I read the recently (ish) released A War of Two Queens by Jennifer L Armentrout, the 4th book in the Blood and Ash series. Tiktok had an awful lot to say about this book, some things not so positive but I honestly didn’t understand what their problem was.

This book review/ the book topic in general is definitely not safe for under 18’s, please go away.

A summary attempt- should be spoiler free…

For summaries/ thoughts on book 1, 2 and 3 click here

Casteel is still in the grasp of the Blood Queen at the start of the book, after being captured in the final events in book 3. Poppy knows she cannot just go charging in after him, so instead, uses the Atlantian army and Wolven to help free the people under the Blood Queen’s rule, city by city. She is followed by rumours of a prophecy, that she is a harbinger of death and destruction and Poppy find herself having to fight the darker aspects of her power, which they still don’t fully understand. With Keiran at her side, they seek to free everyone of the Blood Queen’s tyranny and free Casteel in the process. As the story progresses, there are multiple revelations about the origin of Poppy’s power, who she is really descended from and who is really pulling the strings behind the Queen’s plot.

My thoughts- probably not spoiler free, you have been warned

So, I would say the pace at the start wasn’t great and with Casteel out of the narrative for the most part, we were missing some of the great banter/ spice scenes these books are loved for. However, I will caveat that thought by acknowledging that this is there will be 6 books total, and this book is probably setting up a lot of the world building etc needed to ramp up into the final 2. This was one of Tiktok’s biggest whinges.

Casteel’s absence also gave Keiran and Poppy time to bond, which was obviously intended to lead into the infamous ‘joining’ – a ceremony that binds in blood the life force of a person (or persons) to the longest living/ most powerful being, which can *sometimes* become quite… heated. Now, they have been hinting at this particular scene since the end of book 1 and given how, um, graphic, other spicy scenes in these books are, Tiktok felt very let down by the joining. There was a lot of vague metaphors and foggy recollections of hands and *things* being places but not who they belonged to etc etc. If this effect was intentional, to create the idea of being swept up into the *magic* of the joining, then fair play, you will hear no argument from me. However, if that’s not true, I’m very much of the opinion: why write in a threesome that you spent 3 books building up to if you weren’t going to go for it as… enthusiastically, as the other spice scenes?

Otherwise, the book was enjoyable, there were some cool plot twists, most of which I understood why they happened and I think they were hinted at enough for it not to be worth making the fuss some tiktoker’s made over it. I think the author has actually improved her writing by this book, there’s very little tacky, expositional, dialogue and bit more of events being described as they happen, instead of retrospectively in monologue style in Poppy’s head. These books were never meant to be high brow literature but the plot is interesting, the world its set in is quite unique and the characters are enjoyable. These are fun books and we don’t need to get too deep about it, to be honest.