Content Warnings: Smut, Blood, Violence, Language
King of Battle and Blood is a fantasy romance that revolves around Isolde, Princess of Lara, and Adrian, the Blood King. Adrian is set on taking on the Nine Houses, which includes the House of Lara. Upon seeing Isolde, he determines that she will be his wife or her people will be slaughtered.
Isolde reluctantly agrees and goes to live with her mortal enemy. But things aren’t as they seem. The vampires are rather normal and she keeps having “dreams” about her and Adrian that seem so real.
With attacks on Revekkian people on the rise and strained relationships between Adrian and her father, will Isolde survive her new role as Queen?
When I first added this book to my wishlist months ago, I didn’t realize it was another Scarlett St. Clair book. I loathed her A Touch of Darkness series and vowed to never read her books again. However, this one seemed promising, so I gave her another shot.
I shouldn’t have done that. King of Battle and Blood is nothing but disappointment, smut, and a From Blood and Ash rip-off.
I was so fed up that I just skimmed through the last 5-6 chapters and skipped any sex scenes.
- A map!
- Interesting concept
- A very poor map
- No plot
- Girl-on-girl hate
- Flat characters
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Before I dig into how disappointed I am in this book’s plot, I want to comment on what I did like about it.
I loved the world-building and the setup we received at the beginning. There were strong enemies-to-lovers vides and there was a promise of an attempted assassination either from her or Killian.
We get hints about curses and witches burned at the stake and a false history her people taught. I was here for all of that.
But of course, it was just a rouse. There was no real plot here. Just smut. Not to mention it was completely different from the blurb on the back.
Right off the bat, Adrian and Isolde are written as if they know each other and there’s insta-lust between the two. Which doesn’t ever go away. But we lose Isolde instantly to her horny desires when Adrian enters the picture and we never really get her back.
The rest of the book is just sex scene after sex scene. And if there isn’t a sex scene, then it’s Isolde talking about how much she’d like to fuck Adrian or is ogling over his body. WHERE IS THE ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT? WHOM IS ADRIAN TRYING EXACT REVENGE ON?
There’s hardly a plot to follow and the one that is there is rather confusing and lacks luster.
There were many scenes crafted just out of convenience and used to info-dump. For example, the Great Hunt scene. Isolde has no weapons on her, we don’t even know what the prize nor rules of the hunt are, and almost instantly she’s being attacked and given a shit ton of exposition.
Between these weird scenes and the sex, the twist the book was leading up to was predictable and anti-climactic. Then it’s revealed that if Isolde dies, so does Adrian. Okay, cool, not a bad plot device.
But then ISOLDE GIVES UP HIS WEAKNESS INSTANTLY TO HER FATHER. There was no secrecy, no trying to protect herself or Adrian, just instantly telling her father as soon as he starts pushing for assassination again.
Isolde could have deflected this in so many ways. Then when the book reveals there was a traitor among the four trusted vampires, it’s a big deal. Like girl, you screamed this information at your father. Ravena could have easily overheard, especially if she hides in mirrors.
On that note, why was it her father who had to try to kill her? That was more of a Killian thing and I would have loved to see that fight play out. But no, it was her father and it seemed as if that twist was only used to sever her connection to her new life. It was cheap and didn’t pan out well for me.
To top all of this off, King of Battle and Blood (released 2021)was a blatant rip-off of From Blood and Ash (released 2020). We’re talking about the cute “I stabbed him” dialog, the cover, the premise, the weird spelling of names, etc.
I’m convinced that this point that St. Clair just writes fan fiction based on popular books.
Initially, I liked Isolde. She wanted independence, wanted to rule as Queen of Lara without a husband, and just wanted to enjoy sex without strings attached. Because fuck the patriarchy, right?
I was HERE for it. But it soon when downhill fast for her character.
Isolde turned into a horny character that couldn’t do anything else besides think of sex with Adrian and touching herself.
She was also just plain mean and petty. She hates Adrian but gets jealous when he has to feed from a mortal to survive. She asserts her dominance wherever she can, especially if someone disagrees with her. And there was so much girl-on-girl hate that I couldn’t stand it.
There’s a fine line between being independent and surviving in a foreign place, and being straight-up mean. And Isolde definitely falls into the mean side of things.
Isolde also goes from not having killed anyone and getting sick at seeing a dead body to her outright murdering someone in her new court. There was no transition or build-up here.
Then to really top it off, once Isolde regains her memories from her past life, the character we knew just utterly disappears. She instantly reverts back to Yesenia, but we, the readers, don’t really know Yesenia. So it was disorienting to read that change.
Overall, I went from loving the strong heroine to hating her.
There is zero depth to Adrian. He’s a ruthless leader who loves his wife and is vulgar. Is there anything else to him? Absolutely not.
Regardless, I did kind of like him, but I wish we saw more emotional scenes or him sharing his past with Isolde before the big reveal. I think showing weakness or opening up to Isolde would have helped a little bit.
Killian was the perfect villain for this book. He was controlling, possessive, and misogynistic, everything we needed for him to make a huge assassination attempt on Adrian at the end of the book. But no, in the end, he was chopped up to a controlling commander with no real balls.
As for the other side characters. I couldn’t care less for them. They added no value to the story and were bland. And Sorin, to me, was set up to be the traitor in the next book, just because of how much we saw him and knew about him. But I guess other readers will find out.
To me, there was a lot wrong with the writing of KBAB. However, before diving into those disparaging aspects, let me talk about what I did like.
Compared to St. Clair’s previous series, A Touch of Darkness which was in 3rd person, this book was much better as it was in 1st person. I think that might be St. Clair’s strong suit.
St. Clair also had quite a bit of diversity in her book. We had multiple POC and LGBTQ+ characters. It was nice to see this inclusivity.
Outside of these things, the writing was surface level and provided no depth, and sometimes context, for the characters or plot.
There was a lot of girl-on-girl hate between Isolde and other women in the story, oftentimes for no reason, and the spice scenes were super repetitive. I actually stopped reading the sex scenes after a while and only read dialog as St. Clair likes to throw in important exposition into these scenes.
Also, how many awkward transitions can a book have? Apparently a lot! Especially from falling asleep to waking up. We would literally go from Isolde talking with Adrian to her waking up and touching herself. Then we had scenes that were memories, but there wasn’t any indication that they were memories.
There were many times that I had to reread sections because I felt like I missed something. But most of the time, I didn’t and it was just awkward transitions. These could have been much better and added a lot of value to the story, especially during the memories/dreams. But alas, here we are. Disappointed and confused.
While the grammar and spelling errors were much better compared to ATOD, there were still many errors. Example: “Are- are you parents around?” Like what? Who proofread this?
Then, to top it off, the map was the most unhelpful map I’ve ever seen in my life. I absolutely love maps as I need a visual a lot of times in these books, but this one left me confused.
Isolde’s castle/city wasn’t listed, only the village that was attacked, Vaida. Then we had King Gheorghe of Vela, but where the hell was Vela?! It wasn’t on the map at all! I just don’t understand how you can have a map that is missing key places in your story!
I’ll never read a Scarlett St. Clair book again. This was her last chance and it was utterly disappointing, even with as low expectations as I had.
The plot was abysmal, the entire book was just sex, the characters were flat and annoying, and the map didn’t even help!
I have no words left. I’m done. I’m just so done with this book and St. Clair. I have no words left
Read King of Battle and Blood if you don’t care about the plot and only want vampire smut.
What did you think of the book? Did you like it or could you have done without it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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