Monday, March 14, 2022

Review: The War of Two Queens by Jennifer L. Armentrout

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher: Blue Box Press
Release Date: March 15th 2022 
Pages: 632
Source: Paperback 


From the desperation of golden crowns…

Casteel Da’Neer knows all too well that very few are as cunning or vicious as the Blood Queen, but no one, not even him, could’ve prepared for the staggering revelations. The magnitude of what the Blood Queen has done is almost unthinkable.

And born of mortal flesh…

Nothing will stop Poppy from freeing her King and destroying everything the Blood Crown stands for. With the strength of the Primal of Life’s guards behind her, and the support of the wolven, Poppy must convince the Atlantian generals to make war her way—because there can be no retreat this time. Not if she has any hope of building a future where both kingdoms can reside in peace.

A great primal power rises…

Together, Poppy and Casteel must embrace traditions old and new to safeguard those they hold dear—to protect those who cannot defend themselves. But war is only the beginning. Ancient primal powers have already stirred, revealing the horror of what began eons ago. To end what the Blood Queen has begun, Poppy might have to become what she has been prophesied to be—what she fears the most.

As the Harbinger of Death and Destruction. 
BUY LINKS: Goodreads



READING TUNE: Casteel's song - Give by Sleep Token


The click and drag of claws drew closer as the weak flame above the lone candle sputtered and then went out, pitching the cell into darkness.


“𝐹𝓇𝑜𝓂 𝒷𝓁𝑜𝑜𝒹 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝒶𝓈𝒽... 𝓌𝑒 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝓇𝒾𝓈𝑒𝓃!”

To start, THE WAR OF TWO QUEENS is the fourth book in the BLOOD & ASH series.

My mind is blown. Head up: this review is definitely giving ranty vibes. There is a lot to process in this book. Unfortunately, I am not able to write a spoiler-free review. I need to rant and rave about everything that happened in THE WAR OF TWO QUEENS and the emotions that it evoked or I will explode! 

Revelations. And changes. So many changes. Mostly good, incredibly interesting changes. But some that were hard to swallow.

𝐻𝒶𝓇𝒹 𝓉𝑜 𝒮𝓌𝒶𝓁𝓁𝑜𝓌:

*The Joining a.k.a a threesome between Poppy, Cas, and Kieran.

“𝒯𝒽𝑒 𝑜𝓃𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝓌𝑜𝓊𝓁𝒹 𝓉𝒾𝑒 𝒽𝒾𝓈 𝓁𝒾𝒻𝑒𝓈𝓅𝒶𝓃 𝓉𝑜 𝓂𝒾𝓃𝑒 𝓈𝑜 𝓃𝑒𝒾𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓇 𝒞𝒶𝓈𝓉𝑒𝑒𝓁 𝓃𝑜𝓇 𝐼 𝓌𝑜𝓊𝓁𝒹 𝑒𝓋𝑒𝓇 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝓉𝑜 𝓈𝒶𝓎 𝑔𝑜𝑜𝒹𝒷𝓎𝑒 𝓉𝑜 𝒽𝒾𝓂. 𝒯𝒽𝑒 𝒥𝑜𝒾𝓃𝒾𝓃𝑔.”

No. Just no. When I tell you I knew it was coming as the book grew closer to the end, the anxiety and dread I felt about having to read that scene. Cas and Kieran are next-level bonded and close—he trusts him and loves him implicitly. I get it. I really do. But Cas sharing his wife? Allowing Kieran to fuck his wife? Poppy? Being a-okay with Kieran harboring ongoing sexual and romantic love feelings for her? That doesn’t sit right with me. How do you give me one version Casteel for the first 3 books then change of his M.O. like that? My brain and heart can’t reconcile the two versions. Listen, Casteel was like “What’s mine is yours… including my wife!” to Kieran. And I just wasn’t here for it. At all. 

Does this mean they’ll be a throuple? Because I didn’t sign up for that when I started this series and grew attached to Casteel and Poppy as a pair. It would have been different if that was clearly the intent and vibe from the beginning. 

I could have understood The Joining if it remained non-sexual. I still wouldn’t have liked it, but I would have understood. Kieran is their best friend and they want to keep him alive. But as soon as it became sexual, that all went out o the window. Honestly, I wished it never happened and Kieran got his own mate instead, which I think would be interesting.


Seraphena is the true Primal of Life—I figure this was the case since it was alluded to in A SHADOW IN THE EMBER. Still, it was pretty awesome how she came through to save Poppy & Co. to fight another day.

