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A Shadow in the Ember

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Born shrouded in the veil of the Primals, a Maiden as the Fates promised, Seraphena Mierel’s future has never been hers. Chosen before birth to uphold the desperate deal her ancestor struck to save his people, Sera must leave behind her life and offer herself to the Primal of Death as his Consort.    However, Sera’s real destiny is the most closely guarded secret in all of Born shrouded in the veil of the Primals, a Maiden as the Fates promised, Seraphena Mierel’s future has never been hers. Chosen before birth to uphold the desperate deal her ancestor struck to save his people, Sera must leave behind her life and offer herself to the Primal of Death as his Consort.    However, Sera’s real destiny is the most closely guarded secret in all of Lasania—she’s not the well protected Maiden but an assassin with one mission—one target. Make the Primal of Death fall in love, become his weakness, and then…end him. If she fails, she dooms her kingdom to a slow demise at the hands of the Rot.  Sera has always known what she is. Chosen. Consort. Assassin. Weapon. A specter never fully formed yet drenched in blood. A monster. Until him. Until the Primal of Death’s unexpected words and deeds chase away the darkness gathering inside her. And his seductive touch ignites a passion she’s never allowed herself to feel and cannot feel for him. But Sera has never had a choice. Either way, her life is forfeit—it always has been, as she has been forever touched by Life and Death.


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Born shrouded in the veil of the Primals, a Maiden as the Fates promised, Seraphena Mierel’s future has never been hers. Chosen before birth to uphold the desperate deal her ancestor struck to save his people, Sera must leave behind her life and offer herself to the Primal of Death as his Consort.    However, Sera’s real destiny is the most closely guarded secret in all of Born shrouded in the veil of the Primals, a Maiden as the Fates promised, Seraphena Mierel’s future has never been hers. Chosen before birth to uphold the desperate deal her ancestor struck to save his people, Sera must leave behind her life and offer herself to the Primal of Death as his Consort.    However, Sera’s real destiny is the most closely guarded secret in all of Lasania—she’s not the well protected Maiden but an assassin with one mission—one target. Make the Primal of Death fall in love, become his weakness, and then…end him. If she fails, she dooms her kingdom to a slow demise at the hands of the Rot.  Sera has always known what she is. Chosen. Consort. Assassin. Weapon. A specter never fully formed yet drenched in blood. A monster. Until him. Until the Primal of Death’s unexpected words and deeds chase away the darkness gathering inside her. And his seductive touch ignites a passion she’s never allowed herself to feel and cannot feel for him. But Sera has never had a choice. Either way, her life is forfeit—it always has been, as she has been forever touched by Life and Death.

30 review for A Shadow in the Ember

  1. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    the queen does not miss. 🙌🏻 i honestly dont know what to say that i havent said already. my whole mind, body, and soul belongs to every book written in this fantasy universe. im obsessed with the chemistry and development of JLAs characters, but its the actual plot and world-building that has me fangirling this time around. omg. the prophecy! the foreshadowing of things i already know because of the main series! the layered effect of it all! seriously so so so good. ive said it before and i will the queen does not miss. 🙌🏻 i honestly dont know what to say that i havent said already. my whole mind, body, and soul belongs to every book written in this fantasy universe. im obsessed with the chemistry and development of JLAs characters, but its the actual plot and world-building that has me fangirling this time around. omg. the prophecy! the foreshadowing of things i already know because of the main series! the layered effect of it all! seriously so so so good. ive said it before and i will say again - these books are the best thing JLA has written (and ive read 39 of her books). definitely career defining material. ↠ 5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lucie V.

    ✅ Sexy characters ✅ Smut and sexual tension 🔥🔥 ✅ Snark and funny dialogues ✅ Romance and angst ✅ World-building ✅ Baby drakens (and baby Reaver!!)🐉 ✅ Pace and plot ✅ Action O. M. G. 5 amazing kickass stars. Well… I never thought I would have the hots for an immortal grandpa, but here we are. I was not expecting to love this book so much. I think I love Sera and Nyktos even more than Poppy and Cas. First, I want to apologize to Nyktos for all the negative thoughts and bad words I had before I read this b ✅ Sexy characters ✅ Smut and sexual tension 🔥🔥 ✅ Snark and funny dialogues ✅ Romance and angst ✅ World-building ✅ Baby drakens (and baby Reaver!!)🐉 ✅ Pace and plot ✅ Action O. M. G. 5 amazing kickass stars. Well… I never thought I would have the hots for an immortal grandpa, but here we are. I was not expecting to love this book so much. I think I love Sera and Nyktos even more than Poppy and Cas. First, I want to apologize to Nyktos for all the negative thoughts and bad words I had before I read this book. 😭 Please forgive me Nyktos. 😭 When King Roderick had grown desperate enough to do anything to salvage his lands ruined by war and save those who were starving after already suffering so much loss, I imagined he’d expected a lesser god to answer his summons—which was far more common for those bold enough to do such a thing. But what had answered the Golden King was a Primal. And when he’d granted King Roderick’s request, this was the price the Primal of Death had requested: the firstborn daughter of the Mierel bloodline as his Consort. Seraphena Mierel's only purpose in life is to fulfill her part in the deal her ancestor made with the Primal of Death many years ago. In an attempt to save his people, he asked for help and in exchange, he promised the first daughter to be born in the Mierel line would be given as a Consort to the Primal of Death. Sera is the first daughter of the line, the maiden born in a shroud and chosen by the Fates, the lonely girl with no say in her future. All her life she has been kept hidden and groomed to become the perfect Consort but also trained to become the perfect assassin. She needs to play her part now more than ever as the Rot is slowly destroying Lasania, and it’s only a matter of time before everything dies. Make him fall in love, become his weakness, and end him. That is quite a simple plan, except of course that Nyktos is not the horrible and cruel Primal of Death everyone is expecting. He is kind, sweet, caring, oh and also sexy af. He’s the newest addition to my long list of amazing and perfect book boyfriends that I can never have. He is complex and multidimensional, and I just loved how we discovered him by bits and pieces as the story went... I am in love with him. Really. Totally. I also really love Sera as the main character, and while she shares many similarities with Poppy (hidden maiden, secretly trained in combat, fierce and outspoken, proclivity for stabbing sexy men), I think I like Sera more than Poppy. Both are strong and fierce, but Sera’s moral compass is more ambiguous than Poppy’s, which makes me like her more. She does bad things for good reasons, but also bad things because she did not really have a choice, and while she knows she should feel bad about it, she is trying to stay sane and to survive so she manages to detach herself from it. She is also not afraid to consider a ruthless option to a problem if it can help save more people and somehow this greyness makes her feel more flawed and human. The development of her character is just great. It is full of emotions and hidden moments of vulnerability, but at the same time, she remains strong and determined. She realizes as she spends more time with Nyktos that he is kind and that killing him might prove much more difficult than she thought… Making him fall in love with her, without falling for him might prove to be even harder. "Planting both feet on the floor, I pushed as hard as I could against him. The Primal still didn’t move, but he did tense. “I would suggest you stop doing that,” he advised, his voice deeper, rougher. “Not only are you going to further irritate the wounds along your back, but I don’t believe your actions are inciting the type of reaction you’re aiming for.” I just wanted to exist in this moment, with this beautiful, strong, and kind being. “Do what?” “Smile at me,” he murmured, the silver in his eyes swirling. “Why?” “Because when you do that, there’s utterly nothing I would not allow you to do to me.” I smiled fully then. “Fuck.” He groaned. A laugh left me—a light and airy sound that felt good even as his eyes narrowed on me. “Don’t do that either.” The relationship between Sera and Nyktos was the perfect mix of snark, banter, sexual tension, and heat… It’s a slow-burn romance, but the smut and sexual tension run high between them from the very start. It’s more than that though, we can really see the emotional connection that they make, and how they recognize themselves into the other. It was really beautifully written and developed, but what made it even better for me is all the hurt and angst that was added in the last 25%. I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but the angst-lover in me was very happy, and I can’t wait to read their next book and see how their relationship will progress... I mean, I know they will end up together and have their HEA, but I feel that there are going to be a few obstacles in their way (the first one being the fact that Sera wanted to kill Nyktos at first). (view spoiler)[Also, this ending is soooooo promising! The fact that Nyktos does not want to fall in love with her and keeps her at arms’ length so she does not become his weakness makes sense, but now we just learned that she’s going to die and the only way to “cheat” Fate is for him to really and truly love her… Ohhhh I’m so excited to see the drama and angst that will come out of it! (hide spoiler)] I am impressed (and happy) that even though it’s the 4th book that takes place in this world, the world-building still managed to impress me, and it was similar for some parts, but also completely new for other parts. I am happy that we got to see more about the Gods', Primals', and drakens' home and their everyday life (and their scheming and plotting and murder attempts). “I want—” “I want you to be silent,” Ash repeated, slamming his hand onto another’s face. The silvery energy washed over it, and the thing shrieked. He pushed it aside, and it spun, flailing and falling. “And I want you to think about what you just did.” I blinked. “Do you want me to find a corner to sit in, too?” Ash’s head snapped in my direction, and my stomach tumbled. His eyes were brighter than the stars. “Will that help you think better?” He snagged another creature by the shoulder, catching it without even looking at it. “If so, then by all means, find a corner.” “I am not a child,” I shot back as the creature caught fire and screamed. The plot focuses a lot on the romance and relationship/character development, but there was also a political and scheming aspect to it... As in the FBAA series, there are also funny moments and banter all throughout the book. I think the mix of romantic focus and plot progression is better done in this book than it is in From Blood and Ash though, and as a whole, the pace is better. I just couldn’t stop reading. There is a healthy dose of action and twists, although I have to say that I did see most of the twists coming. They’re still good, but not that unexpected. I feel that the clues left along the way made it clear where this was going. This book also ends with the revelation of a prophecy that is SO CONNECTED to the Blood and Ash books and we even have some foreshadowing of what might happen in The War of Two Queens and now I am even more hyped than I was for this book. March 2022 cannot come fast enough. Slowly, his head turned to where my stepbrother stood. “I am known as the Asher,” he said, and I shuddered. Is it short for something, I’d asked when he told me his name. It is short for many things. “The One who is Blessed. I am the Guardian of Souls and the Primal God of Common Men and Endings.” His voice traveled through the Great Hall, and absolute silence answered. I could barely force air through my lungs. “I am Nyktos, ruler of the Shadowlands, the Primal of Death.” “I would ask what kind of mortal you are, but it is evident that you’re a pathetic pile of shit shaped into that of a man.” Fucking Tavius, I’m glad he got what he deserved, but I also have to admit that I loved hating him for the first part of this book. He is not a main character in the book, and honestly, he is not even that important as a secondary or side character, but he pissed me off BIG TIME and it was SO SATISFYING to see Nyktos tell him to fuck off. He is such a wimp and a cruel brat and a fluffing dumbass, I wanted to slap him hard in the face. Repeatedly. “I knew his parents. I called them my friends, and I call Ash one of my own,” he answered, head straightening. His gaze caught mine and held it. “I think I will call you one of my own.” I really had to be asleep. “Why?” “Because you’ve given him peace.” Nektas is also an awesome secondary character. Seing him as a strong and gruff protector, but also as a father of cutie-pies tiny drakens melt my heart and now I just want to re-read The ​Crown of Gilded Bones so I can fully appreciate the few moments in the book where he is present. “Do they understand us when we speak to them? The draken?” “They do. Well, Jadis sometimes has trouble… paying attention long enough…” He trailed off, frowning as Jadis snapped at her tail. “To listen.” I smiled as the female draken stopped suddenly and launched at Reaver’s tail. “She kind of reminds me of a cross between a puppy and a toddler.” “Yeah, but neither a puppy nor a toddler can belch fire.” I cringed. “Good point.” YGAUSVFIUSYGFIYAGFUYGASI BABY DRAKENS. 😍😍😍😍😍 Do I need to say more? “If you’re not going to kill me, then you should probably let go of me.” “Will you try to stab me?” “I…hope not.” “You hope?” “If you try to tell me what to do or grab me again, I am likely to lose that hope,” I told him. "Nervous, I lifted my gaze to his. “Are there any more rules, Your Highness?” A half-grin appeared, stroking my temper. “Why do I find you referring to me as such arousing?” “Because you’re an arrogant, controlling misogynist?” I suggested before I could stop myself. Ash laughed, and I swore the corners of my vision started to turn red." As a whole, the characters’ dynamic, the world-building, and part of the plot did feel familiar and similar to the FBAA series, but at the same time, the execution was different, and this book has its own uniqueness. I am not sure if it makes sense… I guess what I mean Is that if you liked FBAA, you will for sure love this series, and even though it appears to be similar at first, keep on reading because it is different and just as good, if not even better! “What does liessa mean?” The god didn’t answer for what felt like a small eternity. “It has different meanings to different people.” The eather pulsed in his eyes, swirling once more through the silver. “But all of them mean something beautiful and powerful.” Fanarts by Elizianna

