A shadow in the ember

Gepubliceerd op 20 januari 2023 om 15:00

Title: A shadow in the ember

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: Flesh and fire, part 1

Genre(s): Fantasy, romance

My rating: 5/5 stars

Other books by this author: A lot, on the author's website you can find all the titles.

Find Jennifer L. Armentrout here:

The story:

A shadow in the ember is the first part of the new "flesh and fire" series. This series is closely related (a sort of prequel series) to the "blood and ash" series and the author has indicated that you can read these two series interchangeably to give the whole world an extra layer. A shadow in the ember would then be read after you read "Crown of gilded bones". The entire reading order can be found on the author's website in the FAQ.

A shadow in the ember follows the story of Sera (Seraphena) who is prepared as the chosen one to become the consort of the primal god of death. Seducing him and, once the primal god falls in love with her, killing him. All this to save her people from the Rot that is affecting all of nature and causing an increasing shortage of food. The kingdom is dying and she is the person to stop it.

She has been told this purpose all her life, even when she already has been rejected by the primal god of death. Sera decides to do some things in her life for herself and to not always follow the rules she is supposed to follow. When she does get taken by the Primal God and finds out that she has seen him before, Sera realizes that he is actually quite different than she first thought. He unleashes a passion in her that she had never felt before. But there is also always the goal of saving her kingdom.


The characters:

Sera (Seraphena) is the main character in this story and you also follow the story from her point-of-view. Because of this, as a reader, you also read her thoughts and so you know all sorts of things about the world, but not everything. You know exactly what Sera knows. This makes it fun when you go to new places, as you learn new things along with her. Sera is portrayed as a very strong character, who, in her head, can also be quite insecure and afraid at times. She didn't choose this destiny and really struggles with that at times. Sera has also become quite good at turning off her feelings in certain situations and completely emptying herself, so that what she is about to do will not hurt her. As a reader, then, you are totally drawn into this process.

Sera is not quick to get really anxious and that sometimes gets on people's nerves. Like, for example, with Ash.

Ash is someone who Sera meets early in the story and who triggers certain things in her that she didn't expect. Ash is not used to getting a lot of backlash and Sera is not afraid to stand up to him. Or to stab him with a dagger. She runs into Ash more often than she likes, but she actually wants to see him even when he's not around.

Besides these two, the main characters, throughout the story you will see other characters appear and also leave. You also meet (baby) drakens (dragons that also have a human form) and various gods.


My opinion:

I already love the Blood and Ash series and couldn't wait to continue reading in this world. I now also find it quite a pity that the next part for this combo series read will be released in Dutch in April. It's that I don't like switching languages in the middle of a series, but the urge to do it is there.

This book also grabbed me right away and I enjoyed reading almost every page. I instantly connected with several characters and loathed others. I also enjoyed seeing from a different angle what characters are like who you already know from "the crown of gilded bones". I got new insights and understand some things better now. Even though I still have some questions too (but I think I know a few answers when I start browsing back through the first three parts of the Blood and ash series again).

The first time in the realm of the gods, you met a lot of characters and I sometimes had some trouble switching between them for a moment as to who exactly was who. And by the end I had already forgotten which gods were visiting (No spoilers: if you know you know). This is because they were important in the beginning, but were forgotten in the middle section. I found this somewhat unfortunate, because it was a pretty big part of the plot to my mind. Although the things I found a little less were really very small things and I didn't miss any big things in this story.

I also loved to read about the baby drakens so much. Personally, I thought they were a top addition to the story. They made some scenes just a little more lighthearted and brought a smile to your face. They were a good filler between the more intense scenes.

I really hated the ending, not because it was bad, but because I couldn't continue reading right away. Now I do have an idea of what's going to happen, because it's made slightly clear in the other series. But the road to it and what happens along the way that makes things the way they are in the future are still a big surprise. I really can't wait to read on again and although the book was over 600 pages, it didn't feel that thick. I really flew through the story way too fast.

So now it's waiting for April so I can continue with reading part 4 of Blood and ash. Then to wait again and be able to return to these characters, who I have also already taken into my heart.



A shadow in the ember is already the perfect book for anyone who enjoyed the first parts of the blood and ash series, but also for anyone who absolutely loves fantasy. The book contains a little bit of everything, fierce battles, steamy scenes, (baby) drakens and emotional scenes. I do recommend reading this series along with the blood and ash series so you really get the whole experience.


Let's finish with one of my favorite quotes from the book:

"I know what I am. I’ve always known. I am one of the worst sort. A monster … But don’t you ever tell me how I feel."

- Jennifer L. Armentrout, A shadow in the ember


{I received this book as a review copy, wherefore I thank the Dutch publishing house from this book, but this doesn't influence my opinion on the story}