A Shadow in the Ember is another epic fantasy by American author Jennifer L. Armentrout. Published in October, 2021, A Shadow in the Ember is the first instalment of the new compelling Flesh and Fire series.
From bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes a new adult fantasy novel series, based in the beloved Blood and Ash universe. The first novel in the series, A Shadow in the Ember pulls us into an epic adventure!
If romance, political intrigue, discrimination, and high-end magical fantasy is your thing, then this novel should definitely be on your list! Perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses, or Holly Black‘s The Folk of the Air series!
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Shadow in the Ember
#1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout returns with book one of the all-new, compelling Flesh and Fire series—set in the beloved Blood and Ash world.
It is far easier to be lied to than to acknowledge that you have been lied to.Jennifer L. Armentrout, A Shadow in the Ember
Born shrouded in the veil of the Primals, a Maiden as the Fates promised, Seraphena Mierel’s future has never been hers. Chosen before birth to uphold the desperate deal her ancestor struck to save his people, Sera must leave behind her life and offer herself to the Primal of Death as his Consort.
However, Sera’s real destiny is the most closely guarded secret in all of Lasania—she’s not the well protected Maiden but an assassin with one mission—one target. Make the Primal of Death fall in love, become his weakness, and then…end him. If she fails, she dooms her kingdom to a slow demise at the hands of the Rot.
Sera has always known what she is. Chosen. Consort. Assassin. Weapon. A specter never fully formed yet drenched in blood. A monster. Until him. Until the Primal of Death’s unexpected words and deeds chase away the darkness gathering inside her. And his seductive touch ignites a passion she’s never allowed herself to feel and cannot feel for him. But Sera has never had a choice. Either way, her life is forfeit—it always has been, as she has been forever touched by Life and Death.
Princess Seraphena “Sera” Mierel stares at her reflection in the Shadow Temple, trying to calm her nerves. As her mother, Queen Calliphe of Lasania, approaches, Sera notes that she looks like her late father, and nothing like her mother. Sera has been treated like a Chosen her whole life, even though she is not one. She is the Maiden. Tonight is her 17th birthday, and she is to become the Primal of Death’s Consort.
Her step-brother, Tavius, enters the room. It is clear that he and Sera are not close, nor do they like each other very much. Since the people of Lasania do not know of her existence, Tavius became the heir to the crown.
The Queen’s trusted Lady, Lady Kala, enters, announcing that the Priests expect the Primal’s arrival soon. Lady Kala leads Sera through the winding halls of the Temple. Two Shadow Priests open doors for the Lady and Sera. Her mother, step-father (Ernald), step-sister (Ezmeria “Ezra”), and Tavius enter the chamber. Sir Holland, the knight of the Royal Guard, was not allowed to be there, as it would reveal that Sera was not the sacrificial lamb, but rather the wolf in disguise. Suddenly, the ground began to shake, mist appeared, and then a male was standing in front of the dais. The Primal announces that he does not need a Consort and then disappears. Sera’s mother slaps her and then claims that Sera has failed them.
Three years later, the Vondina Isles Lord, Lord Claus, is walking down the Great Hall of Wayfair Castle. He approaches the King and Queen saying that he speaks on behalf of his Crown. He throws the head of Lord Sarros, the Advisor to the Crown of Lasania, at their feet and says that his Crown rejects the offer of allegiance with Lasania. After the Lord leaves, Calliphe orders Sera to go after him to send a message to the Vondina Isles. Sera finds him on his ship and begins to seduce him and then pulls out her dagger and kills him.
Upon walking back from the port, Sera sees a goddess kill a man behind a townhouse. A god walks out of the house carrying a baby, whom he tosses onto the ground next to the dead man. Sera begins to walk towards the gods to confront them but then a hand clamps her mouth shut as an arm folds around her waist. A male voice warns her not to make a sound.
The man leads her away from the house into a nearby tunnel. Sera looks at him and thinks to herself that he might be the most stunning man she had ever laid eyes on. After studying his eyes, she realizes that he is a god. He says that the other gods are coming and tells her to wrap her legs around his waist and to kiss him. Sera reluctantly agrees because she knows that it is the only way to go unnoticed. Sera asks why he stopped her from going after the other gods and he tells her that he is not like them. He says that she should go home. As she is walking away, she gets a feeling that she shouldn’t walk away from him.
Sera asks why the god cares about the murders. The god tells her that murders similar to these have happened before: at least four in the last month. He admits that one of those who were killed was his friend. Sera tells him to get on with killing her and he tells her that that thought hadn’t once crossed his mind. The god tells her to be careful and that he will be watching her, then disappears.
Sera is sparring with Sir Braylon Holland. She blindly throws a dagger at a dummy and Braylon tells her she needs to work on her aim. He reprimands her about running wild about the capitol and Sera recalls that in the past three years, there have been two instances where someone found out who she was and attempted to kidnap her. She believes that Tavius had been behind the rumors. The two speak about how Sera punched the Prince because he had a horse whipped and then begin talking about how Sera poisoned Tavius’s fiancée so that she would fall ill and prevent Tavius’s ascension to the throne.
We’re so happy to return to this beautifully crafted universe! The chemistry and development of Armentout’s characters is always so engaging. Not to mention the world-building. We love a prophecy! The foreshadowing of things we already know from the main series is so exciting, it’s kind of like reminiscing in its own way.
Sera and Nyktos are no Cas and Poppy – but hey, it’s the first novel, we need to give it some time. It is a reminiscent of the beloved Greek tale of Hades and Persephone yet Nyktos and Sera’s tale felt authentic as Blood and Ash is enriched with its own vivid mythology. There’s no doubt that this will be a wonderful love story upon its fruition!
The betrayals and the plot-twists will definitely leave you hooked! I ate this book. And as always, we are left with more questions than answers. It’s exciting to see how this series and the Blood and Ash series will merge and compliment each other! We can’t wait!
Our rating: ★★★★★
About the Author
#1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
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. Due to her diagnosis, she considers educating people about this disorder is a priority of hers which she will promote alongside her writing. Inspirational!
Jennifer has won numerous awards, including:
- 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You,
- 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me
- 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian.
- DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.
- Her adult romantic suspense novel TILL DEATH was an Amazon Editor’s Pick and iBook Book of the Month.
- Young adult contemporary THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER is a 2017 RITA Award Winner in Young Adult Fiction.
- Her novel STORM AND FURY was chosen for the 2020-2021 Florida Teens Read List.
- The adult fantasy FROM BLOOD AND ASH was the 2020 Goodreads Choice Award in Romance.
Check out Jennifer’s author page on her website here!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is A Shadow in the Ember a series?
Following the success of the Blood and Ash series, Armentrout began another fantasy book series in 2021 as a companion to the Blood & Ash series.
The Flesh and Fire series is a companion prequel, with two novels.
- A Shadow in the Ember
- A Light in the Flame
Is A Shadow in the Ember a part of the From Blood and Ash series
A Shadow in the Ember is the first in the Flesh and Fire series, a prequel to the Blood and Ash series and set in the same world.
Do Sera and Nyktos end up together?
Nyktos and Sera end up together; both are still alive and have had two children (twins) together named Malec and Ires.
Do I need to read Shadow in the Ember before War of Two Queens
The recommended reading order is to read Shadow in the Ember before diving into The War of Two Queens