A Shadow in the Ember Book Review

Adult Fantasy Book Review - A Shadow in the Ember Book Review - Flesh and Blood Series by Jennifer L Armentrout

In this A Shadow In The Ember book review I share my thoughts on the first book in the Flesh and Fire series by Jennifer L Armentrout. I will try my hardest to keep this review as spoiler free as I can, but as always, there may be a few small spoilers.

“It is far easier to be lied to than it is to acknowledge that you have been lied to.”

Jennifer L Armentrout, A Shadow In The Ember

I wasn’t going to pick up A Shadow In The Ember because I typically don’t like to read books that only have one book in the series published. I like to get into them either a couple of books in or after it’s finished. I had to make an exception for the beginning of the Flesh and Fire series.

While I anxiously await the arrival of The War of Two Queens I decided I would go ahead and start this prequel series. I could not be more glad that I did. Going into the fourth book of the Blood and Ash series there are things that I feel A Shadow in the Ember helps you to understand about the Blood and Ash world.

A Shadow in the Ember Book Cover on Tablet

Trigger Warnings

Since we don’t always get trigger warnings on books I like to give trigger warnings in my reviews. This can help people avoid certain triggers that could hurt their mental well being.

Possible Triggers in this book are:

  • Alcohol
  • Blood
  • Bones
  • Child Death (including infant death)
  • Death
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Murder
  • Physical Abuse
  • Prostitution
  • Sexually Explicit Scenes
  • Skeletons
  • Snakes
  • Starvation
  • Suicide
  • Violence

For a list of the triggers I look for you can check out this link here.

Synopsis and Author

Thousands of years before the Gods slept there was a maiden, born shrouded in a veil, she was to be the consort of the Primal of Death to fulfill a deal made hundreds of years before her birth. Except that’s not what Sera was raised to do.

Her mission to save her country is to make the Primal of Death fall in love with her, become his weakness, and then kill him.

Things don’t go as planned though and Sera has to deal with the consequences. Fate, however, has different plans and Sera’s life has always been forfeit. 

Jennifer L Armentrout gives us the story that takes place before her Blood and Ash series with this new Flesh and Fire series. Once again we step into the world before it was Solis and Atlantia to learn of the Primals and Gods.

A Shadow In The Ember Reading Experience

The book takes place in Lasania and Iliseeum. 

The first half of A Shadow in the Ember takes place in Carsodionia . Long ago a King called upon the Gods to help heal the land as it was suffering from Rot. Rot is a disease that killed the land and made it unfit for growing. 

What answered that King was the Primal of Death who would make a deal so long as the first daughter born of the Mierel bloodline be given to the primal as a consort. Upon the birth of this daughter the Rot started to make its return.

We are taken from a castle, through a city, into farmlands, and into a forest in this land and the world building is ok. While the nature portions of the world building seem to be spot on there are some things that are left to the imagination about cities and the buildings. 

I would have liked to see a bit more description of smaller locations, though the world building was enough that you could make up your own visuals as you go.

The second half of the book is located in the Shadowlands of Iliseeum. Specifically in the House of Haides. The house is bigger than a castle and where the Primal of Death lives. The descriptions here were perfect. Jennifer L Armentrout gave us exactly what we needed to imagine the castle.

The entirety of the book is according to Sera’s perspective, just her. Jennifer L Armentrout did an absolutely fantastic job of writing this character. I connected with Sera, actually felt her emotions, and absolutely was on her side throughout the entire book.

The plot and relationship here is closely in line with the Poppy and Casteel relationship from the Blood and Ash series. However, Jennifer L Armentrout has revealed there is a strong reason for this similar story. Though it’s extremely hard to choose between Casteel and Ash.

The main theme of this book is absolutely fate vs free will. Will Sera follow what fate tells her she must do? Or will she take control of her life and do as she wills?

Writing Style

This book is around 700 pages on a tablet with about 45 medium to long chapters. I will say that the way this book moved I actually didn’t even notice where chapters began and ended so it was really hard to put the book down.

