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.
“Make me feel incompetent and kill more than me, Princess.”
Picking up where From Blood and Ash left off, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire continues Poppy and Hawke’s story as Poppy struggles to process the truth she’s discovered and the lies that were revealed at the end of From Blood and Ash. AKOFAF was a touch slower plot wise than From Blood and Ash, however, I think it was a well needed and well executed trade-off for the fantastic character development that happened with Poppy and Hawke throughout the book and the expanded world building surrounding Atlantia and the rest of Solis.
The development of the creatures, specifically the wolven, was super interesting! They’re a spin on werewolves, obviously, but the way they fit into the mythology of the world is unique and really cool to read about. Same with the Ascended and vamprys.
We got a little deeper look into the mythology of Solis and specifically of Atlantia, which was super helpful. The world JLA has created is so intricate, and the way she delivers this information, in that Poppy is learning this all for the first time, makes it feel natural and less forced. One of the main things that really makes me love these characters is just how much they push one another to be better, and they don’t try to hold each other back. Poppy is badass and sassy and Hawke loves that about her and I love that about both of them.
Poppy’s sass and watching her grow into herself more is definitely one of my favorite parts of the book. Even though the overall plot itself was a bit slower paced, the book never felt slow or like I had to force myself to keep going. The last quarter of the book picked up the pace quite a bit as well, which made up for the slowness of the development at the beginning.
I was always looking forward to what bodily harm Poppy would threaten and who she would threaten next, whether it be Hawke or Kieran. And Kieran is definitely a new favorite character of mine as well! I love his dry humor and interactions with both Hawke and Poppy.
This was a great sequel, great world building, great character development. JLA delivered more excellent writing, some nice steamy romance, and some well-loved tropes (including our favorite “there’s only one bed” trope!). I also love how JLA keeps bringing up Miss Willa’s diary; it gives me life.
The ending was FANTASTIC and I cannot wait to see what happens next in The Crown of Gilded Bones! I was absolutely not expecting this ending!
If you haven’t read From Ash and Blood or AKOFAF, I highly highly recommend them. The third book in the series, The Crown of Gilded Bones, releases April 20th. Keep your eyes peeled for that review soon!
Also, Jennifer has released the first 3 chapters of TCOGB as a preview. You can find them here, but be warned…. you WILL want more.
Have you read From Blood and Ash or AKOFAF yet? Let me know your thoughts!