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.

Continue reading “Review: The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout”
2 star, NA

Review: Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: Blood and Ash #2

A Betrayal…

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.

A Choice…

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.

A Secret…

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.

Overall Recommendation:

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?

3 star, NA

Review: From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: Blood and Ash #1

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who came into this book due to the hype surrounding the series. So I will try to keep this short and concise because I’m sure someone out there already wrote their exact feelings somewhere.

Poppy, whose full name is so hard to pronounce and spell, can ultimately be described in two words: virgin and stubborn.

One, I have no idea why it’s the BIGGEST deal in this book, especially when it becomes VERY clear that she does not care about that aspect of herself very much if she had her way.

Continue reading “Review: From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout”