Review of A Shadow in the Ember (Flesh and Fire #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Thank you to Blue Box Press and Social Butterfly PR for sending me an early copy, in exchange for an honest review.
Born shrouded in the veil of the Primals, a Maiden as the Fates promised, Seraphena Mierel’s future has never been hers. Chosen before birth to uphold the desperate deal her ancestor struck to save his people, Sera must leave behind her life and offer herself to the Primal of Death as his Consort.
However, Sera’s real destiny is the most closely guarded secret in all of Lasania—she’s not the well protected Maiden but an assassin with one mission—one target. Make the Primal of Death fall in love, become his weakness, and then…end him. If she fails, she dooms her kingdom to a slow demise at the hands of the Rot.
Sera has always known what she is. Chosen. Consort. Assassin. Weapon. A specter never fully formed yet drenched in blood. A monster. Until him. Until the Primal of Death’s unexpected words and deeds chase away the darkness gathering inside her. And his seductive touch ignites a passion she’s never allowed herself to feel and cannot feel for him. But Sera has never had a choice. Either way, her life is forfeit—it always has been, as she has been forever touched by Life and Death.
EXCUSE ME. I am shook. Y’all this book. It just kept getting better and better. I loved every single moment of it. And JLA was right, I am trash for Nyktos now.
This is the first book in a prequel series to From Blood and Ash, and I must say—I think it’s a must read, even if you’d rather just skip it for more Poppy and Casteel. Trust me! There are revelations and events in this book that directly tie to Poppy and Casteel’s time and I learned so much that has me even more excited to see how that information plays into the next From Blood and Ash book. You might even see a familiar face or two. 😉
I immediately fell in love with Nyktos and love how much his story with Sera paralleled Poppy and Casteel’s. At first, I was a little unsure, but when I realized why the stories were similar I was SHOOK. I had to set my book aside for a few minutes and just breath. I was NOT expecting that and I have so many questions now about what that means for the other books!? *flails*
The romance in this has just the perfect amount of angst and JLA is the queen of giving us little tastes of what’s to come before fully diving in. Some moments in this book are straight up fiery.
I remember JLA saying she thought Nyktos would give Casteel a run for his money and I have to be honest—not only do I feel it, I see it too. *whew* There is a battle in the second half of this book in which Nyktos was giving me serious Geralt vibes and I was GLUED to my book. Yes, he has those broody, mysterious alpha hero vibes but he also gives off vibes like he’s the only adult in the room and he knows it. Like, there is no question he can get the job done. I loved seeing a hero that had those alpha qualities but was also incredibly mature too. It’s hard to explain, but it totally worked for me.
Needless to say, highly recommend this one if you love From Blood and Ash (of course) or other steamy fantasy romance reads like Sarah J Maas, Danielle L Jensen, Laura Thalassa, Raven Kennedy, Scarlett St. Clair, and even Katee Robert. I would still recommend starting with From Blood and Ash before reading this, as I think it gives a better intro into the world, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you enjoy the genre or the authors above!
As a side note, I’ve seen several DNF reviews since release from people upset that Sera and Nyktos’ story seems to parallel Poppy and Casteel’s journey too much. Y’all. That’s intentional. You need to finish the book. (Also, it’s okay for authors to write stories that are similar to other stories of theirs. The romance genre as a whole mostly follows straightforward plot formulas … that isn’t so much what is happening here, but similarities between an author’s work isn’t a sign of bad writing. It’s literally how we identify what a genre even is.)
ABOUT JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT
#1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, hanging out with her husband and her Border Jack Apollo. In early 2015, Jennifer was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and death of cells in the retina, eventually resulting in loss of vision, among other complications. Due to this diagnosis, educating people on the varying degrees of blindness has become of passion of hers, right alongside writing, which she plans to do as long as she can.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Tor, HarperCollins Avon and William Morrow, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her Wicked Series has been optioned by PassionFlix. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. Her adult romantic suspense novel TILL DEATH was an Amazon Editor’s Pick and iBook Book of the Month. Her young adult contemporary THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER is a 2017 RITA Award Winner in Young Adult Fiction. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.
She is the owner of ApollyCon and The Origin Event, the successful annual events that features over a hundred bestselling authors in Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult Fiction, panels, parties, and more.
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