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lacey (laceybooklovers)

    We’re getting a Blood & Ash prequel series! JLA is too good to us.

  4. 4 out of 5

    ✩ Yaz ✩

    FIVE BRILLIANT STARS ⭐️ Make him fall in love, become his weakness, and end him. A Shadow in the Ember is the first installment in the Blood and Ash prequel series: Flesh and Fire. The series takes us back thousands of years and tells the story of Nyktos, the Primal of Death and his consort—Sera. The book had a more potent fabric that was drenched in fantastical magic and mythological imagery than its predecessor. It is a reminiscent of the beloved Greek tale of Hades and Persephone yet Nyktos and S FIVE BRILLIANT STARS ⭐️ Make him fall in love, become his weakness, and end him. A Shadow in the Ember is the first installment in the Blood and Ash prequel series: Flesh and Fire. The series takes us back thousands of years and tells the story of Nyktos, the Primal of Death and his consort—Sera. The book had a more potent fabric that was drenched in fantastical magic and mythological imagery than its predecessor. It is a reminiscent of the beloved Greek tale of Hades and Persephone yet Nyktos and Sera's tale felt authentic as Blood and Ash is enriched with its own vivid mythology. - Let's start with the summary of the story shall we? Seraphena Mierel—the maiden chosen by the the Fates whose destiny was written long before she was born. As part of the deal struck by her ancestor in a desperate attempt to save his people, the first daughter in the Mierel line shall the offered as the bride and future consort of the Primal of Death. All her life, she had been groomed to be Death's bride, a tragedy to her but an anticipated moment for her family and kingdom. The Rot is slowly devouring Lasania—leaving in its wake death and grief and only Sarah's true destiny will save her kingdom from its doom: make the primal of death fall in love, become his weakness, and then... end him. “You’re not unworthy. You’re not a curse or anything like that. You carry the ember of life in you. You carry hope within you. You carry the possibility of a future.” Sera's arc was emotional and powerful. She was fierce and bold yet in many moments emotionally vulnerable which made me easily connect with her. You'd worry she may end up being a carbon copy of Poppy, however, I'm happy to say that while there are striking similarity between them but they are different in a way. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of Sera's characterization is that she is morally ambiguous which makes her to me more compelling than Poppy. Not to say that my love for Poppy lessened she will always be my girl—but I connected to Sera on a different level than her. He was like the brightest star and the deepest night sky given mortal form. And he was utterly beautiful in this form, wholly terrifying. Welcome the latest addition to my harem of hot fictional men: Nyktos, or better known in the fandom as Daddy Nyktos. He is a decadent treat but I will not unfurl each of his layers because trust me when I say there are many layers to Nyktos that I'd rather the readers experience for the first time. But while I was reading I will say I was immediately entranced by his powerful aura, his wicked charm, and a another different side of him that made my heart burst with so much adoration for him. I wanted him to look upon me like he wanted to devour me. And I thought I might actually want to be devoured. The romance was epic and written beautifully—Sera and Nyktos's slow-burn chemistry left my emotions so raw. They spiced up the moments with their banter and delicious sexual tension. There were the soft and tender moments gave me a similar experience to someone wrapping me in a soft warm blanket. And of course, we can't do without some angst. It's like sprinkling salt over an open wound. The plot was solid, gripping, and crackling with tension and drama. It was addictive to the point I refused to leave my reading spot because I devoured every page. The secrets and the plot-twists kept me reeling. The betrayals and the truths made my jaw drop. Last but not least, the nods to the Blood and Ash books and the foreshadowing of what may come heightened my anticipation for The War of Two Queens and it kills me that I will have to wait until March 2022. The cast of supporting characters were a delight and two in particular melted my heart. The world-building was exhilarating and vibrantly rich. Despite the story taking place in a world that is familiar to us yet it wasn't exactly familiar. In a good way. We are transported at some point in the story to Nyktos's home and I was anticipating the moment we get to meet the gods, the drakens, and learn more of the powers and the politics of the Gods and their world. A Shadow in the Ember gave us many answers and left us with even more questions. Overall, the prequel series will prove itself to be an equal competitor to the Blood and Ash books though bear in mind the stories compliment each other and will merge at some point—I am grateful that JLA came to the decision of writing this series because it made the entire story even more outstanding. This journey in the Blood and Ash world has been nothing short of amazing thus far even though I'm always an emotional wreck after each book and I cannot wait for the upcoming books.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Well, I’m in a bit of love with Ash 😏 Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 Well, I’m in a bit of love with Ash 😏 Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lia Carstairs

    Update [April 26, 2021]: COVER REVEAL OMG. that looks really similar to the FB&A cover BUT THE DRAGON EYE OMG ----- Update [April 23, 2021]: after finishing tcogb, im even more hyped to read about little Nyktos and Sera falling in love🥺🥺 also JLA posted a sneak peak of the cover AND THATS A DRAGON- *screaming* [March 11, 2021]: A BLOOD AND ASH PREQUEL SERIES- ABOUT NYKTOS AND HIS CONSORT??? RELEASING OCTOBER 19TH??? *sobs* so far away :' ) Update [April 26, 2021]: COVER REVEAL OMG. that looks really similar to the FB&A cover BUT THE DRAGON EYE OMG ----- Update [April 23, 2021]: after finishing tcogb, im even more hyped to read about little Nyktos and Sera falling in love🥺🥺 also JLA posted a sneak peak of the cover AND THATS A DRAGON- *screaming* [March 11, 2021]: A BLOOD AND ASH PREQUEL SERIES- ABOUT NYKTOS AND HIS CONSORT??? RELEASING OCTOBER 19TH??? *sobs* so far away :' )

