A Shadow in the Ember – Review

Jennifer L. Armentrout’s newest novel, A Shadow in the Ember (ASITE), took us all by storm. The first installment of the prequel series Flesh and Fire predates one of my favorite series, Blood and Ash. This review will contain spoilers, but most are not spoilers if you read the original series.

Shadow in the Ember book cover.

Set in Lasania, many years prior to From Blood and Ash, this book features Seraphena Mierel and Nyktos (Poppy’s grandparents). Sera is a young woman, a maiden, forced to wear a veil and trained to be a Consort and an assassin. As her plans fall apart, Sera must sort out a new destiny for herself. Her future remains a mystery, and with her past unraveling, her life becomes something she could never have imagined.

I love the Blood and Ash series. It’s one of my favorite book series of all time. I went into this book with high expectations. Initially, I felt a tiny bit let down. I was having a hard time understanding what was going on, and it felt very much like From Blood and Ash. That being said, I grew to love the story more and more, and by about halfway through, I became HOOKED. Many book series have a hard time making you love side characters from the start, but this one truly did it. I have the hots for Nektas, Bele inspires me, and I adore Jadis and Reaver-butt.

The character Seraphena sits in a room.
Art by Elizianna

I related a lot to Sera as a character, possibly even more than I related to Poppy. Sera is self-aware and a fighter. She doesn’t back down, even when she is fighting literal Gods because she would rather die trying than let bad things happen to her people, her Kingdom, and those she loves. She’s different from Poppy because she is confident in her looks. Sera knows that she is an attractive woman, and she uses that to her advantage. Instead of being self-conscious, Seraphena uses her beauty to lure and trick enemies, and that is a brilliant scheme.

ASITE was simultaneously predictable and shocking. I thought I knew what would happen (and sometimes I did!), but usually, I did not. All of the “spice” was out of this world, outdoing even the original series. Many readers ended the book upset with Nyktos, but I did not. I know that whatever the future holds for Sera and Nyktos, it will be epic and magical (and I will probably cry). 

There was a lot of negative criticism of this book over a few typos, and I want to remind everyone that writers are human beings! Editors are also human beings! Software is imperfect, so please don’t let a few mistyped words take away your chances at enjoying an awesome fantasy romance. This isn’t a literary novel with deep criticisms of our humanity; it’s not supposed to make you think so hard your head explodes. ASITE is meant to be fun! It’s healthy to read books for not only education but also entertainment. This book is sexy, romantic, and action-packed. 

I will give this novel 4/5 stars and add it to my “favorites” shelf on GoodReads. I enjoyed all of its twists and turns and will be anxiously awaiting the next installment.

Check out Mack’s Musings for more book reviews. Thank you to artist Elizianna for letting us use your artwork for the post. You can find their artwork on Instagram by clicking this link. Stay nerdy!

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