“𝒯𝑜 𝓈𝓅𝑒𝒶𝓀 𝒽𝑒𝓇 𝓃𝒶𝓂𝑒 𝒾𝓈 𝓉𝑜 𝒷𝓇𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓈𝓉𝒶𝓇𝓈 𝒻𝓇𝑜𝓂 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓈𝓀𝒾𝑒𝓈 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓉𝑜𝓅𝓅𝓁𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓂𝑜𝓊𝓃𝓉𝒶𝒾𝓃𝓈 𝒾𝓃𝓉𝑜 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓈𝑒𝒶.”


Poppy has always been a badass who I could strongly empathize with and connect with. I love her character and what she stands for. She is strong, brave, fierce, loyal, and she’s not infallible even though she’s powerful. The finale when she comes into her nearly final form is so fucking epic! The emotional heartstrings that were tugged on man. 

“𝒯𝒽𝒾𝓈 𝒸𝑜𝓁𝒹, 𝒶𝒸𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒽𝑜𝓁𝓁𝑜𝓌𝓃𝑒𝓈𝓈 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝒽𝒶𝒹 𝓌𝑜𝓀𝑒𝓃 𝒾𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓁𝒶𝓈𝓉 𝓉𝓌𝑒𝓃𝓉𝓎-𝓉𝒽𝓇𝑒𝑒 𝒹𝒶𝓎𝓈. 𝐼𝓉 𝓉𝒶𝓈𝓉𝑒𝒹 𝓁𝒾𝓀𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓅𝓇𝑜𝓂𝒾𝓈𝑒 𝑜𝒻 𝓇𝑒𝓉𝓇𝒾𝒷𝓊𝓉𝒾𝑜𝓃. 𝒪𝒻 𝓌𝓇𝒶𝓉𝒽.”

Casteel has his own POV!!! I repeat: Casteel has his own POV!!! And Gods, it is glorious! I fell for him even more—minus the whole I’m cool with sharing my wife with Kieran bit. I love being able to see how he worships Poppy from inside of his own head. It is addictive.

"'𝐼 𝓂𝒾𝓈𝓈𝑒𝒹 𝓎𝑜𝓊,' 𝓈𝒽𝑒 𝓂𝓊𝓇𝓂𝓊𝓇𝑒𝒹. 
𝑀𝓎 𝒽𝑒𝒶𝓇𝓉. 
𝐻𝑒𝓇 𝓋𝑜𝒾𝒸𝑒. 
𝐼𝓉 𝒸𝒶𝓁𝓂𝑒𝒹 𝓂𝑒. 
𝐿𝑜𝓌𝑒𝓇𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓂𝓎 𝒽𝒶𝓃𝒹𝓈, 𝐼 𝒸𝓊𝓇𝓁𝑒𝒹 𝒶𝓃 𝒶𝓇𝓂 𝒶𝓇𝑜𝓊𝓃𝒹 𝒽𝑒𝓇 𝒷𝒶𝒸𝓀, 𝓈𝑜𝒶𝓀𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒾𝓃 𝒽𝑒𝓇 𝓌𝒶𝓇𝓂𝓉𝒽 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓈𝑜𝒻𝓉𝓃𝑒𝓈𝓈. '𝐼 𝓂𝒾𝓈𝓈 𝓎𝑜𝓊.'"


This book was a lot of getting pieces of the plot game in the correct positions. On both of Isbeth’s and Poppy’s parts as well as JLA’s as she set us up for the epic finale. Unfortunately, it was a lot of flatline plot, where The two queens bickering and pressed buttons but nothing major actions plot-wise. A few things we got to see mature was Poppy growing into her own as a Queen and as a foretold eather being, as well as her growing closer with Kieran during Casteel’s absence. That first part was well done fr the mostpart. The second part with Poppy's relationship with Kieran was weird for me. For three books Kieran was teasing but not unkind. He was loyal and protective. What I expect at this point in the series and under these circumstances (Casteel having been kidnapped) was a full-fledged best friendship with maybe an unbreakable bond. Not all of the touchy-feely, kisses on the forehead, caressing cheeks from Kieran. Someone even mentions Kieran sounds like her husband, to which Poppy responds by saying their relationship and feelings were complicated. It was weird for me honestly. But I know why it was done—The Joining. . . 

And now we’re back to my rant.