  7. 5 out of 5

    ☀︎El In Oz☀︎

    3.5/5 “It is far easier to be lied to than to acknowledge that you have been lied to.” I really wanted to love this book. Really. Because the first 20% was so promising. It was so similar to FBAA but still it’s own distinct work and it had a mystery plot beginning and the main relationship actually was fun to read about. That all changed. I guess maybe I just don’t like the whole learning about a new world trope or whatever, but I am not exaggerating when I say 50% of this book was world buildi 3.5/5 “It is far easier to be lied to than to acknowledge that you have been lied to.” I really wanted to love this book. Really. Because the first 20% was so promising. It was so similar to FBAA but still it’s own distinct work and it had a mystery plot beginning and the main relationship actually was fun to read about. That all changed. I guess maybe I just don’t like the whole learning about a new world trope or whatever, but I am not exaggerating when I say 50% of this book was world building and smut. I got so tired of both. It started off fine but it became repetitive both ways. The conversations were like more full versions of the ones we saw in FBAA. It really reminded me of TCOGB in the way nothing happened in the middle. Seriously. This book could have been cut down significantly. I skipped so many parts and didn’t miss a single thing. “That life for any being is as fragile as the flame of a candle—easily extinguished and stamped out.” Sera started off as a good MC but she goes through zero change. Her development throughout the novel is really non existent. I think I like Poppy more because we can see her significant growth through the series. For Sera she is less naive so I guess she doesn’t have as much to learn? But either way the ‘twist’ at the end about who she really is was so dumb and was really pointless like can we stop. Nyktos was so much better than Casteel at the beginning but they merged into one by the end of the book so they really are practically the same. He also stays the exact same throughout the entire book. The romance was really more lust like than love and there wasn’t any fluffy moments really which make up romance for me so I can’t say I enjoyed it. All the side characters melted together and none were as good as Kieran, so that wasn’t a selling point. It was nice to see Reaver as a small dragon though! Overall the plot was non existent, the mystery opened in the beginning was forgotten and then explained for at the end very quickly. The last chapter finally gave us something interesting to talk about but then the book ended. So overall I was really disappointed in this but I’ll probably read the sequel because I hope it has more to do with the prophecy at the end and is therefore more interesting. “A monster wouldn’t care if they were one.”

  8. 5 out of 5

    Drey

    I sense another favourite coming ...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sanja ✵

    Review coming when I stop being so pissed that I wasted so much time reading this. Edit; my review. I regard the From Blood and Ash books as somewhat of a guilty pleasure, I know they aren’t perfect, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying them. But the quality declined with the third book, and I can’t even regard this prequal as an even a guilty pleasure. That would imply that there was something pleasurable about it. I was just irritated and annoyed. Because we already read this one? It’s so sim Review coming when I stop being so pissed that I wasted so much time reading this. Edit; my review. I regard the From Blood and Ash books as somewhat of a guilty pleasure, I know they aren’t perfect, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying them. But the quality declined with the third book, and I can’t even regard this prequal as an even a guilty pleasure. That would imply that there was something pleasurable about it. I was just irritated and annoyed. Because we already read this one? It’s so similar to the other books, for me this read like a draft for those. The only change was giving the characters other names. I get that this book is set in the same world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the characters indistinguishable from each other. Sera/Nyktos and Poppy/Casteel have the same personalities. Several scenes are just recycled, from Sera being trained by a guard, the love interest going by a fake identity to the stabbing in the heart scene. They even have the same “joke” about Sera being violent and wanting to stab people. If I wanted to read From Blood and Ash again, I would just go back and read that book. What also gets recycled in this book is the whole “I hAvE a QuEsTiOn” thing. Which I now hate with burning passion. It was cute in the start when Poppy did it, but it’s getting real tiering by now. It’s just a really bad and lazy way of doing world building. It makes every single conversation an info-dump in disguise. Every single conversation is just a Q+A, I tried counting how many questions I could find in a single conversation, but lost count somewhere around 40. It also makes the book lack any real conversations, because every single one is just added to provide some information for “world-building”. It feels like the characters never get to know each other and I, as a reader, never get to know them either. I want my books to get conveyed with “show, don’t tell”, but here it’s all tell and zero show. Why must all information be presented in form of questions and answers? Why can’t the characters go exploring and learn things through experience? Because honestly, you shouldn’t need a 700-page book to explain the world you tried building for another book series, when you already had three books to do that. So I have to drag myself through these info-dump, Q&A conversations, just to have them recapped in the next chapter. Because then a new conversation is added where it gets brought up that Sera met someone and retells what they talked about. It’s like Armentrout must highlight what was most important in that conversation. And that itself is a testament that the conversations are too info heavy. I also feel like JLA makes several things too obvious and tries to hold the reader’s hand. “And I also think you forgot to list acting alongside making bad choices as one of your many… talents.” I sucked in air that burned my throat. What he was referencing didn’t pass me by. He was talking about him and me on the balcony. Like here, I immediately knew what Nyktos was referencing without the clarification. It’s honestly a bit insulting to the readers intelligence to think that we wouldn’t understand without it being put into writing. This book needs better dialogue and better world-building, it can’t all be questions. Because Sera’s inner monologue is also just questions and it’s driving me insane. And even after 700 pages, I still don’t know what this book was supposed to clarify regarding the mythology. It just kept adding different creatures, we have gods, primals, craven, vampry, ascended, godlings, chosen, drakens, dakkais, vikktors and I don’t know what else. The descriptions for these gets glossed over in like half a paragraph and it makes me so confused. I don’t know the difference between several of these. I need like a lexicon or something. This book also lacks any sort of plot. After 160+ pages, we hadn’t even gotten to know Nyktos name, he as still just referred to as “the god”. The annoying thing was that this continued even after we knew his name. After 300 pages Sera finally goes to the Shadowlands and I thought the book would finally start. But no, then it was just Q+A conversations. Even one of the main plotlines failed to deliver. Sera is suppose to kill Nyktos, but I was never under the impression that she would actually go through with it. She hardly contemplated it. Instead, it was insta-love deluxe and he started fingering her before she even knew his name. And then when it gets revealed that she was sent there to kill him, everyone is just “K. Cool, bro”. There were no repercussions? Everyone just immediately forgave her, because Nyktos liked her? But then the betrayal is even worse?? Because insta-love isn’t really my thing, I didn’t connect to the romance at all. One thing that made it even worse was that the characters were so immature. I already had to suffer through genitals being referred to as “goodies” in one of Armentrout’s other works. It gets a similar treatment here; ”If it makes you uncomfortable, I suggest closing your eyes or keeping them off my unmentionables.” Unmentionables? Really? Are words regarding genitalia like Voldemort or something? Or like “Bloody Mary”? Do we summon something evil if we say it three times in a row? If you can’t say the words penis or vagina with a straight face, you’re not ready to have sex. The characters childish approach to even mentioning the words regarding their bodies, made them seem like tweens. So I was just uncomfortable reading the steamy scenes, and just skipped them. The language felt way to modern and also childish at times. But this book is supposed to take place like a thousand years before From Blood and Ash. I don’t think they would use the word mouthy, daddy or fuck. I also don’t think they would talk like this: “Especially since they are driven mad by unending hunger and thirst. They tend to get a bit bitey.” No adult would use the made-up word “bitey”. Sera also gets the traditional Armentrout treatment. She can be strong, but the males has to be stronger than her! Frustration scorched my skin, stroked against the icy heat in my chest, as did the knowledge that even with years of training, he had still easily rendered me absolutely harmless. All the women that JLA writes is always strong and badass in description. But when it matters, like when she is attacked, she can do nothing but scream and flail until a man saves her. I mean, she tried, I will give her that. But she never goes winning from the encounter without help. But even if Sera could handle herself, she would probably fuck it up some other way. She trained her whole life to be whatever Nyktos wanted, so he would fall in love with her. Didn’t work that well. All that did was that he was taking me as his Consort. That gave me a real opening. A chance. It gave the kingdom a real chance, but my mouth… gods, I had no control over it, and this was insulting. But she would throw that all away because he said something that hurt your feelings? Does she think her feelings are more important then the whole kingdom? Then she finds out this: “It is not often that a Primal dies. The loss of a being so powerful can create a ripple effect that can be felt in the mortal realm. Could even set in motion an event that has the potential to unravel the fabric that binds our realms together.” But Sera still thinks the only way to save her kingdom is killing Nyktos. A Primal. Did she miss the point were killing a primal could end the world? She doesn’t know if there’s someone else that can take over his power. Well, I guess no one would starve if the world ended, so that’s one way to solve it. Are we also ignoring the fact that the world is called Lasania? It’s just lasagne with a different spelling. Are we really naming the worlds after our dinners now? What’s next? Pancake? Ravioli? I honestly don’t know what the point of this book was. There was like 30 pages of material relevant for the other books, this was just an excuse to fawn over other eyes with a different colour! Me and Armentrout’s writing don’t get along anymore. At this point I’m unsure whether I will read any more books from this world. Maybe I will feel different with some time apart.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ashlee » libraryinthecountry

