Serena’s Review: “The Crown of Gilded Bones”

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Book: “The Crown of Gilded Bones” by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Publishing Info: Blue Box Press, April 2021

Where Did I Get this Book: bought the ebook

Where Can You Get this Book: Amazon | IndieBound | WorldCat

Book Description: 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.

Previously Reviewed: “From Blood and Ash” and “A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire”

Review: After I realized the fourth book in this series was coming out in March, I decided to see if I could get through the series up to that point by the time it was released. And here I am getting my review for the third book out about three days before the release of the fourth! By the skin of my teeth, I’ve managed it. Not because I haven’t enjoyed these books quite a lot, but because man, they’re looooong.

Poppy’s brief moment of believing she had the freedom to shape her own future came quickly to an end when she arrived at Atlantia and found a Queenship awaiting her. As she tries to wrap her mind around taking on the leadership of a nation she only just realized still existed, her very being is also still in question, with more and more twists and turns popping up in her confusing heritage. But the world is a large place, and Poppy’s own struggles with identity and choice pale in comparison to the grander forces moving pieces on the world stage. Including the Queen of Blood and Ash, a woman whose motives and methods suddenly begin to unravel an entire misunderstood history.

These books are so wackadoo, and I’m here for it. No insult meant, but it’s like reading a crazy elaborate fanfiction where the author set out to write a short little enemies-to-lovers romance and then got so caught up that when she looked up she had created a world with so many layers upon layers that she needed a detailed history and hierarchy to keep track of it all. Add to that the tendency of some fanfiction writers to end up with behemoth 100k word beasts on their hands; similarly, Armentrout’s extended page length per book and increasingly long plan for the total number of books in the series.

Overall, I did enjoy this book more than the second one. There was a similar tendency for the story to drag at points, notably around the middle part of the book, but I felt like there was much more action overall in this story than there was in the previous. There was also still the habit of falling back on jokes that are very well worn by now. Poppy’s graphic book was funny enough when it was introduced, but we get it (though, to be fair, there were a few surprises tied to this that came up here). Also, Poppy has questions. Which, honestly, seems like a totally normal, heck, responsible thing to do given the fact she has to choose whether or not to RULE AN ENTIRE COUNTRY! But, again, because this book simply had more action and plot to it, these repetitive things didn’t hit quite as hard because most of the time they were coming up in the middle of actual scenes where stuff was happening.

I’m also going to hedge my excitement by admitting that this series has definitely followed a few tropes that I generally find annoying. Like the fact that Poppy is a super special girl who has been leveled up again and again. But, like I said before, it’s almost gotten to such a wackadoo extent that I’ve come back around to loving it! If you go full-on in your embrace of the extreme ridiculousness, it still somehow work, and I think that’s what Armentrout has managed here.

Casteel is still good, too, though I’m mostly here for Poppy herself. There was one decision that he makes early in this book, however, that I thought deserved a lot more attention. I think there was a pretty big missed opportunity and missed point altogether that had to do with this decision (you’ll definitely know it when you see it). Luckily, because it’s such a long book and there are so many things happening, this actual event quickly fell into the rearview mirror. But whenever I did stop and think back on it, I was annoyed again with how it was handled. Mostly, because I do think there was a way of doing this that would have covered all bases, and for whatever reason, I feet like Armentrout missed this and ended up in a situation where Casteel and Poppy (maybe mostly Poppy) were kind of out of character.

The last third of this book was bonkers. There were some huge reveals and huge game-changers in the world and magical elements. I was able to see a few of these coming, but most of them I only had portions of, with larger reveals about the how/why still to come. Kind of spoilers, but….

Kate…you might need to get in on this action

Have I mentioned often enough how crazy this series is? But in a good way? So far, that’s been my main takeaway. I was pleased to see more action in this book, so hopefully that will continue on from here with the second book’s slower pace being a one-off rather than a standard. This book also ended on a massive cliffhanger. Lucky me though that there’s only three days until the next book comes out! Just don’t do it again, Armentrout.

Rating 8: More action packed than the second book and the author has managed to still continue adding on top of her already crazy complicated world and magic system. Somehow in the best way?

Reader’s Advisory:

“A Crown of Gilded Bones” is on these Goodreads lists: Epic High Fantasy/Romance/Mythology in 2021 and only one bed? but how about only one horse??? (I couldn’t not include that second one. How is that an actual Goodreads lists?? Very funny.)

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