A Light in the Flame
by Jennifer L Armentrout
I know I’m not the only person who hates reading an unfinished series. I just want to binge read the entire story as quickly as possible. But here we are. Book 2 in the Flesh and Fire series by JLA, with no release date for book 3 in sight.
When I reviewed the first book in this series I said it was my favorite from this world/universe, partly because of the drakens. However, as time has passed and I’ve had a chance to read many different stories and interpretations of Hades or Gods of the Dead or Underworld, I think it has more to do with Ash/Nyktos being one of the main characters. I personally find a lot of intrigue around the discussion of the afterlife, and love the juxtaposition between the rulers of the dead and their often hidden kind and gentler sides.
I could go on and on about why I find stories set in some sort of Underworld fascinating, but I’m not sure this is the right review for that discussion. More than ever with this book I noticed JLA’s pattern of storytelling. I’m not sure if it’s intentional that Sera and Poppy are living almost identical fates. Is this to match up to the prophecy becoming fulfilled in the future? The plots seem so similar that at times while reading I wished I could go back and reread Poppy’s books to see, to the page, how closely they align.
While this repetitive nature of the story might bother some readers, as I discussed in my review of book 1, I don’t mind it in this context. I hope, and believe, that this pattern exists to further the relationship between Sera and Poppy’s destinies intertwining, and it also relieves a bit of my anxiety while reading if I know what to expect, to some degree.
There is something about the scenes with water that always become my favorites. I won’t look into that too personally, but in the first novel the lake scene was a standout, while this time it was an underground pool. The heat and overall chemistry between Ash and Sera was palpable. The wanting they both shared for each other, as we the reader watched it morph into something new, and the characters individually moving through so many emotions as a result of the actions of those around them was a tangible entity in the room with me.
Some of those emotions included not so veiled discussions of anxiety, breathing techniques to ward off panic attacks, and brief reflections on suicide. All of which I thought were handled appropriately. The book also includes resources and help hotlines on the final page, which I thought was incredibly responsible and inclusive for those who may need it.
I kept experience a-ha moments while reading this book where I thought I knew what was coming, or thought I had figured out ways to save a certain someone. I could have sworn, more than once, that as soon as I flipped the page I’d see my ideas come to fruition, but they never did. I’m even more curious now to see what will happen in book 3, especially regarding some other ‘made’ creatures who I had expected to meet by now. Either way, I’m hooked and down bad for this series, and will be waiting however long it takes for the next one.