Review: The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout

She’s been the victim and the survivor…

Poppy never dreamed she would find the love she’s found with Prince Casteel. She wants to revel in her happiness but first they must free his brother and find hers. It’s a dangerous mission and one with far-reaching consequences neither dreamed of. Because Poppy is the Chosen, the Blessed. The true ruler of Atlantia. She carries the blood of the King of Gods within her. By right the crown and the kingdom are hers.

The enemy and the warrior…

Poppy has only ever wanted to control her own life, not the lives of others, but now she must choose to either forsake her birthright or seize the gilded crown and become the Queen of Flesh and Fire. But as the kingdoms’ dark sins and blood-drenched secrets finally unravel, a long-forgotten power rises to pose a genuine threat. And they will stop at nothing to ensure that the crown never sits upon Poppy’s head.

A lover and heartmate…

But the greatest threat to them and to Atlantia is what awaits in the far west, where the Queen of Blood and Ash has her own plans, ones she has waited hundreds of years to carry out. Poppy and Casteel must consider the impossible—travel to the Lands of the Gods and wake the King himself. And as shocking secrets and the harshest betrayals come to light, and enemies emerge to threaten everything Poppy and Casteel have fought for, they will discover just how far they are willing to go for their people—and each other.

And now she will become Queen…

  • Title: The Crown of Gilded Bones
  • Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Publisher: Blue Box Press
  • Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Adult, Fantasy Romance
  • Targeted Age Range: New Adult
  • Trigger Warnings: Violence, gore, descriptive violence, torture, torture mentioned, blood, sexual content, kidnapping, attempted murder, murder, war, child death, animal death, parental death, parental death mention, sibling death, 
  • Rating: ★★★★★

The Crown of Gilded Bones was one of, if not the, most anticipated books of the year for me. I adore the From Blood and Ash series a lot, and I’ve read it about three times since first picking it up in October last year. It has everything I love – interesting characters, a great fantasy world, and a magic system that just makes sense. Everyone knows that my favourite genre is fantasy: it just makes me so happy, and From Blood and Ash is just the perfect fantasy. 

This book directly takes off from the ending of A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, jumping straight into the plot as if there wasn’t a year between releases. Turning the pages of this book feels like coming home – it’s warm and familiar and the characters are as loveable as you remember. One of my favourite things about this book is the character development, especially in Poppy. In the first book, Poppy is quiet and unsure of herself, despite being quick to fight and outspoken. She’s fully immersed in her Maiden persona, so seeing her develop into a strong, confident and powerful queen is a delight. She has come a long way from book one, and it’s been a lovely arc to experience. You can clearly see her development throughout the book, and I can’t wait to see how Jennifer continues to develop her character as the series goes on. 

In book three, we get to experience new locations in the already vast world Armentrout has created. We get to experience more of Atlantia, and experience some newer, cooler cities that I won’t go into much detail about (sorry friends, I don’t wait to spoil!). Armentrout has a way of writing locations that make them feel so incredibly real, as if you’re walking through the streets alongside the characters. One of my favourite parts of this series is how huge the world is, and how we’re never going to stop learning and discovering new cities and towns alongside our band of protagonists. I loved learning more about Atlantia, and it was one of the things I was most looking forward to in this book. A lot of the book is set there, and it was super exciting to get to read about the customs and lore. I hope we get to learn more about it in book four! 

I was very engaged and impressed with the plot of this novel. I was worried that it would feel incomplete, that it wouldn’t live up to my own expectations, but I can strongly say that it exceeded them all. I was invested from page one, and I was desperately trying to finish the book to find out what happened next. Honestly, if I didn’t have to go to work, I would have finished it in one sitting and stayed up all night reading it. Unfortunately I am an adult with an adult job, and I didn’t think to book the day off of work, so I had to pace myself. If I were to use one word to describe the plot of this book, it would be exciting. It continued to expand upon what we already experienced in the first two books, while providing extra content and an extra layer to an already lush story. There were ups, downs, laugh-out-loud moments and plot twists – everything you look for in a novel. It was a very strong contribution to the series, and I just hope Armentrout is up to the task of continuing such a good streak of success. 

That being said, I did have a few issues with it despite rating it five stars. Jennifer L. Armentrout tries to include diversity in her books, but I think it falls short. It’s wonderful that she has so many characters of colour, but I can’t help but notice so many of them are sidelined. They don’t really have their own storyline, save for bowing to Cas and Poppy and declaring them their king and queen. They just exist for the sake of existing, so I would love to see some of them get their own storylines and plot points! At points, Poppy’s characterisation felt almost cliche – the chosen one who suddenly has lots of powers and she doesn’t need to practice to make them well trained and stronger. It’s a very common trait in fantasy, so I can see how it made its way into this series, but I wish Armentrout took the time to develop and explore Poppy’s powers in more detail, to flesh them out a bit more. And hey, maybe we’ll get that in future books, but for now it felt very cliche and a bit Mary-Sue. 

All in all, I think The Crown of Gilded Bones is a strong addition to the series, and I cannot wait to see how it progresses. I am eagerly waiting for the prequel that was announced at the end of the book, and I am counting down the days to October 19th. If you’ve read this book, or this series, be sure to let me know your thoughts down below! 

Links for The Crown of Gilded Bones: Goodreads | TheStoryGraph | Bookshop | IndieBound

# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Charles Town, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. In early 2015, Jennifer was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and death of cells in the retina, eventually resulting in loss of vision, among other complications. Due to this diagnosis, educating people on the varying degrees of blindness has become of passion of hers, right alongside writing, which she plans to do as long as she can.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Tor, HarperCollins Avon and William Morrow, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her Wicked Series has been optioned by PassionFlix. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. Her adult romantic suspense novel TILL DEATH was a Amazon Editor’s Pick and iBook Book of the Month. Her young adult contemporary THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER is a 2017 RITA Award Winner in Young Adult Fiction. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.
She is the owner of ApollyCon and The Origin Event, the successful annual events that features over hundred bestselling authors in Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult Fiction, panels, parties, and more.

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