    EXCUSE ME. I am shook. Y’all this book. It just kept getting better and better. I loved every single moment of it. And JLA was right, I am trash for Nyktos now. This is the first book in a prequel series to From Blood and Ash, and I must say—I think it’s a must read, even if you’d rather just skip it for more Poppy and Casteel. Trust me! There are revelations and events in this book that directly tie to Poppy and Casteel’s time and I learned so much that has me even more excited to see how that i EXCUSE ME. I am shook. Y’all this book. It just kept getting better and better. I loved every single moment of it. And JLA was right, I am trash for Nyktos now. This is the first book in a prequel series to From Blood and Ash, and I must say—I think it’s a must read, even if you’d rather just skip it for more Poppy and Casteel. Trust me! There are revelations and events in this book that directly tie to Poppy and Casteel’s time and I learned so much that has me even more excited to see how that information plays into the next From Blood and Ash book. You might even see a familiar face or two. 😉 I immediately fell in love with Nyktos and love how much his story with Sera paralleled Poppy and Casteel’s. At first, I was a little unsure, but when I realized why the stories were similar I was SHOOK. I had to set my book aside for a few minutes and just breath. I was NOT expecting that and I have so many questions now about what that means for the other books!? *flails* The romance in this has just the perfect amount of angst and JLA is the queen of giving us little tastes of what’s to come before fully diving in. Some moments in this book are straight up fiery. I remember JLA saying she thought Nyktos would give Casteel a run for his money and I have to be honest—not only do I feel it, I see it too. *whew* There is a battle in the second half of this book in which Nyktos was giving me serious Geralt vibes and I was GLUED to my book. Yes, he has those broody, mysterious alpha hero vibes but he also gives off vibes like he’s the only adult in the room and he knows it. Like, there is no question he can get the job done. I loved seeing a hero that had those alpha qualities but was also incredibly mature too. It’s hard to explain, but it totally worked for me. Needless to say, highly recommend this one if you love From Blood and Ash (of course) or other steamy fantasy romance reads like Sarah J Maas, Danielle L Jensen, Laura Thalassa, Raven Kennedy, Scarlett St. Clair, and even Katee Robert. I would still recommend starting with From Blood and Ash before reading this, as I think it gives a better intro into the world, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you enjoy the genre or the authors above! Thank you to Blue Box Press and Social Butterfly PR for the opportunity to read A Shadow in the Ember early! As a side note, I’ve seen several DNF reviews since release from people upset that Sera and Nyktos’ story seems to parallel Poppy and Casteel’s journey too much. Y’all. That’s intentional. You need to finish the book. (Also, it’s okay for authors to write stories that are similar to other stories of theirs. The romance genre as a whole mostly follows straightforward plot formulas … that isn’t so much what is happening here, but similarities between an author’s work isn’t a sign of bad writing. It’s literally how we identify what a genre even is.)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Paige ♠

    GUYS, PLEASE DON'T KILL ME! It seems I am not having luck with these "spin-off" versions of my favorite series'. First ACOSF and now this one too 😭 ❌ I WASN'T PULLED into the plot and characters as much as I expected to be. There were a lot of similarities to FBAA so it didn't feel like a new and exciting story to me 🆗 SERA WAS A TOTAL badass and I really did enjoy that. I felt like JLA did a great job making a strong female that didn't take shit from anyone and I almost always enjoy a sassy heroi GUYS, PLEASE DON'T KILL ME! It seems I am not having luck with these "spin-off" versions of my favorite series'. First ACOSF and now this one too 😭 ❌ I WASN'T PULLED into the plot and characters as much as I expected to be. There were a lot of similarities to FBAA so it didn't feel like a new and exciting story to me 🆗 SERA WAS A TOTAL badass and I really did enjoy that. I felt like JLA did a great job making a strong female that didn't take shit from anyone and I almost always enjoy a sassy heroine. BUT, after a while, I was definitely getting annoyed with her rashness and how she just wasn't thinking before opening her mouth or making decisions 🆗 THE TENSION AND BANTER between Sera and Nyktos was A+ for a while, but there's a certain point where too much banter just feels like arguing. I think we reached that point in this book ❌ THERE WAS TOO MUCH dialogue in this book. A lot of the conversations were longgg back and forth Q&A sessions between Sera and Nyktos and they just dragged on and on for me "I have so many questions." ✅ THE HEAT AND THE ROMANCE were one of the redeeming things about this book. JLA sure knows how to write these sexy new-adult style high fantasy novels and I love it! ❌ SOMEONE PLEASE GET ME a dictionary of this world 😵 The terminology was so similar to FBAA but at the same time different? The Handmaiden. The Chosen. The Rite. The Ascension. Gods and Primals that seem like Atlantians? Possibly Craven which might be called Gyrms or Hunters or something? It's all similar but in a different context and now I'm just confused ❌ I FELT LIKE AN IDIOT because outside of the one prophecy at the end, I was not able to connect much between the two. I think it would have helped if I re-read TCOGB shortly before picking this up because it's been a while and I definitely forgot a lot Honestly, I didn't know what to expect going into this book but even with unclear expectations, I was still disappointed. Overall, I still recommend you read this if you enjoyed the original FBAA series and hopefully you will like it more than I did 😊 Steam Scale: 🔥🔥🔥🔥/5 Swoon Scale: ❤️❤️/5

  12. 5 out of 5

    myo (myonna reads)

    4.5 stars i do find that this book had a lot of similarities to the from blood and ash book but in a way that history repeats itself and not an exact copy of it. i hope that is JLA intentions with this story because i do find that she has a habit of being repetitive. i thought that Sera was very similar to Poppy in the way that she was always so curious and asking questions and kind of both that they don’t really have much personality other than having to be strong and knowing to fight but it wa 4.5 stars i do find that this book had a lot of similarities to the from blood and ash book but in a way that history repeats itself and not an exact copy of it. i hope that is JLA intentions with this story because i do find that she has a habit of being repetitive. i thought that Sera was very similar to Poppy in the way that she was always so curious and asking questions and kind of both that they don’t really have much personality other than having to be strong and knowing to fight but it wasn’t in a way that i was annoyed. i think that this book was a hair away from being too similar to from blood and ash but i didn’t mind that. now on to Nyktos.. omg i loved him, rip to Hawke cus who even is that? what’s a man to a god. Nyktos is definitely my new book boyfriend cus omg… Also i enjoyed reading about the Draken’s and i actually really love this world and the way JLA writes, i do feel like a lot of things could be better but oh well, i still enjoyed it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    toointofiction

