Published: September 1st, 2020
Genre(s): New adult, fantasy, romance
Read as: ebook, owned
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.
“He was the first thing I’d ever truly chosen for myself.”
My mouth is still agape after finishing this book. When I read From Blood and Ash back in April I was entranced by the story and fell in love with its characters, setting, and all of the fine little details that turn a collection of words on a page into a feast for the imagination. I thought that there was no way that A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire could exceed what I had found in the first book. I am overjoyed to report that I was very wrong.
I have read this book twice now in an attempt to make logical sense of my feelings and, to be honest, I’m not sure I can. I just truly love this story. Is it full of tropes? Yes, absolutely, all of my favorites. We have soul bonding, fake relationship, enemies to lovers, and my favorite (wording taken from Tasha Suri) one of them is Darkly Evil But Not Actually Just Misunderstood.
One thing I adore about this story, outside of the obvious and intense sexual tension and amazing sex scenes, is the relationship/fake relationship between our two main characters, Casteel and Poppy. Casteel is a warrior prince, determined to save his kingdom and his brother from the evil vampry. At the same time he is quite the broken soul trying to keep himself together without letting any of the balls he has in the air fall in the meantime. He isn’t always successful but he does his very best.
In the same breath we have Poppy. The former Maiden trying to figure out who she is and what she wants from life now that she has learned the truth of her former captors. Poppy is learning that she is strong, fierce, opinionated, curious, and that she has a good heart and just wants to help people. Her desire to save not only the people of Casteel’s kingdom but free the people of Solis from the vampry is in stark contrast to the warrior she is on the battlefield but both halves make the same coin. Seeing Poppy find herself and take steps for the first time in her life toward what she wants and desires is glorious.
Between these two, the story blossoms. Poppy has to make some difficult decisions when it comes to Casteel and he has to sort through his own feelings which involve saving his brother to get to the heart of what he feels for Poppy. Neither character makes it easy on themselves but their interactions are the fuel of this story. And while, as I mentioned, the sexual scenes are the stuff of fantasies at the same time seeing them orbit each other and slowly be pulled into the other’s gravity made my sad little heart soar.
Outside of the Poppy and Casteel interactions we also have a war threatening between Solis and Atlantia. Armentrout shows some of the cost of war which is, unfortunately, lives. Some of those lives are ones that we have grown close to in the story and it hurts. We get to see both of our main characters in the heat of battle and Casteel’s trust in Poppy. He trusts her to have his back and does not make her stay away from the bloodshed, instead he hands her the weapons himself fully aware of her prowess with them.
I loved this book intensely and the ending set things up beautifully for the sequel. The story has such character growth and you cannot help but get caught up every page. Between the looming war, romance, and the machinations that have been growing in the background I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. I cannot recommend these books enough.