A Shadow in the Ember by Jennifer L. Armentrout is the first book of the Flesh and Fire series. This book is meant to be read after The Crown of Gilded Bones and before The War of Two Queens. I definitely recommend reading in this order. Like always, I will not have any spoilers for A Shadow in the Ember.
Seraphena Mierel was born in the veil of the Primals as a Maiden that the Fates promised, and her future has never been her own. Before she was even a thought, Sera’s ancestor made a desperate deal in order to save his people. Now she has to leave her life behind and give herself over to the Primal of Death to become his Consort.
Despite being Chosen, Sera’s true destiny is Lasania’s most guarded secret: she’s not a Maiden in need of protection, but a trained assassin with one mission and target. The mission is to have the Primal of Death fall in love with her, become his weakness, and then kill him. If Sera doesn’t complete this mission, then her kingdom is doomed to the slow demise of the Rot.
Sera has never not known what she is: Chosen, Consort, assassin, weapon. She sees herself as phantom that isn’t fully formed and drenched in blood, in other words: a monster. Until she meets him. The Primal of Death’s unanticipated words and actions makes the darkness building inside of her dissipate. Not only that, but his touch sparks a passion that Sera has never let herself feel and one she especially shouldn’t feel for him. However, Sera has never had a say in her destiny. No matter what, her life is forfeit like it has always been, since she has forever been touched by Life and Death.
So, it’s been a month from when I finished reading A Shadow in the Ember and writing this review. I literally couldn’t stop reading this series to write a review. Need to stop doing that, especially for books I enjoy as much as this one. Therefore this review will not be as detailed as reviews I’ve previously posted. I will have this paragraph at the beginning of the reviews that weren’t written immediately after finishing them.
Now, if you’re reading this in the order suggested by the author, which I also recommend, then you have read the Blood and Ash series through The Crown of Gilded Bones. If you’re starting with this series, then it might either be a bit confusing or spoilery for the Blood and Ash series. I’m going to proceed with the order that I read the books, so there will be slight spoilers for the Blood and Ash series through book three.
Sera and the Primal of Death (don’t want to spoil who that is) are the two main characters in A Shadow in the Ember. These two are very similar to Poppy and Casteel, especially Poppy. Despite these characters being very similar, they are different. Sera knows who she is, despite not necessarily liking being trained to be a monster. She has purpose and she allows herself to defy the rules. The Primal of Death is a little unexpected, but still morally gray just how I like them. Since this happens before the events of the From Blood and Ash series, we get a lot of background information that helps makes sense of what we already know about the world. I can’t decide which series and characters I like better, but they definitely are tied right now.
“That I wasn’t the beacon of Royal purity, but rather the wolf dressed as the sacrificial lamb.”
“Animals didn’t judge. They didn’t care about worthiness. They didn’t choose to use or hurt another. They simply lived and expected to either be left alone or loved. That was all.”
“There’s nothing daring about speaking the truth.”
“You’re a blessing, Sera. No matter what anyone says or believes, you are a blessing. You always have been. You need to know that.”
“That life for any being is as fragile as the flame of a candle – easily extinguished and stamped out.”
“It is far easier to be lied to than it is to acknowledge that you have been lied to.”
“A monster wouldn’t care if they were one.”
Star Rating: /5
Spice Rating: /5
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Snag a Copy: I will always suggest getting the hard cover, but buy in any format on Amazon
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