    "Make him fall in love, become his weakness, and end him." Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (more like 4.75) ❗❗May contain some spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.❗❗ I've got to be honest here. I was a little worried about this. A Crown of Gilded Bones was a tad disappointing and I was worried that this would be the same. But, THANK GODS it wasn't. It was just as good as From Blood and Ash and Kingdom of Flesh and Fire. This was so, so, so good!!!!! The plot was pretty damn well written. I was intrigued and comple "Make him fall in love, become his weakness, and end him." Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (more like 4.75) ❗❗May contain some spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.❗❗ I've got to be honest here. I was a little worried about this. A Crown of Gilded Bones was a tad disappointing and I was worried that this would be the same. But, THANK GODS it wasn't. It was just as good as From Blood and Ash and Kingdom of Flesh and Fire. This was so, so, so good!!!!! The plot was pretty damn well written. I was intrigued and completely focused on the story. I couldn't put the book down. It was such a bummer when I had to go to class or study for a test because all I wanted to do was read this. Also, I don't see a need to mention how amazing the spice scenes were. Not that anyone expects anything less of JLA. She is the master of making you 🥵🥵 There was so much delightful mystery that kept me at the edge of my seat. Also the need to see that turd Tavius die what sooo deep and intense I was picturing myself doing it. I am so glad Sera killed him and I'm especially glad for the way she did it. Gruesome and glorious. I actually got up and danced around my room. while I was reading it. I kinda hoped Sera's mother would die too but alas she did not. Oh well...there are more books coming, no need to lose hope just yet. I loved that the reader knew who Ash was from the beginning but Sera didn't. I thought that was a nice touch. Pretty funny, too. Not to mention the badass scene of him showing up and rescuing Sera from the turd, killing all the guards, yelling at her garbage mother, and then taking her away AT LAST. If I didn't want to grab him and kiss him before (which, of course, I did) that would definitely do it for me. I should also say that JLA's ending was cruel and evil and she needs to go to bad authors' jail for what she has done. What kind of monster would just end a book like that?!?!? Do you not care about our sanity at all, madam?!?!?! What definitely needs to be mentioned are the delightful mentions of Poppy and Casteel. Especially, "If I had a child, or if any descendants of mine had been harmed, I would burn through both realms just so I could flay the skin from the body of who'd hurt them." - (I can't wait to see this happening in TWoTQ) AAAAAND "But I also saw her. I saw them. A Chosen and a descendant of the First. A Queen of Flesh and Fire. And him, a King risen from Blood and Ash, who ruled side by side with man. And they...they felt right. They felt like hope." - (there were some crazy, animalistic squeals coming out of my mouth while I read this) BUT, as good as this book was, and it was pretty damn good, there were one too many parallels between Sera x Ash and Poppy x Casteel. Instead of creating a story of their own, it is as if JLA copied Cas and Poppy's story and pasted it on Sera and Ash. It was kinda cute at first, but it became pretty annoying later on. The whole dynamic of the two couples was identical. I don't think that was necessary to the story at all. Not that I'm entirely complaining, however, I did like the similarities a little bit, but it was just too much, which is why I redacted a few points from the rating. Furthermore, all the characters were SO well written!! The Gods in Nyktos' Court were so awesome, I want to live in the Shadowlands with them, now. I loved Nektas, in particular, his faith in Sera even after it was revealed that she was planning to kill him was soo sweeeeet!!! His kids, Reaver and Jadis were so adorable, in either form. I love them unconditionally 💜💜 As for our esteemed couple, Sera and Ash, I couldn't get enough of them. In spite of the too many similarities between them and Poppy and Casteel, I thoroughly enjoyed every single scene between them. The tension, the sense of rightness, those cliched mating sensations that didn't bother me at all, the 🔥🔥🔥🔥. Everything. Although, Sera thinking that Ash doesn't love her is ABSOLUTELY STUPID AND INFURIATING. Like seriously?!?!?! How can she not tell he's head over heels in love with her already!!! Not that he is capable to admit it just yet but it's still reeeaaally obvious. The next book better come soon because I am LOSING MY FREAKING MIND!! Check out my reviews of the sequel series: From Blood and Ash A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire A Crown of Gilded Bones While you're at it, check out my bookish blog as well

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jessica ❥Chatterbooks Book Blog❥

    Holy Shit! That was afuckingmazing!!! 😍 JLA gifted us with a badass hero and heroine, action, angst, humor, betrayal, intense emotion, violence, sex, perfect pacing, beautiful world building, twists and turns, brilliant writing, and baby. freaking. draken., what more could we ask for?! I was so worried that I wouldn't enjoy this prequel as much as the Blood and Ash Series, but I could not have been more wrong! Sera and Nyktos are amazing characters on their own, but they're perfection together! Th Holy Shit! That was afuckingmazing!!! 😍 JLA gifted us with a badass hero and heroine, action, angst, humor, betrayal, intense emotion, violence, sex, perfect pacing, beautiful world building, twists and turns, brilliant writing, and baby. freaking. draken., what more could we ask for?! I was so worried that I wouldn't enjoy this prequel as much as the Blood and Ash Series, but I could not have been more wrong! Sera and Nyktos are amazing characters on their own, but they're perfection together! Their chemistry and banter gave everything that Casteel and Poppy's does, and I honestly questioned which couple I liked more by the end of the book! If that's doesn't show you how good A Shadow in the Ember is, I don't know what will! I loved discovering all the ways in which this story connected to the one we already know and love. It was so much fun to try to connect the dots as I read. When I finished, I even went back over a large part of The Crown of Gilded Bones to fill in all the missing pieces. There's a ton of information in these books, so it was necessary for me to get the clearest overall picture. It definitely added another level of enjoyment for me. If you remember everything from the Blood and Ash series in the kind of extreme detail that doesn't require you to add this step, especially after several months have passed, then I'm jealous of your brain! LOL I can't express to you how fucking excited I am to see what the author has in store for us in the next installment of the Flesh and Fire series! I'm equally ecstatic about getting more of Cas and Poppy's story! I'm telling you, this series has me in a chokehold. I can't get enough! The Blood and Ash Series is one of my absolute favorite fantasy romance series of all time! Jennifer L. Armentrout has always been of my unicorns, but she has continued to blow me away to a degree few other authors ever have. I cannot recommend A Shadow in the Ember and the Blood and Ash Series enough if you're a fantasy fan! This might just be my favorite book of the year!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Helena Paris

    According to JLA: "Loosely inspired on Hades and Persephone myth...without the kidnapping and stuff." That's all I really had to know! :P *clicks preorder* According to JLA: "Loosely inspired on Hades and Persephone myth...without the kidnapping and stuff." That's all I really had to know! :P *clicks preorder*

  16. 5 out of 5

    Molly Tullis

    Cellphones on silent and shut your fucking mouths… I thought I would wait maybe a day to write this review, but here I am, fresh out of the shower and in a towel, typing out my thoughts on ASITE. This book is a fuckboy. It’s so bad for me but GOD DAMN IT, I will answer every ‘wyd’ text. ★ Let’s start with the bad… I understand that there are supposed to be parallels between Casteel and Ash and Poppy and Sera. BUT BRUH. This started out as the same book, no?! It was as though JLA took a word clou Cellphones on silent and shut your fucking mouths… I thought I would wait maybe a day to write this review, but here I am, fresh out of the shower and in a towel, typing out my thoughts on ASITE. This book is a fuckboy. It’s so bad for me but GOD DAMN IT, I will answer every ‘wyd’ text. ★ Let’s start with the bad… I understand that there are supposed to be parallels between Casteel and Ash and Poppy and Sera. BUT BRUH. This started out as the same book, no?! It was as though JLA took a word cloud from the existing FBAA books and threw them in a blender. Can we at least respect our characters enough to give them their own kinks? (But like… also the daggers do it for me, so like, it’s fine) ★ ON GOD, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE USE OF LANGUAGE. NO CAP. BIBLE. What would possess you to write a fantasy novel that uses words like “bathing chamber,” “bodice,” and “sleeping potion” and ALSO include phrases like “rent-free in my head” and “hot piece”? I was violently manhandled away from my death daddy mind palace whenever I read that language. Not in a fun way. ★ LET’S TALK ABOUT THE GOOD STUFF, BABY. The last 35% of this book was everything that I hoped the ENTIRE book would be. We have gods fighting gods, monsters, dragons, vampiric fucking of the highest order! The plot finally started to stand on its own and became its own universe. ★ SWEET HADES BELOW, ANOTHER DEATH GOD?! He’s not even a god, he’s the PRIMAL OF DEATH. This man is everything to me. I will not be apologizing and I will not be taking questions at this time. This man is every ounce “if you touch her, you die”. Except it’s not “die”, it’s “you touch her, I will eliminate your soul beyond the concept of death and you will cease to exist in any realm.” 🥵 ALSO, I LOVE SERA. Do I also love Sera and Ash WAY more, both as characters and as a couple? Yes. There are deep flaws with this book but props for making Sera + Ash so goddamn addicting that IDGAF.

  17. 5 out of 5

    ❀ Rose ❀

    *sighs* fine, I’ll add it to my stupid tbr list.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Angie Cox