The thing is, I might’ve, could’ve, maybe begrudgingly come to terms with it because Kieran is their best friend and Poppy wanted to save him. But for it to turn into a sexual and/or throuple situation? It’s a hard no for me. I am confused and repulsed by the dynamic of the three’s relationship. I was fully invested in the Casteel and Poppy as a duo pair. The always and forever, heartmates, don’t touch or you get stabbed or your heart ripped out, don’t cover or you die status of their relationship. I was never warned or prepared for a throuple.

So, that was my major qualm with the book but it was actually a really good book that I truly enjoyed. It's just not my favorite in the series for the obvious reason stated above. After finishing the book, I honestly felt unsettled. Betrayed even. But also, I really enjoyed the book as well as still love this series and the characters. The plot was interesting. Heartstrings were pulled. We got dragons and the prick Reaver we all love. *Reaverbutt* Bad characters got their comeuppance. We got a new heartmate revelation. And so much more. Highly recommend THE WAR OF TWO QUEENS

“𝒟𝑜𝓃’𝓉 𝓁𝑜𝑜𝓀 𝒶𝓉 𝓂𝑒.” 𝑅𝑒𝒶𝓋𝑒𝓇 𝓅𝒾𝒸𝓀𝑒𝒹 𝓊𝓅 𝒽𝒾𝓈 𝒷𝒾𝓈𝒸𝓊𝒾𝓉. “𝒯𝒽𝒾𝓈 𝒾𝓈 𝑒𝓃𝓉𝑒𝓇𝓉𝒶𝒾𝓃𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒶𝓈 𝒻𝓊𝒸𝓀.”


POPPY DA'NEER: As mentioned above, Poppy is a badass who I could strongly empathize with and connect with. I love her character and what she stands for. She is strong, brave, fierce, loyal, and she’s not infallible even though she’s powerful. 

“𝐵𝓊𝓉 𝒽𝒾𝓈 𝓃𝒶𝓂𝑒 𝓌𝒶𝓈 𝓁𝑜𝓋𝑒. 𝐼𝓉 𝓌𝒶𝓈 𝓅𝑜𝓌𝑒𝓇 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓈𝓉𝓇𝑒𝓃𝑔𝓉𝒽.”

CASTEEL DA'NEER: BABY! Let me tell you if I wasn't convinced before: Casteel Hawkethorne Da'Neer is my fictional soulmate--minus the sharing his wife with his BFF bit, we're going to ignore that.

“𝒲𝒽𝑒𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓇 𝓈𝒽𝑒 𝓇𝓊𝓁𝑒𝒹 𝑜𝓋𝑒𝓇 𝒶𝓁𝓁 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓁𝒶𝓃𝒹𝓈 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓈𝑒𝒶𝓈 𝑜𝓇 𝓌𝒶𝓈 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒬𝓊𝑒𝑒𝓃 𝑜𝒻 𝓃𝑜𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒷𝓊𝓉 𝒶 𝓅𝒾𝓁𝑒 𝑜𝒻 𝒶𝓈𝒽𝑒𝓈 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝒷𝑜𝓃𝑒𝓈 𝓈𝒽𝑒 𝓌𝑜𝓊𝓁𝒹 - 𝓌𝒾𝓁𝓁 - 𝒶𝓁𝓌𝒶𝓎𝓈 𝒷𝑒 𝓂𝓎 𝒬𝓊𝑒𝑒𝓃. 𝐿𝑜𝓋𝑒 𝒾𝓈 𝓉𝑜𝑜 𝓌𝑒𝒶𝓀 𝒶𝓃 𝑒𝓂𝑜𝓉𝒾𝑜𝓃 𝓉𝑜 𝒹𝑒𝓈𝒸𝓇𝒾𝒷𝑒 𝒽𝑜𝓌 𝓈𝒽𝑒 𝒸𝑜𝓃𝓈𝓊𝓂𝑒𝓈 𝓂𝑒 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓌𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝐼 𝒻𝑒𝑒𝓁 𝒻𝑜𝓇 𝒽𝑒𝓇. 𝒮𝒽𝑒 𝒾𝓈 𝓂𝓎 𝑒𝓋𝑒𝓇𝓎𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑔.”


# 1 NEW YORK TIMES, # 1 International, and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in West Virginia. She also writes under the name J. Lynn. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write. She shares her home with her husband, his K-9 partner named Diesel and her hyper Border Jack Apollo, and a slew of farm animals that include alpacas, goats, and sheep.

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