Review | The War of Two Queens (Blood and Ash #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: The War of Two Queens (Blood and Ash #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Published: March 15, 2022

Genre(s): new adult, fantasy, romance

Read as: ebook, owned

Rating: 5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Description:

War is only the beginning…

From the desperation of golden crowns…

Casteel Da’Neer knows all too well that very few are as cunning or vicious as the Blood Queen, but no one, not even him, could’ve prepared for the staggering revelations. The magnitude of what the Blood Queen has done is almost unthinkable.

And born of mortal flesh…

Nothing will stop Poppy from freeing her King and destroying everything the Blood Crown stands for. With the strength of the Primal of Life’s guards behind her, and the support of the wolven, Poppy must convince the Atlantian generals to make war her way—because there can be no retreat this time. Not if she has any hope of building a future where both kingdoms can reside in peace.

A great primal power rises…

Together, Poppy and Casteel must embrace traditions old and new to safeguard those they hold dear—to protect those who cannot defend themselves. But war is only the beginning. Ancient primal powers have already stirred, revealing the horror of what began eons ago. To end what the Blood Queen has begun, Poppy might have to become what she has been prophesied to be—what she fears the most.

As the Harbinger of Death and Destruction. (Goodreads)

This review will contain spoilers for both this book and the previous books in the series.

Up until this point, the second book in the series, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, was my favorite book in the series. However, I’m fairly sure that The War of Two Queens has nudged it out. Probably. I’m still pondering but, ya’ll, it’s close!

Can we please start with Poppy’s character growth because that was beautiful. In the third book I had issues with her because she was growing and changing and I just didn’t feel like her emotional and cognitive responses to her discoveries and changes tracked with that growth. They felt disconnected and forced. In this book, I did not find that issue. She has settled more comfortably into her power and isn’t afraid to use it. She isn’t perfect, she still makes mistakes, she still gets emotional, but now those responses seem more genuine and in line with her character arc. I appreciated her growth as well as her mistakes as they made her feel like a more well rounded character. This is Poppy becoming comfortable with herself and confident in her choices.

If you read the third book (if you didn’t I don’t understand why you are reading this review but welcome), you will know that Cas was taken captive by the Blood Queen at the end of the book. Going into this one, he is still there and, actually, his time in captivity (of course they free him) was the most interesting he has been in two books. His suffering gave us new insight into his character, how far he can be pushed, his breaking point, and how much fight he has in him. Admittedly, when he is reunited with Poppy his character becomes less interesting because boy that man is absolutely obsessed with his wife but I’m not going to hold that against him too much. She is pretty nifty. I do miss the Cas we got to know in Blood and Ash and Flesh and Fire, though.

Now, if you read my review of the third book in this series I complained at no end how wishy-washy and limp the male characters were written. It was as if their personalities had been sucked dry, especially Kieran. That issue was mostly addressed in this book as he was given a new focus while maintaining the snarky demeanor he had initially been written with. Kieran is brave, strong, intelligent, and loyal. Add that to his sparks of humor and he is downright irresistible.

If I had any complaint, and this is just me nitpicking, it is that the support characters we have grown to love weren’t given much in the way of page time. Netta is mentioned frequently but she is actually only on page herself for a couple of paragraphs which is tragic. You will also remember Delano who is in this book more often but mostly in Wolven form so you don’t really get into his head or personality much.

There is a lot I could say about this book if I allowed myself to continue rambling. But, in a nutshell, I loved it. I certainly went in to this one with some trepidation as I did not enjoy the third book but I got sucked into this story quickly and quite literally forgot to eat or do pretty much anything else until I turned that last page. As a side note, if you haven’t read the first book of the companion series, A Shadow in the Ember, I would highly recommend it before diving into this one. There are many plot and character tie-ins that are relevant. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series!

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