Top positive review
Excellent start to a new series!
Reviewed in the United States on October 19, 2021
A Shadow in the Ember is book one of the Flesh and Fire series, which is a companion to the Blood and Ash series.
This is the story of Nyktos, the Primal of Death, and Sera, his Consort.
Nyktos and Sera have never had a choice. A deal made centuries ago has bound them together. Trained to become his weakness, Sera must get Nyktos to fall in love with her. But is the Primal of Death even capable of such an emotion?
Nyktos is so much more than The Primal of Death, and there is a reason his people feel safe with him.
He is protective and thoughtful. His sweetness to Sera, and his willingness to give her what she needs, without taking for himself, speaks volumes. And it also seems like the complete opposite of what one would assume the Primal of Death to actually be like. He has a conscience and understands what taking a life does to the soul.
But he is also closed off and in need of more.
Don't get me wrong. He is powerful and dangerous, and he can be eerily calm, detached, and downright scary. His power is unbelievable and unfathomable.
It's interesting to see Nyktos here after meeting him in TCOGB. In TCOGB, he seems a little broken (for obvious reasons). Here, he is so young and humorous (at times), but he is also jaded and burdened by so many things. Seeing him open up to Sera is both beautiful and heartbreaking.
Sera was born with a single purpose. End the Primal and restore life to her kingdom. She is fiery, unapologetic, and willful. She is also reckless and impulsive, and seems to have little regard for her own life. And I get it. She was raised to be a weapon with an expiration date.
But Sera is also lonely underneath her bravado. A simple, kind gesture from Nyktos begins to unravel everything, and it places her between duty to a kingdom and loyalty to herself and her heart.
I absolutely love the connection between Sera and Nyktos. And I can't get into the why of it without spoilers. They are so right together, but neither seems to trust easily - or even understand why they cannot seem to stay away.
So many questions from the Blood and Ash series are answered through Nyktos and Sera's story. There are interesting twists, and I am a fan of the larger world building.
We meet some fascinating characters in this story and learn about the politics of Iliseeum - where things aren't necessarily what they seem to be.
I am very much looking forward to book two!