A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Why on earth would I continue to read a series when I had so many issues with the first book? That’s the question I asked myself as I picked up A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, the second book in the Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I picked up From Blood and Ash for a couple of bucks
(read my review here), and did the same with A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire. I’m not really a fantasy reader, but for the price, I expanded my reading horizons.

From the publisher: “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 listened to this audiobook and had the same issues with the narrator as the last book. She sounds so young and unbelievable as Poppy. I know she’s only about 19 in the story, but she sounds like she’s 15. And her internal dialogue just never shut up! It’s a constant stream of consciousness that gets old quick. And this book is over 600 pages long. Heaven help me.

And you’d think a book that is over 600 pages long, some stuff would happen, but that’s not the case. Nothing happens for the majority of the book. Poppy and Casteel (I still prefer his original name, Hawke) are traveling, and there’s very little action, just Poppy’s wonderings and constantly asking questions, and threatening to stab someone. Which, it turns out, turns Casteel on, so you know it’s just a matter of time before the two hook up again. And the sex scenes are so dramatic they are laughable. Literally having sex during a big battle ON THE BATTLEFIELD.

Poppy’s character seems to have regressed from being a well-drawn out empowering female character to someone who only seems to have only one trait: she’s violent and wants to stab people. Every time you turn around, Poppy’s threatening to hurt someone. It got old quick, and it happened repeatedly. That and her constant asking of questions. This book could have been 300 pages thinner with some editing. It did not have to be this long.

I’m going to continue with the series just out of curiosity’s sake, but if there’s anything A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire has taught me is that I have to be more selective when choosing a genre I normally don’t read.

This is the 41st Audiobook I’ve listened to as part of my 2021 Audiobook Challenge.

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