Review by: Sophie @bewareofthereader
A Shadow in the Ember by Jennifer Armentrout
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.
Jennifer Armentrout did the impossible: make me forget how impatient I was to read Poppy and Cas’s sequel!
I didn’t think this new book would capture my attention like it did but I found myself immersed in Sera and Nyktos story.
And now, to add insult to injury, I don’t have to wait only for Poppy and Cas’s story but for Sera and Nyktos as well! Gah!!!
When I began reding A Shadow in the Ember, it was rather unsettling because of the familiarity with the Blood and Ash series.
Of course, you’d say, this is a prequel duh!
But this was more than that as we had a “Chosen” living as a Maiden (like Poppy) to fulfill a higher destiny and you had a villain: Death or Nyktos (like Casteel). Also the Chosen alias Sera was isolated just like Poppy had been and then, some years later, after she had been turned down by Death, she’ll go seek pleasure in a pleasure house.
Does it ring a bell? Yes? Good because it should!
So I feared the worst, a pale copycat. Did Jennifer succumb to the money god and rehash a well used recipe?
My answer came later on with my reading progress: no.
Well of course there is use of well-known tropes in romance but this was not a retelling of Poppy and Cas. Pfew! It still is a very good fantasy romance with worthy heroine and panty dropping gorgeous male lead!
Sera is a strong and compassionate female character. She bears a unique gift, one akin to Poppy’s. She has been rejected, hidden by her own mother. Groomed to serve a deadly purpose involving the demise of Nyktos, her mother will totally shun her once Nyktos will refuse Sera as a consort.
Being rejected was equally freeing and dooming for Sera.
Freeing because she could finally leave the castle and roam the city like she wanted, no longer needing to remain the maiden. But dooming because Sera despair for her people. She feels powerless to help them dying from hunger because of the Rot slowly spreading.
Having learned to find like the best warriors, Sera can kill easily. But she also has huge compassion for her people and wants to help every abused woman or kid or…
When she’ll meet Asher, gorgeous and huge male for the first time, their interaction will be…spicy!
Every meet they have cement their undeniable attraction. It’s also Asher who will give Sera her first gift ever.
Do I need to add that you’ll fall for him? Gorgeous, deadly and caring? Mmmm?
I won’t delve further into the plot as I don’t want to spoil your fun but know that you get the same well-crafted world building as you got in From Blood and Ash series with added explanations about gods and primals.
You also have a prophecy, a deal made before Sera’s birth, some major treason, a secret about Sera that is not yet fully explained by the end of the book and of course some very HAWT scenes! Aaaand a cliffhanger.
Now I need the sequel…