The story was a little too easy to read because it did not take me long to get through the book. However, for an easy read it wasn’t filled with fluff or unnecessary parts. The writing style in this book provided all the details in a way that just kept it easily moving. 

On the final night of reading this I couldn’t put the book down and ended up staying up till almost 4 am to finish it. That was a mess up on my part, but it was absolutely worth it.

A Shadow In The Ember Book Review

Right off the bat I loved Sera, she was snarky, dark, witty, and showed no fear. I really love her. I cannot wait for this fall when the second book comes out and I can continue to follow her story. 

The same can be said for Ash, however, I did feel at a certain point that Ash was absolutely being an ass. It’s understandable, but still I was not pleased with him. Which is fantastic for an author to be able to do to me. It’s like I’m Sera’s bff so I’m naturally protective over her and want to beat the crap out of Ash for being a dumbass.

The draken… they are everything and I love them. I need to have an actual draken in my life.

As far as characters I hate… basically anyone who tries to harm or speaks down to Sera. They can all go straight to hell. I hate all of them and I hope they get what’s coming to them.

For characters that I can see growing on me as the series progresses. I would like to see more from all of the guards that were mentioned in this book from the Shadowlands. Some of them have great personalities that I personally believe are going to be great through the whole series.

Jennifer L Armentrout hit this one out of the park. While we are getting a whole new story we are also getting answers to questions we have in the Blood and Ash series. It’s being tied together so perfectly while making us fall for these amazing characters.

If you like the Blood and Ash series this is absolutely a fantastic prequel to read with it. If you like high fantasy with a good amount of spice this is a book you would likely enjoy.

A Shadow in the Ember Book Cover

Star Rating

Before I rate this book I want to give you a bit of background about what my rankings mean. I typically read books that I check out through the Libby app with my local library or through Kindle Unlimited. 

I rarely buy ebooks unless they are cheaply priced or on sale. I also very rarely buy physical copies of books. I’m a bit of a minimalist so I have to absolutely adore a book to buy a physical copy that will be proudly displayed in my home.

So my ranking system is as follows:

  • 5 Stars equals I am buying a physical copy of this book. I will read this book at least 10 more times, it is the best ever.
  • 4 stars equals a great book. I might buy an ebook version when it’s on sale so that I can re-read it at least one more time.
  • 3 stars equals a good book. I likely won’t read again but I appreciate the story.
  • 2 stars equals “Meh.” I will not read this book again, it had a lot of problems and I did not care for it.
  • 1 star equals a bad book. I barely finished this book and I will never recommend anyone waste valuable book reading time on this book.
  • 0 stars is a did not finish book. I will never finish that book and it is banished.

A Shadow In The Ember gets 5 stars from me. It’s a fantastic story that I couldn’t put down where I felt real heartbreaking emotions and absolutely fell in love with the characters. 


  • Sera is an amazing main character.
  • The Draken
  • The plot
  • The spice was very good, lots of tension building.


  • There is an infant death in this book.

Final Thoughts on A Shadow In The Ember

Jennifer L Armentrout did an amazing job writing this story. From the prologue I was absolutely hooked on this book and had a hard time putting it down. The story moved at a steady pace with a few parts moving a bit faster. The spice was A+. 

Again Jennifer has left me absolutely dying to know what happens next. Leaving us on a cliffhanger that has our mouths dropped open and fear running through our veins is painful in only the best ways.

Blood and Ash Series Reviews:

Have you read A Shadow In The Ember? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your favorite book boards.

Adult Fantasy Book Review - A Shadow in the Ember Book Review - Flesh and Blood Series by Jennifer L Armentrout

Flesh and Blood Series by Jennifer L Armentrout - Adult Fantasy Book Review - A Shadow in the Ember Book Review

A Shadow in the Ember Book Review - Flesh and Blood Series by Jennifer L Armentrout - Adult Fantasy Book Review


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