to Atlantia is what awaits in the far west, where the Queen of Blood and Ash has her own plans, ones she has waited hundreds of years to carry out. Poppy and Casteel must consider the impossible—travel to the Lands of the Gods and wake the King himself. And as shocking secrets and the harshest betrayals come to light, and enemies emerge to threaten everything Poppy and Casteel have fought for, they will discover just how far they are willing to go for their people—and each other.

And now she will become Queen.

After the absolute bore-fest that was book 2, I’m actually happy to say book 3, The Crown of Gilded Bones, did better at holding my attention. Maybe being a glutton for punishment isn’t so bad? Sometimes?

The story starts off where the cliffhanger ending left us. We finally (finally!) get to know more details about who or what Poppy is. She’s got that *special* main character thing going for her since Day One when she was simply called the Maiden. Clearly that doesn’t mean anything like she was taught to think it represented, but it seems Atlantis’s enemies may know that she’s special in some way too.

The world building is also picking up. Atlantia has so much to offer and we’re finally HERE (after two super long books but whatever). And it doesn’t disappoint. We get to meet the different citizens that make up this kingdom, learn more about the lore of the gods and what happened while they were still awake. The action is there from the start and it doesn’t lag too much because the enemy kingdoms are finally feeling like they’re near the tipping edge towards war.

While I know plenty of people who simply adore this series do so because of the characters, I want to still be the unpopular opinion here and say I don’t care much for the romance. Why? It’s too over the top. When they’re fighting they’re horny for each other. When they’re alone they can’t keep their hands off each other. Even when they’re NOT alone… How many times do they wanna have sex in the midst of very important action sequences happening? It feels disruptive being so present. I have nothing against it a couple of times here and there but you flip a page and never know what these two are about to do.

Besides that, I don’t care much for their individual characters. Poppy may be some special snowflake but sometimes her growth throughout this ordeal is minimal. I have less to complain about her in this book, but Casteel is a whole other ordeal. If we took away his dastardly handsome looks and sex appeal, what do we have left over? A ridiculously protective guy who likes his women absurdly violent (he likes to be stabbed? To each their own?) and puts her first above king and kingdom. May sound romantic but he feels more one dimensional than Poppy.

To be clear, I’m just complaining, but the higher rating tells you how much I enjoyed the action bits and world building that’s starting to click together to offset the complaints. If you enjoy more action than surprising romance, this could work for you. The build up to the next book is tremendously well done and I can’t wait to see what will happen for these kingdoms and the players being moved into position.

Overall Recommendation:

A Crown of Gilded Bones is a better sequel than book 2 (and perhaps even book 1). Its focus on world building and knowledge sharing in this new kingdom Poppy finally reaches has my interest piqued. Action follows her every step now with enemies everywhere so it’s more thrilling to flip the pages and find what’s next, including discovering more about her true identity/powers. I do think a lot of the romantic scenes were abruptly slotted in and unnecessary but otherwise, ignoring that, this book is a huge improvement and I’m (moderately) excited to see what comes next.

3 thoughts on “Review: The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout”

  1. It’s good to hear that the series improved – I could be tempted to continue though will probably wait and see what you think of book 4 first. You can suffer and I’ll benefit from it, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s