A Shadow in the Ember (Flesh and Fire #1) – Jennifer L. Armentrout

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 570
Release Date: October 19, 2021

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. 


A Shadow in the Ember is the beginning of the prequel series to Armentrout’s widely popular From Blood and Ash. Taking place many years before From Blood and Ash, A Shadow in the Ember follows Seraphena as she is the chosen consort to the Primal of Death. However, she has been trained her whole life to kill him to save her people.

A Shadow in the Ember is Armentrout’s take on the Persephone and Hades story. I’ve read a few retellings and A Shadow in the Ember is easily my favourite. Sera is a badass character willing to put everything on the line to save her people. She’s intelligent, caring, and aggressive when she needs to be. The Primal of Death is shrouded in mystery. Armentrout’s love interests are always well-written. They usually have a lot of alpha male tendencies, but also have a softer side making them practically perfect. The Primal of Death is no exception.

The chemistry between Sera and the Primal of Death is chef’s kiss. The tension between the two builds beautifully before coming to an explosive head that is so very satisfying.

A Shadow in the Ember is a slow burn novel. Everything about it is slow as readers get the opportunity to simmer in the world. This may seem like a criticism, however Armentrout is able to engage readers despite the slow pace through the heavy romantic elements and world building. Though this novel takes place in the same world as From Blood and Ash, it’s very different so the slow pace of the novel allows readers to get a better understanding of the world and its differences as compared to the From Blood and Ash novels set in the future.

The end of this novel will hit readers hard with a big reveal and implications for future books. I was highlighting so much in the final few pages.

The one criticism I do have of the novel is the inclusion of the running “I have questions joke” from the original novels. It was tiresome in The Crown of Gilded Bones and it was tiresome here, though not as annoying.

Overall, A Shadow in the Ember is a fantastic retelling of Persephone and Hades that builds beautifully on Armentrout’s already well crafted From Blood and Ash world. If you’re a fan of From Blood and Ash, you do not want to miss A Shadow in the Ember!

***I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Will you be reading A Shadow in the Ember?

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