In this The War of Two Queens book review, I will be sharing my thoughts on the fourth book in Jennifer L Armentrout’s Blood and Ash series. As per usual I will keep spoilers to a minimum, however, there may still be small spoilers.
“Regret came when it was time to face consequences. Guilt was there no matter if one paid for their sins or not.”Jennifer L Armentrout “The War of Two Queens”
I started reading the Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L Armentrout last year after reading through A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas. This is the fourth book in this series; however the Flesh and Fire series does intertwine with Blood and Ash, I recommend reading A Shadow in the Ember before reading this book.
Find my previous reviews here:
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:
- Child Death
- Narcissistic Mother
- Sexually Explicit Scenes
For a list of the triggers I look for you can check out this link here. This may or may not be a complete list of triggers for this book, I do my best to make sure I mark anything that could be a potential trigger but I may accidentally miss triggers.
Synopsis and Author
After Casteel was taken by the Blood Queen, Poppy will need to manage leading a war as well as finding a way to free her heartmate. While planning a war she also needs to learn to control her growing powers and not become the thing she fears most, a harbinger and bringer of death and destruction.
Jennifer L Armentrout gives us the fourth book in the Blood and Ash series. As of right now this series will have 6 books plus 3 in the Flesh and Fire series which is a prequel to the Blood and Ash series.
The official reading order for these two series as of right now are:
- From Blood and Ash
- A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
- A Crown of Gilded Bones
- A Shadow in the Ember
- The War of Two Queens
The War of Two Queens Reading Experience
All of this story is based in Solis where Poppy is leading the war efforts to destroy the blood crown. Unlike the last three books in this series though, we are getting both Poppy and Casteel’s point of views.
We move through different areas of Solis as Poppy directs her generals and the Atlantian armies to fight a different kind of war that is less about killing everyone and more about offering chances for people within Solis to live.
The book starts off moving pretty good but hits a slow point pretty quickly. There were parts that felt like fluff in order to fill in the story. However, Jennifer L Armentrout often will have parts that feel like fluff only to become necessary for the next book. It’s this fluff though that seems to slow the story down a lot.
The overall theme for this book is definitely war. We are in the beginning stages of war and Poppy is trying to save as many as she can, trying to get her heartmate back, and learning how to control her powers all at the same time.
The War of Two Queens is around 630 pages in the ebook and 50 chapters. These chapters felt long even though on average they are only about 12 pages. For me though, I rarely realized I had moved on to the next chapter which often happens with Jennifer L Armentrout books.
There were places where there was a lot of description that felt unnecessary and places where there could have been more. I wish we could have seen more world building for these new locations inside Solis, what we did get felt like it was an afterthought added in. However, we got a lot of internal monologue where I felt it wasn’t really necessary. That internal dialogue felt like over-explaining emotions the character was feeling.
I enjoyed the book and it took me about a day and a half to read it. However, this was a book that I didn’t really have a hard time putting down to take a break. There were a few points of laughter and only a couple of places where I cried towards the end. However, I didn’t get overly emotional with this book which is odd because I have with the last three books.
The War of Two Queens Book Review
As per usual, Poppy and Casteel top my favorite characters list for these books. However, at the end of The Crown of Gilded Bones we got a glimpse into the badassery that Poppy was turning into and the first half of this book did not reflect that at all.
To be honest it felt like Poppy was depressed, and maybe she was which would be understandable, but we didn’t get to see Poppy as the strong god we saw at the end of TCOGB. If it was a depression that she was dealing with I feel that could have been made a bit more clearer.
Kieran is wonderful in this book. I actually really wish we had gotten his point of view as well. He came in as a strong emotional support for Poppy, helping her deal with her husband’s capture. Their friendship grows into a stronger connection beyond just the Primal notam. It’s because of his own experience with the previous capture of Casteel that he is able to help Poppy through this capture.
The love that is shared between Casteel, Poppy, and Kieran is absolutely different from that of normal familial and friendship love. It’s the type of love you have for your chosen family and the most important people in your life. I felt it was accurately described in this book which made a certain scene even better.
Delano and Perry are just so cute and I wish we had more from them. I like the dynamic between Poppy and Delano but I felt we were missing out and there could have been more.
Reaver is fantastic. He’s dark, unabashed, and blunt. I like the animosity between him and Kieran. It feels very much like siblings or two friends fighting over their best friend.
There were very few parts in this book where we got the dialogue and dynamic of the relationships between the characters. I would have liked to see more from Tawny, Vonetta, Emil, Naill, and Sven. Additionally, there were parts with the Generals that I felt were almost like fluff and it has me wondering if we will be getting more on that in a future book.
Isbeth takes the cake for my most hated character. She has the whole abusive mother personality down pat. If you have narcissistic mother trauma this might trigger that for you. So be aware.
At first I did not know what to feel about Callum. I thought he was another pawn in the games Isbeth plays and would be dismissed like some of her other pawns. However, it became very clear that he is more than a pawn and will likely be a problem.
In the last book all we got was a few quiet reactions from Malik, in this book we get quite a bit more. Am I on team Malik? No. However, I hope that he will actually grow on me and become a character I like.
Millicent gives off really weird vibes in this book and I kinda like it. I don’t want to spoil anything but I think she is a character that will likely grow on me through the remainder of the series.
While I can understand why certain characters are missing, I did feel like the dynamic between all the characters outside of Poppy, Casteel, Keiran, and Reaver was just lacking a bit. There wasn’t enough dialogue to really feel out these characters, at least not until the end.
I also felt like the world building was lacking a bit with some of the newer areas that we haven’t yet been to. The story moved pretty slowly through most of the book and even when it picked up towards the end it wasn’t mind-blowing or as intense as things have been in previous books.
Additionally, I didn’t find myself nearly as emotional in this book as I have been in previous books in this series. Now, I have read a lot of emotionally draining books so far this year so I may just be dead inside at the moment. I will likely update this review when I do a re-read of the entire series later in the Fall.
If you like high fantasy with gods, vampire-like references, and dragons, this series is going to be for you.
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.
The War of Two Queens gets a 4 from me for now. I like where the story is going, I liked a lot of plot points, but I wouldn’t say that this is as good as the first or second books in this series. I think of all the books in the series this one was my least favorite. However, after I re-read the series this Fall I may update this.
- I liked the growth between Keiran and Poppy.
- There were a few twists I didn’t see coming that were a nice addition to the story.
- I liked the way this book ended, it felt complete while still giving the reader something to look forward to.
- The dialogue and world building felt a little lazy in this book compared to the previous books in the series.
- There were some parts to this book that appeared to be bigger deals than what they were.
Final Thoughts on The War of Two Queens
I’ve read a lot of emotionally draining books recently so I don’t know if my lack of emotion through this book was with the writing or because I’m dead inside at this time. This book didn’t feel like the rest, and it didn’t read like the rest until the ending.
The story seems to be going somewhere interesting and this book was leading us there, but it felt like there was quite a bit of fluff in order to fill out the book. I’m hoping to do a full re-read later in the Fall and I will update this post with my feelings then, I’m hoping it’s me and not that this book was just that off. Or maybe it’s a combination of the two.
If you’ve read The War of Two Queens feel free to leave your spoiler free thoughts in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your favorite book boards.