Book Review: KING OF BATTLE AND BLOOD by Scarlett St. Claire

I received a review copy from the publicity company in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white on black with muted gold splash
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 3.5 stars
Series: yes - first book

Synopsis:

Book cover for KING OF BATTLE AND BLOOD: title in white on black with red leaves around and crossed gold swords in the middle bound by roses

Their Union Is His Revenge.

Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king, Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him. ⠀

But her assassination attempt is thwarted and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court. ⠀

Except it isn’t the court she fears most—it’s Adrain. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king——fierce, savage, merciless—chose her as consort. ⠀

The answer will shatter her world.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

This is the year of the vampire clearly. KING OF BATTLE AND BLOOD is the seventh (or ninth, depending on whether one duology is counted as vampiric or not) vampire book of the year for me – I know of a lot more that were released.

This is a steamy fantasy romance, enemies-to-lovers with a forgotten/hidden past. This book is full of romance tropes (though somehow avoids “only one bed,” which is one of the most common and fun I think!) It’s vampiric take felt like it merged a few tropes I identify more with fae, and also includes a lot of other undead creatures to add to the raft of dangers around Isolde.

I’ll be honest, this book was more explicit than I was expecting (and am generally comfortable reading.) Everyone’s on-page “spicy” preference is different, and this certainly exceeded mine. The other thing to say about this book’s sex scenes is that it’s sex-positive about women’s desire (and I don’t think there’s anything else objective that can be said on this topic as it’s so subjective!)

The vacillation between wanting Adrian and hating him felt a little whip-lash/exhausting, because she’d spend a few chapters trying to act against him, then several in bed, then go back to hating him. It didn’t feel like, overall, each repetition of these cycles were much different to the last – that her emotions were changing (which made the key event in the relationship feel a bit out of nowhere.)

I did guess the past pretty early on (which falls under a general “the people you thought were the baddies weren’t, as the victor writes history.”) Knowing that, it made for anticipation to the ending, how the hints would come together to put Isolde and the villain fact to face.

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