Series: Blood and Ash #3
Published by Blue Box Press on 20th April 2021
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She's been the victim and the survivor…
Poppy never dreamed she would find the love she’s found with Prince Casteel. She wants to revel in her happiness but first they must free his brother and find hers. It’s a dangerous mission and one with far-reaching consequences neither dreamed of. Because Poppy is the Chosen, the Blessed. The true ruler of Atlantia. She carries the blood of the King of Gods within her. By right the crown and the kingdom are hers.
The enemy and the warrior…
Poppy has only ever wanted to control her own life, not the lives of others, but now she must choose to either forsake her birthright or seize the gilded crown and become the Queen of Flesh and Fire. But as the kingdoms’ dark sins and blood-drenched secrets finally unravel, a long-forgotten power rises to pose a genuine threat. And they will stop at nothing to ensure that the crown never sits upon Poppy’s head.
A lover and heartmate…
But the greatest threat to them and to Atlantia is what awaits in the far west, where the Queen of Blood and Ash has her own plans, ones she has waited hundreds of years to carry out. Poppy and Casteel must consider the impossible—travel to the Lands of the Gods and wake the King himself. And as shocking secrets and the harshest betrayals come to light, and enemies emerge to threaten everything Poppy and Casteel have fought for, they will discover just how far they are willing to go for their people—and each other.
And now she will become Queen…
Where do I begin?
First, this entire series is quite a dear ‘verse to me, ever since the first book ripped through my life and never really let go. It was then I thought Jennifer L. Armentrout had something something exceptional going on in this series…until I learned with quite a bit of disbelief that this was going to be a 6-book-long series, which each book stretching easily into double the length of a ’normal’ novel.
And there lies the lure and its turn-off of it.
I adored Poppy and Casteel in the first book; their story was riveting, with a twist on vampire lore written into a ‘corrupted’ version of classical antiquity so that you’d find the narrative uncanny: familiar but not, with characters that encourage you to grow with them as they start a long journey together. 2 books in, and I’m still overwhelmed by the world building which seemed to zig-zag in haphazard directions, circled over and over in terrain both new and familiar until the tracks were absolutely muddied.
In short, it’s complex but not necessarily in a fashion that’s good; in fact, I found the entire arc more and more confusing as the stories wore on, with layer upon layer and twist upon twist that came through. It was as though Armentrout added more and more as she went along, rather than pictured it big and scaled down from the start. The result is a mish-mash of details and information-dumping such that the start and end become lost in a tangled ball of yarn.
Consequently, I went weeks between chapters, coming back to the book when I could and getting riveted by the parts that I was already familiar with; namely the relationships between the characters, then skimming horrendously when the details got too overwhelming to remember. Its sheer length became a mountain of my own to climb and I seriously wavered between leaving it as it was, partly-finished and to be continued only until the entire series is written and wanting to get it over and done with.
Maybe that on its own, was the clearest sign that it wasn’t quite working out.