    3 ⭐ Basically FBBA with a slightly different plot and characters You want an honest review? I'll give you one. Summary: Seraphena Mierel is the Maiden promised by the Fates, whose future has never been her own. Many years ago, one of Seraphena’s ancestors struck a deal in a desperate attempt to save his people from the Rot - a disease that is slowly devouring Lasania. In exchange for saving his kingdom, the first daughter born in the Mierel line shall be offered to the Primal of Death as his C 3 ⭐ Basically FBBA with a slightly different plot and characters You want an honest review? I'll give you one. Summary: Seraphena Mierel is the Maiden promised by the Fates, whose future has never been her own. Many years ago, one of Seraphena’s ancestors struck a deal in a desperate attempt to save his people from the Rot - a disease that is slowly devouring Lasania. In exchange for saving his kingdom, the first daughter born in the Mierel line shall be offered to the Primal of Death as his Consort. While the Rot ceased for a time, the sickness returned when Seraphena was born, forcing the king and queen (Sera's parents) to come up with a plan. They believe the only way to stop the Rot is to destroy the Primal of Death himself, and Sera is the key. All her life, Sera is not only groomed to be Death's bride, but an assassin with one goal in mind: make him fall in love, become his weakness, and end him. If she fails, she dooms her kingdom to a slow demise at the hands of the Rot. But the day the Primal of Death comes to collect his Consort, he rejects Sera - changing her life and the fate of her kingdom forever. My Thoughts: I have so many mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I love the story concept, the characters, and the world-building. However, the pacing was off, the character development was lacking, and there were soooooo many similarities to the From Blood and Ash series that I anticipated nearly everything. If I were not familiar with FBBA or JLA's writing, I would have probably given this 4-stars or more. The story wasn't bad, but it just wasn't fresh. The writing isn't great, but it's much better than A Crown of Gilded Bones. - There are more than a few grammar errors. Seriously, where is the editor? - The modern dialogue/references are extremely distracting and pull the reader out of the story. Here are some examples: hot piece, lived in my head rent-free, color me surprised, kicked the bucket, pervert, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. - There are also some repetitive jokes between Sera and Ash about her 'unmentionables' or how he has 'at least one decent bone in his body'. The plot is basically nonexistent. The story starts as a mystery when Sera witnesses some gods killing mortals without apparent cause, but we don't find out why until the very end. The rest of this story centers on Sera and her struggles with finding purpose, fulfilling her duty, and doing what's right. There's a bit of romance thrown in there, but it felt ornamental. I wish the story followed the Hades x Persephone mythology more, with Sera immediately becoming Consort to the Primal of Death and traveling to Iliseeum and the Shadowlands. The pacing is shaped like a W. The first 100 pages were captivating, then it slows way-the-fuck down, then it gets exciting again around page 300 when Sera goes to the Shadowlands, then it's boring again until the last 100 pages when truths are revealed. I enjoyed the end the most because we finally learned wtf was going on, but the way it was presented was in the form of an info dump. And honestly, I had to put the book down and/or force myself to keep reading. There were a lot of boring parts that didn't interest me, but I kept reading because I was hopeful things would get better. They eventually did, but the reward wasn't satisfying enough. So, I doubt I'll do a reread. *Spoilers Ahead* There are so many/too many similarities between ASITE and FBBA. It's almost like JLA took the blueprint of FBBA, changed the names of the characters, gave them slightly different personalities, added a twist to the story, and voila . . . you've got ASITE. Here are the parallels: - the main female character is a Maiden who is touch-deprived, lonely, trained in combat, snarky, and has a temper. She has powers and isn't quite mortal (but doesn't know this at first), and these powers get stronger once she goes through the Culling. She is curious and asks many questions. She also stabs her love interest in the heart. She ignores the rules and finds herself in danger, only to be saved by the male love interest. - the main male character is presented early on under a false identity only to be revealed as the female MC's enemy/rival, even though he was always aware of her identity. He was also previously caught and tortured. - the male and female MCs have an unexpected make-out session within the first few chapters. The female acts like she dislikes the male MC but they totally lust after each other like crazy, and by the end, they are forced/pressured into a relationship. - the concept of forbidden love. While Poppy and Casteel from FBBA are forbidden love because of who they are, Sera and Nyktos have chosen to live without love because of their past/upbringing. There were enough differences that it was still possible to enjoy this story, but I couldn't help but think about FBBA the entire time. It felt like I had already read this story, so I wasn't as engaged or excited about it. But, again, if I had not previously read FBBA, I may like ASITE more. The characters were two-dimensional (but I still love them). Sera has been groomed her entire life to disassociate, seduce, and kill to become what she needs for the kingdom. But when she is rejected as Consort, she loses her identity and purpose. Unfortunately, Sera didn't grow much in this story, but I think the revelation about her powers sets her up for character development in the next book. Ash/Nyktos is a hot god who is powerful, secretly kind, closed off from love, and a loner. After 600+ pages, that's about all I know. Hopefully, the next book gives us more insight into his thoughts, motives, and general personality. JLA, please tell me more about Daddy Nyktos. Thank you. 🙏 The story focuses so much on Sera's struggle with purpose/morals and Nyktos' inner conflict about love that it made up their entire personalities. It got boring after a while when they didn't seem to solve any of these personal problems. The romance was all lust. I'm not too fond of this, but I understand why it happened. Sera accepted long ago that she would die young and, therefore, never formed attachments to anyone, whereas Nyktos saw love as a weakness and swore it off. These two characters do not know how to love, so when they interact, they grasp whatever connection they can have with one another, and lust is the easiest emotion to recognize. However, I think deep down, both Sera and Nyktos have feelings for each other, but they don't realize it yet. When it comes to love, their biggest enemy will be themselves. I'm interested to see how they break down the barriers around their hearts. This one really baffled me. . . Nyktos being a virgin makes zero sense. You're telling me a sexy, powerful Primal that is hundreds of years old hasn't had sex. Pshhhh. Give me a break. But okay, for the sake of this story, I'll play along. Nyktos makes it clear that he never went too far physically with anyone because it wasn't worth the risk of falling in love. Okay, yeah, I get that. But then, when he finally bangs Sera, he straight up tells her that nothing has changed for him. He makes it clear to her that she will never be his weakness. Okay, so if he can separate sex and love, why didn't he have sex before? Seriously, if he is incapable of falling in love, like he repeatedly says, why not have sex? It doesn't make sense! Also, virgins are tentative, shy, and awkward. They don't say things like, "That's it, fuck my hand." #unrealistic 🙄 Overall, A Shadow In The Ember was an okay read for me. It had an interesting premise and potential, but the pacing, two-dimensional characters, and FBBA parallels were too distracting for me. I'm really hoping JLA moves away from the FBBA storytelling format and gives us character development and a heartfelt romance in the next book. Favorite Quotes: "Only I get to determine what does and doesn't involve me. What I do and do not do is of no concern to anyone. Not even a god." —————————————— "Did you kill that man?" "I believe he slipped and fell upon my blade." "Was it his throat that fell upon your blade?" "Odd, right?" "Odd, indeed." —————————————— “You’re not unworthy. You’re not a curse or anything like that. You carry the ember of life in you. You carry hope within you. You carry the possibility of a future.” —————————————— "Life for any being is as fragile as the flame of a candle — easily extinguished and stamped out." —————————————— "Love is a beautiful weapon, often wielded as a means to control another. It shouldn't be a weakness, but that is what it becomes. And those most innocent always pay for it. I've never seen anything good come from love." "You. You came from one." —————————————— "A monster wouldn't care if they were one." —————————————— "Love is even more powerful than what courses through our veins, equally awe-inspiring and terrifying in its selfishness." ——————————————

  19. 4 out of 5

    ✰ Liz ✰

    "What do you want from me, liessa?" A Shadow in the Ember is the first book in the Flesh and Fire Series. Set in the Blood and Ash World, Jennifer L. Armentrout has delivered a magical story that will leave you breathless and begging for more. Sera was born to be used as a powerful weapon. Surrounded by people, she has always been alone. When she is betrothed to a god, and he rejects her, she is forced to recreate her life and find a way to survive. Sera transforms from a maiden to an assassi "What do you want from me, liessa?" A Shadow in the Ember is the first book in the Flesh and Fire Series. Set in the Blood and Ash World, Jennifer L. Armentrout has delivered a magical story that will leave you breathless and begging for more. Sera was born to be used as a powerful weapon. Surrounded by people, she has always been alone. When she is betrothed to a god, and he rejects her, she is forced to recreate her life and find a way to survive. Sera transforms from a maiden to an assassin whose only mission is to assassinate the god who rejected her to save her people. "Show me what you like, and I will give it to you." Told in Sera's POV, A Shadow in the Ember is a passionate romance full of action and suspense. Nyktos is a strong man full of mystery and raw power. Sera and Nyktos are complex characters who both play a pivotal role in the unraveling universe. "You taste like the sun." Overall, A Shadow in the Ember is a stunning prequel to the Blood and Ash Series that enhances the enchantment of the characters and their world. As always, Jennifer L. Armentrout has delivered an unforgettable story with arresting characters and an enchanting world. I am officially addicted to all things. Blood and Ash, and I am dying for more! For more reviews/reveals/giveaways visit:

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lochlyn

    daddy? sorry… DADDY? i’m sorry, i mean daddy?? sorry… 4.5 stars https://youtu.be/9VDBw9z2NeA daddy? sorry… DADDY? i’m sorry, i mean daddy?? sorry… 4.5 stars https://youtu.be/9VDBw9z2NeA

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jen ♥Star-Crossed Book Blog♥

