My Thoughts on A Light in the Flame (Flesh and Fire, Book 2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Jennifer L. Armentrout’s second book in the prequel series to Blood and Ash (Flesh and Fire) was finally released. I was curious about what would happen in A Light in the Flame because the last time we left off, Sera was about to die unless she was Ascended by Nyktos through love. Something we quickly learn he is not capable of because he had that part of his soul removed years ago. Furthermore, the two are still figuring out how to deal with each other after the truth about Sera’s upbringing was revealed in A Shadow in the Ember.

Synopsis

The only one who can save Sera now is the one she spent her life planning to kill.

The truth about Sera’s plan is out, shattering the fragile trust forged between her and Nyktos. Surrounded by those distrustful of her, all Sera has is her duty. She will do anything to end Kolis, the false King of Gods, and his tyrannical rule of Iliseeum, thus stopping the threat he poses to the mortal realm.

Nyktos has a plan, though, and as they work together, the last thing they need is the undeniable, scorching passion that continues to ignite between them. Sera cannot afford to fall for the tortured Primal, not when a life no longer bound to a destiny she never wanted is more attainable than ever. But memories of their shared pleasure and unrivaled desire are a siren’s call impossible to resist.

And as Sera begins to realize that she wants to be more than a Consort in name only, the danger surrounding them intensifies. The attacks on the Shadowlands are increasing, and when Kolis summons them to Court, a whole new risk becomes apparent. The Primal power of Life is growing inside her, pushing her closer to the end of her Culling. And without Nyktos’s love—an emotion he’s incapable of feeling—she won’t survive her Ascension. That is if she even makes it to her Ascension and Kolis doesn’t get to her first. Because time is running out. For both her and the realms.

Book Details

  • Published: November 15, 2022
  • Page Count: 654 pages
  • Genre: Fantasy Romance

Thoughts on A Light in the Flame

Between the two main characters (Nyktos and Sera) their character arc and relationship follows a nearly identical path as Poppy and Casteel. A few things are switched up, but it boils down to the same things:

  • One of them betrayed the other through previous ill intentions they never fully acted on (Sera and Casteel)
  • The male individual first introduced themselves by another name (that is still a nickname they are called by those close to them) and the female character spends a portion of the book coming to terms with this.
  • The female character denies that there are feelings between herself and the male character. Poppy stated that they were pretending or it wasn’t real in A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, while Sera comments that it was not something more between herself and Nyktos. When we knew both times it was.
  • The male character ended up in a situation (past or present) that resulted in them being used by another. Casteel was used by the Blood Crown when he was their prisoner. Nyktos was used for his blood by another Primal in order to protect Sera.
  • Both individuals admit they love the other (not saying the words specifically).
  • They get married and their union is blessed resulting in a marriage imprint that cannot fade unless through death.
  • Poppy and Sera end up in a cage following their use of magic at the end of their respective books. Poppy in The Crown of Gilded Bones, while Sera ends up in the cage at the end of A Light in the Flame.

Also, add in that Nyktos reads emotions like Poppy, and you’re basically re-reading A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire with a slightly different plot underneath. Instead, of traveling across the realm to reach Atlantia so Poppy and Castell can marry. You have Sera and Nyktos trying to figure out a way to save Sera’s life as the Primal embers continue to grow in strength. Add in more action as Kolis tries to find the individual with the embers, and you have A Light in the Flame.

I won’t spoil what happens in the book beyond the character arc, but if you’ve read the Blood and Ash series, you already know most of those details. Sera is the Consort of Nyktos. The one thing we have yet to see is how she survives the Culling. We know she does from the other series, but it hasn’t been revealed yet. But I’ll be curious to see how it plays out considering the same prophecy that is used during Poppy’s time is used during Sera’s. So, which elements align with what part I’m not completely sure. As the individuals keep interpreting it differently. So, the two series really end up mirroring each other. Which I have a feeling is a pattern that’s going to continue.

This isn’t fully a bad thing, but it can feel at times I’m reading the same thing with different font. The main thing that helps is while the character arcs might reflect each other, the underlying plot is different as I mentioned before.

Another major focus in this book was Sera dealing with anxiety. It was something that was “magically cured”. Because there’s no such thing as a magical cure for anxiety. It was more like it was described how to use certain breathing techniques to deal with it, and that it didn’t make Sera weak. Not only that, but she wasn’t the only individual to deal with it. Nyktos’s friend dealt with it leading up to his death.

We also saw baby Reaver and Jadis playing. Not only that but Reaver is very protective of Sera over anyone else. Even against Nyktos and other primals. I also have a feeling that it’s hinted that Jadis and Reaver will be a thing in the future when they get older. And we got to see how much Reaver cares for Jadis. It was sweet, I can’t wait for them to be reunited in the other series.

Also, Sera spends a large majority of the book exhausted. Her jaw isn’t in pain from the Culling, but she is exhausted all the time. It’s possible that’s not because of the Culling, but rather due to the fact she’s pregnant with Malec and Ires. Nektas did tell Poppy:

“But Nyktos was supposed to be the last born Primal, and the Consort would be the last Primal born of mortal flesh. You,” he said quietly, “were never supposed to be.”

“Sorry?” I whispered.

The draken cracked a small grin. It was brief, but I saw it.

“The plotting that brought about your creation is not something you should apologize for,” he said, his voice softening. “Malec and Ires were already well on their way to being born by that point. But what was done to stop Kolis meant that Malec and Ires could never risk children. Malec did anyway, but that…that is Malec,” he said with a sigh. “We all got lucky before.”

The War of Two Queens, Chapter 50

She might not be, but it’s entirely possible. Especially as Poppy who also went through the Culling was never that tired. But she also Ascended before any of the Culling symptoms really started. While Sera hasn’t been as she can’t be Ascended without being killed in the process as she’s well into the Culling by that point. So, who knows at the moment as right now the events that have happened in the Prequel series have taken place in maybe a month’s time so far. So, there’s no way she would know if she was pregnant yet.

Overall, I would give A Light in the Flame a 4.25 out of 5-star rating. I loved the book. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next in this prequel series. As it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, but not a heart-wrenching one. More like one where the balance of things is hanging and you’re not sure which way it’s going to go. There were times when things were a little repetitive like Sera mentioning how ‘it wasn’t something more whenever she referred to her feelings with Nyktos. But considering it wasn’t repeated to the point where it was overdone, that didn’t bother me.

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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