A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire

Also known as: a kingdom of so much stuff happened in this book that I can’t even begin to dive into it all.

Whoa… It’s been a minute since I last posted, but it really feels like it’s been ages. I don’t know about you guys, but I couldn’t get a single thing done last week. Whatever you consider productive to be… I was the opposite of that. Whenever I get really bad anxiety and I get super stressed, I go into paralyzed mode. I lock up and a million different things are racing through my mind, but I can’t focus on a single thing so I end up just sitting and staring in existential dread. And the funny thing about this is that I KNOW I’m like this, but I can’t stop myself. So naturally, during our extremely stressful election week, I was pretty much just good for hitting the refresh button on social media. It’s not up for debate whether or not I should have distracted myself a little bit more (obviously YES) but here we are and we are finally past that hell. Send help if you know how to bypass your internal lockdown hard drive. 

Moving on to the main topic of today’s discussion, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire. First off, we all love enemies to lovers, right? But what happens when they eventually fall in love… they get boring, right? Well, thank you Jennifer L. Armentrout for keeping it VERY interesting between Poppy and Casteel during AKOFAF. Poppy now knows who Cas is, what his original intent for her was, and she hates him with a passion. To be honest, she was a little bit annoying during this first half of the book… we know she’s still attracted to Cas, but she kept acting like she’s not. She also did some dumb stuff, like try to run away with no supplies in the dead of winter. I’m grateful that these annoying actions kept it tense between her and Cas, though. Per usual, I loved Casteel during every second of this book. I will say it, Poppy and Cas being “heartmates” is incredibly cliche… for as much as I enjoyed the different spin on the supernatural, that was something I internally rolled my eyes at. 

There were so many supporting characters introduced in this book (borderline too many… but not complaining too much). I loved Kieran, and I enjoyed his central presence in the story. I could have had more of his witty comments, and I did like his growing friendship with Poppy. I’m low-key suspicious of Alistair… he’s been nothing but nice to Poppy, but there’s something off about him and his actions. He’s too buddy-buddy with Casteel’s parents, and the way he reminds Poppy of Viktir is too coincidental. We’ll see if my intuition is correct in the third book. 

One thing I both liked and disliked about AKOFAF was the length of the story. On one hand, so much stuff happened within this novel and we learned a wealth of new information about Poppy and Casteel and the two countries. On the other hand… it was almost too long and towards the end of the story I was getting a little bit bored and distracted. I can’t even begin to muse about the majority of this book, otherwise this post would be WAY too long. I almost feel like it could have been split into a couple books, with a bit more nail biters thrown in. I did learn a lot more about the different lines of Atlantians, and why there are so many with different powers. It was interesting to learn more of the history behind the two nations and how the gods were tied into it all. 

In my From Blood and Ash post (ayyyyeee go read it now), I speculated why the Maiden was so important to the Ascended… and I thought it was only because they wanted to use her special half-Atlantian blood for the Ascension. However, we almost know less about Poppy after this book… Her powers kept evolving so much throughout the story. She went from being able to take pain away, to sensing allllllll the emotions from everyone, to full blown healing, and then finally, to whatever the hell that stunt was at the end of the story. There’s such a mystery behind her parents and the fact that she may be the Queen of Solis’s granddaughter (???), and her odd approval from the gods. I don’t understand any of it, and I’m looking forward to some answers in the third book. 

For as bored as I got during the last half of the story, the very end woke me up and had me backtracking. I figured the wolven would show up, as they did during the battle at Spessa’s End (ummmm why? We still don’t know)… but I didn’t expect Poppy to full blown decimate her attackers. Then the sky started bleeding. Then the King and Queen showed up, along with Casteel and Alistair… and then they all bowed to Poppy??? And proclaimed her the new queen because she’s the last descendent of the gods? I expect a lot of answers in the third book because that ending was a TRIP. I don’t understand any of it. Overall, this was a decent second book that I felt should have been split into several books. While so much happened in this story, none of it compared to the ending, and I’m so intrigued to find out Poppy’s fate in the third book. Let me know if you felt the same way about the length of the story, or if you liked it just the way it was!

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