    A Shadow in the Ember slowly seeped into my heart and consumed my every waking thought. I couldn’t stop the laughter from bubbling up at the most inappropriate times, the smile that kept appearing or the tears that kept falling down my face. This story became an instant favorite and is a must read for all fantasy lovers! And while there were a few twists I guessed correctly, there were so many others I got wrong. Just when I thought I knew where the story was going, the air got punched out of m A Shadow in the Ember slowly seeped into my heart and consumed my every waking thought. I couldn’t stop the laughter from bubbling up at the most inappropriate times, the smile that kept appearing or the tears that kept falling down my face. This story became an instant favorite and is a must read for all fantasy lovers! And while there were a few twists I guessed correctly, there were so many others I got wrong. Just when I thought I knew where the story was going, the air got punched out of me time and again. This story was epic! Those who love fantasy, JLA or romance will fall hard for A Shadow in the Ember! “You’ll do what?” he whispered. “Go for that weapon on your thigh again?” “Yes.” “Even though you know you wouldn’t be fast enough to deliver a blow.” My grip on his shirt tightened. “Yes.” He chuckled softly, and I felt it from my hips to my breasts. “Shh.” Had he just shushed me? Sera was to be her kingdoms savior. The rot had been destroying their land, but a deal made before she was born set her on a path to be the consort to the Primal of Death. She has been trained since birth and knew that she was to seduce, make him fall in love and then end his life. All to save her kingdom. My heart ached for how lonely Sera was and for the unfairness of her life and future. So while she had been trained ruthlessly, the Primal of Death wasn’t all she expected him to be. If I had a child, or if any descendant of mine had been harmed, I would burn through both realms just so I could flay the skin from the body of the one who’d hurt them. I loved Sera! And now I completely understand why Poppy is the way she is...From Blood and Ash takes place in the future, so you'll definitely want to read the first three books in that series first before jumping into this story. Sera was also ever so curious and impulsive at times. She too was a fighter and went up against those, even if there was no chance of her winning. She was so fearless, maybe even more so then Poppy since Sera felt like there was a time limit on her life. Sera knew that there was a chance she could die trying to kill the Primal of Death. So I loved how Sera didn’t hold back; she was fierce, bold, passionate and called it like it was! His chin dipped, his features sharpening in the silvery light. “I am not them,” he said, low and deadly soft. Hairs along the nape of my neck rose, and I fought the urge to take a step back. “I guess I’m lucky?” His gaze flickered over me. “I’m not sure how lucky you are.” I am obsessed with the Primal of Death, aka Nyktos! He was surrounded in shadows and darkness but my gods he made me smile so much and laugh so hard. He could be endearing, seductive and enraptured my attention. There was so much more to Nyktos then meets the eye. But while he was all of those things, he could also be terrifying. He would kill and do anything to protect those he cared about. Nyktos was a complex soul that I think many will fall head over heels in love with too. My blood thrummed as his hand settled around the nape of my neck. Liessa. Something beautiful and powerful… I felt like that now. I didn't think anyone could rival or top my love of Poppy and Hawke, but oh how wrong I was. Sera and Nyktos’ banter was deliciously addictive! They connected so easily, and while so much was unknown, their chemistry was instantaneous too. Their conversations warmed my heart and as their story progressed, their moments together were passionate, seductive and lust inducing. This book was definitely one of Jennifer’s sexier books. The scenes between them were erotic and oh so hot! I was obsessed! Except Sera was to end Nyktos. So while my heart loved how their story played out, I also felt like crying because of their unstoppable fate. “My interest in you is a very real, very potent need.” His fingers skimmed the curve of my jaw and then the line of my throat. They stopped over my wildly beating pulse. “It’s almost as if it’s become its own thing. A tangible entity. I find myself thinking about it at the most inconvenient moments,” he said, his breath dancing over my lips. Against my better judgement, anticipation sank into my muscles, tightening them. A Shadow in the Ember was an absolute masterpiece! There were terrifying creatures that nightmares are made of. Battle scenes that were epic to watch unfold. The foreshadowing for what was to come in FBAA gave me chills! And getting to see characters that show up later in the FBAA Series, oh it was brilliant that we got to learn about their past and see who they were! Guilt, love, secrets, passion, friendship, life and death wove through the pages and I loved every minute of it. A Shadow in the Ember is one of my top favorite reads from 2021 and is a must for all fantasy lovers! He didn’t move. “I see I was correct about you striking me as the type to fight even if you knew you wouldn’t succeed.” His chin brushed the top of my head. “It’s exhausting always being right.” I threw my head back with a shriek. Pain lanced my skull as I connected with some part of his face. “Fates,” he grunted, and a savage smile tore at my mouth. PS I just have to say a follow through was beyond epic! A burn started in my core, spreading to my throat as the eather-laced shadows took shape behind him, forming wings. I was going to die. I knew that then as I stared into those so-very-still, dead eyes. PPS I screamed out loud multiple times. For a moment, I could only stare at the shimmering blood coursing down the defined lines of his stomach. How was he still standing? “Nyktos,” I whispered. PPPS So many moments left me breathless. “You,” he said, his thumb moving in a slow swipe over the side of my throat. There was something about the way he said that. “You are trouble.” *I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.* For more of my reviews, please visit:

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Chu (The ChuseyReader)

    Rating: 2 or 2.5 stars ~ Pick this up if you enjoy/don’t mind the following ~ 📘 From Blood and Ash series 🖤 If you were obsessed with Poppy and Hawke, then you’d love Sera and Ash because they are so similar in character and their romance (perhaps too similar) ❤️ Not quite insta love, but the romance developed very fast 🔥 Hot chemistry, smut and spice! 🐢 Slower pace. Picks up a tad in the second half. ~ What I enjoyed ~ I enjoyed the first and last 10% when there was more happening and when some of Rating: 2 or 2.5 stars ~ Pick this up if you enjoy/don’t mind the following ~ 📘 From Blood and Ash series 🖤 If you were obsessed with Poppy and Hawke, then you’d love Sera and Ash because they are so similar in character and their romance (perhaps too similar) ❤️ Not quite insta love, but the romance developed very fast 🔥 Hot chemistry, smut and spice! 🐢 Slower pace. Picks up a tad in the second half. ~ What I enjoyed ~ I enjoyed the first and last 10% when there was more happening and when some of the mystery was explained. ~ What I didn’t enjoy ~ Ah gosh there is a lot I didn’t enjoy and considering the length I was relieved to finish it! This could be seen as a positive to some, but this was TOO similar to “From Blood and Ash”. For example: - Sera & Poppy and Hawke & Ash had the same personalities and even the use of nicknames for Hawke and Ash. - The fact that Sera and Poppy were trained by a guard and they have a treasured knife. - The romance and interactions. There was the similar playful type banter and there was too much mention of stabbing!! This was far too long! The first half or two thirds was boring. There were some interesting scenes but outside of them it was so dull and it didn’t feel like there was an overarching plot. The scenes would happen but then nothing would follow afterwards and it was only revisited at the end. I wish there was more of Ash at the start, I almost forgot about him. I was anticipating the ultimate betrayal, the opportunity that would force Sera to make the impossible decision. But sadly that never came. It all came out during a very civil conversation and there were no consequences when Sera’s mission came to light. The only consequence was some passby comments questioning her intentions. There was no character development, especially Sera, she was more or less the same the whole way through. Also I don’t remember any of the side characters. I could not take the word Lasania seriously. Did anyone else notice Lasania vs lasagne?

  23. 5 out of 5

    ☆She’s Book Obsessed☆

    An Shadow in the Ember ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Trigger warnings: Violence Death Review: Okay I have a LOT to get off my chest so here we go: First off, how many times she gonna drop the hint “rightness” when he’s near huh? Their conversations felt so empty, like they’re talking just because- I don’t know how to explain but it was like this in the first half. And kind of cringe writing too. I feel like the romance developed way too fast, it almost felt rushed. When they were at the lake and he was like: aight tim An Shadow in the Ember ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Trigger warnings: Violence Death Review: Okay I have a LOT to get off my chest so here we go: First off, how many times she gonna drop the hint “rightness” when he’s near huh? Their conversations felt so empty, like they’re talking just because- I don’t know how to explain but it was like this in the first half. And kind of cringe writing too. I feel like the romance developed way too fast, it almost felt rushed. When they were at the lake and he was like: aight time to leave, nice fooling around with you bye- tf. Their emotions gave me whip lash. The smut in this book WAS good, but sometimes I was confused because the author was like: writing smut = random words put together than sound hot. One question though👆🏼what’s stale lilac?? There was this one thing he said: “You may feel fear, but you are never afraid” I- what’s the difference?! Who is Penellaphe in this book? And what is it with choosing similar names like Nyktos and Nektas? “But, sometimes, knowledge is power.” This teleported me back to my TOK lesson… This book was basically establishing the world building, given through the main character asking questions. It got kind of tiring, but I can’t wait for the next book because they HaVe to fall in love! If not istg🗡-

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mikky (Nocturnal Predators Reviews)

    May 4th 2021 Ok. I take back what I said last month. After finishing Blood&Ash #3 I understand the need for this book. I'm very intrigued and ready to have my heart ripped out for the billionth time, Thanks. ________________ April 26th 2021 *Screams* It. Has. A. COVER! And it's SO DAMN beautiful! AND it's about Nyktos. Not something I thought we were going to get right now but I can go with the flow. Is it bad that right this second I would prefer Book #4 in the Blood And Ash Series because I want more May 4th 2021 Ok. I take back what I said last month. After finishing Blood&Ash #3 I understand the need for this book. I'm very intrigued and ready to have my heart ripped out for the billionth time, Thanks. ________________ April 26th 2021 *Screams* It. Has. A. COVER! And it's SO DAMN beautiful! AND it's about Nyktos. Not something I thought we were going to get right now but I can go with the flow. Is it bad that right this second I would prefer Book #4 in the Blood And Ash Series because I want more Cas, Kieren and Poppy in my life? I'm still excited about this though! I hope this is just as intense as the Blood And Ash Series 😭 ________________ March 14th 2021 *Deep Breath* *Deep Breath* *Deep Breath* *Deep Breath* AHHHHHH! The prequel! It's almost here! ♡

