Goodreads: King of Battle and Blood (Adrian X Isolde #1)
Published: 30 November 2021
Genre: Fantasy Romance (Romantasy)
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.
TL;DR: If you love vampires, witches, and other paranormal creatures, a fantasy world full of political intrigue and backstabbing drama, and an extremely steamy but nonetheless swoony romance between fated lovers, then I would recommend checking this one out! This was strongly reminiscent of JLA’s From Blood and Ash books with the same addicting qualities to it but I personally enjoyed my reading experience of this one so much more (take that as you will but pls no attack lol)! 😂
I’d seen a few reviews of this before I picked it up and from those reviews, I was already half-convinced that I would love this and well, I wasn’t wrong! This is probably gonna be an unpopular opinion but I’m not gonna lie, this was strongly reminiscent of the From Blood and Ash books but the only difference is that I enjoyed my reading experience with this ten times more than I did with that 😂 (don’t come for me). That’s not to say that this book is flawless but I enjoyed the writing and world-building more and I found the characters (way) less frustrating!
I’ve never read a book by St. Clair before but I liked her writing and thought it was very easy to read. I find that there are certain addicting qualities about paranormal romances that, even if you have some issues with it, compels you to gobble it up as fast as you can, and this book had it in spades! The story progresses quickly, with the first meeting between our MCs already occurring after the first few pages, and while I found it easy to predict everything that would unfold between them, it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as I was intrigued by this world’s interesting history. It’s full of paranormal creatures: witches, vampires, and lots of scary monsters from our worst nightmares such as strzyga and lamia. Though I was on the fence with Isolde’s character (come to that later), she didn’t ask questions incessantly and I thought the way we learned about Cordova’s true history alongside her felt pretty organic. I really loved reading about the old gods, the contentious and twisted history with the witches and how vampires and other monsters came into existence. Towards the end, there were instances of certain magic being used that I didn’t really grasp but that seemed vital to understanding the instantaneous connection between Isolde and Adrian. I wished that had been better explained but hopefully, that’ll be expanded on in the next book (pls)!
The characters were what had me on the fence! We don’t get much character development outside of Isolde’s, and I felt that even Adrian suffered a little bit from being under-developed, but sadly, most side characters got close to nothing. It’s a pity because I liked almost all of them and was interested in learning more, but I guess we’ll see what happens in the next book! As for our mains, I swung back and forth between really liking Isolde and being extremely irritated by her wishy-washy and spoiled attitude. 😂 You don’t get to say terrible things to someone and push them away, and then whine when they don’t pay you the attention you secretly want from them? I know she had a lot to work through, especially having been indoctrinated from a young age to believe the worst of vampires, but her whining became a bit much at times. I did like her when she was tough and feisty, especially in public—she’s not the most fearsome warrior but she’s definitely not someone to be messed with and she teaches that to many naysayers (vampires and humans alike)!
As I mentioned, Adrian doesn’t get much development, which is a pity, but I did really like him. Ngl, this guy really had me swooning! 🥵 He’s a pretty typical paranormal romantasy hero in many ways—he’s a tough but fair ruler whose people adore and fear him in equal measure, but when it comes to his queen, he’s an insane softie and worships the ground she walks on. I wasn’t surprised by a lot of the romance that happens between him and Isolde, but I really wish Adrian got his own perspective as I think it would’ve done wonders for his character and the story! Aside from Isolde’s worries about how her father will perceive her post-marriage to Adrian, she spends the rest of her time being torn between her loyalty to saving “her people” from monstrous vampires and thinking about getting Adrian naked (not that I blame her 👀). I had forewarning so I knew to expect the smuttiness but fair warning: if you’re not into horny queens and lots of forbidden vampire sex, then this will definitely not be for you! 😂
Overall, if you’re looking for a little escapism and entertainment, and you don’t mind getting your paranormal fantasy with a heavy dose of smutty romance, then I would definitely recommend checking this out! I can’t wait to get the next book. Needs now, pls!
Have you read King of Battle and Blood or is it on your TBR?