  25. 5 out of 5

    Valkyrie ✨

    “Make him fall in love, become his weakness and then end him...” yes please 🥵

  26. 5 out of 5

    Milinas Library

    God I love JLA and how she writes her characters. This book was long and filled with so much info and angst that Idek how I can summarize this. Sera and Nyktos parallel poppy and Cas in such an interesting way, it helps me to understand poppy so much more and it makes it so exciting to find the similarities and hints to how things connect to poppy’s story. At the same time, Nyktos and Sera are in a completely different situation and time period making their story unique to them. It’s a very ente God I love JLA and how she writes her characters. This book was long and filled with so much info and angst that Idek how I can summarize this. Sera and Nyktos parallel poppy and Cas in such an interesting way, it helps me to understand poppy so much more and it makes it so exciting to find the similarities and hints to how things connect to poppy’s story. At the same time, Nyktos and Sera are in a completely different situation and time period making their story unique to them. It’s a very entertaining combination. One thing I think JLA excels at is relationship angst and development, and that shines in this book. The tension was delicious and she has a way of making it clear that Nyktos is veryyy into sera without us even being in his mind - sentences like “i put my hand on his chest and his whole body shuddered” is something sera ignores as some useless fact but the reader KNOWS it’s bc he’s simping for her and it makes things so hot and angsty. I loved learning about these two as well as the world where gods are awake and everywhere. So interesting. The ending made this very full circle, cementing Nyktos and Sera’s connection to poppy and Cas and making things pretty clear. Also… BABY DRAGONS??? Loving this inclusion of dragons in this world. There’s really just everything yummy - blood sharing (vampires), wolves, zombies (?), spirits, dragons, and gods! Love it- i get the criticism of acogb (even tho i still loved it personally) but i don’t of this, i was completely immersed in this story and understanding of the world by 50 pages in.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Darci

    This might be another’s cup of tea if you’re looking for a story and couple dynamic nearly the same as Poppy and Cas, but it wasn’t for me. The reuse of lines and plots felt boring and uninspired to me. There were so many other aspects I didn’t like as well, but I don’t care to go into them in all honesty. I won’t be reading on with this series, but I will with FBAA! Seems like my love for FBAA (primarily book 1) was a one hit wonder between JLA & I... :(

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aoife - Bookish_Babbling

    Another absolutely *addictive* read from [email protected] and I were very cheeky chaffinches and couldn't help but keep reading 🙈 Super sorry @Jess & @Kim, we are the worst BR partners 🤦‍♀️ First off I think this can be read without reading the Blood & Ash series although obviously if you have there are fun Easter eggs in this as it is set quite a while before B&A and if you've read the third book in that series you may or may not have met characters that pop up here 🙃 The Primals/Gods/Godling/M Another absolutely *addictive* read from [email protected] and I were very cheeky chaffinches and couldn't help but keep reading 🙈 Super sorry @Jess & @Kim, we are the worst BR partners 🤦‍♀️ First off I think this can be read without reading the Blood & Ash series although obviously if you have there are fun Easter eggs in this as it is set quite a while before B&A and if you've read the third book in that series you may or may not have met characters that pop up here 🙃 The Primals/Gods/Godling/Mortal dual realm thing is so intetesting and honestly probably what really caught my attention in this series. Yes the characters are fun and as always I can never get enough of the side characters - we need so much more of the friends & draken!!! The reveals towards the end and indeed all the Easter eggs scattered throughout have the brain cogs whirring for me 📝 I'm trying to put the puzzle pieces together as to how the characters we meet in this become what we know them for in the later series & the prophecy JLA reveals towards the end is bursting with info that could be about either timeline - kudos ma'am...no spoilers tho 😇🤐 Where this kind of fell over sideways for me is in the "romance", it felt kind of samey/like it was hitting similar beats to that in B&A but slightly flipped in places. 🤔 It was kind of frustrating and again it all takes place over the span of maybe 2weeks I think? What I did like about it though are the questions of choice and love being a strength/weakness - I really like where this book ended on that front and am curious to see what the characters do with the somewhat overwhelming reveals & reasoning behind the Deal, altho I deffo think there's more to come from that...I like Nyktos & Sera slightly better than P&C (sorry to bring it back to B&A again) the latter became really annoying to me in book3 and I really hope these MCs do not follow the same path to getting stuck in *that* bubble - at the same time I am 100% rooting for them communicating and figuring out the things we all can see as obvious lolz. Their experience dynamic is also interesting and seeing Sera adjust from being quite remarkable in her realm to being somewhat more fragile amidst these other players with all the quippy characters is going to be fun 🤞🤞🤞 for more page time for all of them! 3.5 - 3.75* like B&A but shelved higher as I prefer this pairing and the (hopefully) more mature decision making - I cannot wait for this series next instalment and to see how JLA continues to dovetail + interweave her series as we go "back to the future" for her next release but it will undoubtedly feature some of those we meet here but all grown up, grouchy & I cannot wait for 🐲 v 🐺 😈

  29. 5 out of 5

    Becky Osborne

    A Shadow in the Ember is the start of the prequel series to From Blood and Ash. Taking place many years before From Blood and Ash, A Shadow in the Ember follows Seraphena as she is the chosen consort to the Primal of Death. However, she has been trained her whole life to kill him to save her people. Reading this book made me feel like I was reading FBA again, in the way that I was so gripped and into this book. This was just an extraordinary book, as I knew it would be, that's set in a magical f A Shadow in the Ember is the start of the prequel series to From Blood and Ash. Taking place many years before From Blood and Ash, A Shadow in the Ember follows Seraphena as she is the chosen consort to the Primal of Death. However, she has been trained her whole life to kill him to save her people. Reading this book made me feel like I was reading FBA again, in the way that I was so gripped and into this book. This was just an extraordinary book, as I knew it would be, that's set in a magical fantasy world. I was a little worried it might be to similar to FBA but even though it is set in the FBA world with similarities it's it own book, with its own characters. As always it was so well written, and I struggled to put it down. There's so many unexpected moments that you think you've worked out then BAM there's another twist and you were wrong. ASITE was teased as an Hades and Persephone retelling without the kidnapping which is one of my favourite retellings to read so I was extra excited. JLA did not disappoint! You had the elements of Hades and Persephone, but it wasn't the main story of the book. You have the widely loved 'I was supposed to kill you' trope which I loved and an epic slowburn romance. Sera has become one of my favourite heroine's. She's a badass character that has been given the task of saving her people, even if it wasn't her choice. Sera is a kickass and impulsive characters but she is also caring and wants what's best for her people. She's been trained her whole life in the art of killing and seduction to seduce and kill the Primal of Death and you can tell she excelled at that. She definitely has similarities to Poppy from FBA and the same stabby trait (which I loved) but she is also her own character. Her childhood and family made me so sad for her, she's been made invisible to everyone and shut out and I really felt for her. She wasn't treated like a daughter or a sister or even a friend but instead, a weapon and a means to an end, and made me want to get stabby for her. Enter the holy hotness that was the Primal of Death, Nyktos. He was just WOW. JLA just has the amazing talent of writing super hot, alpha males and I am in love. He's super mysterious from the beginning and very infuriating but so powerful you don't want to get on his bad side. There were also times makes he made my heart-strings melt, with his acts and words. From the minute Nyktos and Sera meet, you can feel the attraction, the pages practically steam. The snark between the both of them is hilarious. They both are hotheads and they make Poppy and Casteel look soft. Now this was definitely a slowburn and with the chemistry they both had once they finally gave into the tension there was fireworks. The spice was explosive, JLA defiantly amped it up for this book. As for the plot, you will learn so much more about this world, if you have read the From Blood and Ash series (which I do recommend reading before ASITE) there's so many questions we get answered and new information, which is amazing but also leaves you with more questions. everything starts to make sense and connections are formed, your jaw will be dropping to ground, many times, I was breath taken and shocked by some of the conclusions and twists it gave me so many chills and thrills. You meet new some amazing new characters that i'm excited about and old characters that you've heard of before. I loved finding out more about their lives beforehand, especially the characters that we have met before. and DRAGONS, I loved dragons and I am just obsessed. As always JLA never disappoints and writes incredible stories, and from that ending I am left wanting more. I can't wait for book two and to get more of Sera and Nyktos! Thank you JLA for sending me this ARC.

  30. 5 out of 5

    naz

    MY BANK ACCOUNT IS CRYING BUT MY HEART IS EXTREMELY HAPPY✨ "ASITE features one of the most tortured (figuratively and literally) male MC and my most complicated female MC." "Loosely inspired on hades and persephone myth.. without the kidnapping and stuff." "ASITE is adult, just the blood and ash series. There's a lot of action, a lot twists and a lot of steam." JLA DOES NOTHING BUT FEED US? THAT’S MY BESTIE FR MY BANK ACCOUNT IS CRYING BUT MY HEART IS EXTREMELY HAPPY✨ "ASITE features one of the most tortured (figuratively and literally) male MC and my most complicated female MC." "Loosely inspired on hades and persephone myth.. without the kidnapping and stuff." "ASITE is adult, just the blood and ash series. There's a lot of action, a lot twists and a lot of steam." JLA DOES NOTHING BUT FEED US? THAT’S MY BESTIE FR

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