King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair Book Review
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An instant USA Today bestseller! From fan-favorite Scarlett St. Clair, the bestselling author of the Hades & Persephone series, comes a new fantasy filled with danger, darkness, and insatiable romance.
Their union is his revenge.
Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day to be 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 no m, and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries to 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 Adrian. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king―fierce, savage, merciless―chose her as consort.
The answer will shatter her world.
As this is a fantasy romance, there was no content warnings or triggers list so these are the potentially sensitive topics I observed while reading:
- Sexually Explicit Scenes
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There are possible **SPOILERS** beyond this point!
After a chance encounter in the woods pursuing the same deadly creature, he promises they will meet again. The Blood King, Adrian, has been conquering Cordova and his total control is inevitable. Princess Isolde agrees to marry Adrian to protect her people from a war that her kingdom will never win. As the new queen, Isolde faces new enemies, other than her husband. More than just a warrior, Isolde takes no prisoners and gives second chances even less. In her new kingdom, there is much she has to learn in order to survive. What she discovers changes her life in ways she couldn’t imagine. The reveal at the end—chills! I loved it!
Isolde is our sole narrator for this book and I really highly recognize how that affects the way that the story unfolds. Isolde is someone who is very sexually motivated and she is also unashamed of her sexuality in a time where it is still considered a “bad woman“ trait. On top of that, she is someone who is very quick to violence and quick to anger so her character is atypical of what I’ve seen from many FMC. If these are not characteristics that you enjoy in a lead, then I would not recommend this book to you. I, personally, love a stabby woman and Isolde is in my top 5.
King of Battle and Blood is fast paced and oh so steamy! There’s vampires, curses and magic all lending to appeal for me. I have recommended this story to anyone who likes fantasy romance or people who are interested in dipping their toes into fantasy and they love spicy books. This one is not too heavy on world building while we learn of what happens to Adrian and Isolde after she agrees to marry him.
The angst between Isolde and Adrian made for a lot of playful banter and steamy tension between the two main characters. The way Adrian loves Isolde was just heartbreaking at times and my chest hurts thinking about going through what he did. I truly hope to learn more about the side characters we were introduced to in this book! Sorin, Miha and Ana are my biggest interests after Adrian of course!
As always, the smut in this book is expertly written! St. Clair doesn’t miss with how perfectly the scenes fits into this book. I could have given this book 5 stars just for that reason, alone!
Female Main Character
Princess of Lara, Queen of Revekka. Isolde is described as average height with brown skin, long curly black hair and dark eyes. She thick!! Probably with three C’s and she’s proud of it!
Strong and independent. She’s extremely confident in her sexuality and intelligence. She is self aware in a way that helps her acknowledge her weaknesses. She is stubborn and callous at times. She doesn’t pull a punch. Isolde does apologize for her actions when she realizes she has made a mistake. Fairness is important to her and she is unwilling to tolerate anyone being treated unfairly.
She is a skilled warrior and trained to fight in battle. Isolde will strike first and ask questions later, every time! You will respect her wishes or suffer the consequences.
Isolde is passionate and fierce but she is also very compassionate to her people and those who she likes. She will stand up for them and feels deeply for their pain and maltreatment. She takes a liking to someone right away or they have to truly earn their way into her good graces.
Male Main Character
Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev
The Blood King. Adrian is described as tall with blue-white eyes, pale skin, wavy light blonde hair that’s longer than shoulder length and harsh beauty. He is very old and powerful as well as being a fierce opponent.
He’s often amused and making dry comments. His demeanor is easy going around those close to him. He’s playful and finds Isolde’s murderous tendencies to be humorous. He is soft and accommodating to Isolde is a way that he is not to others. He calls her Sparrow and I love it! Sparrows are my favorite birds and so the nickname got extra swoon points from me!
This vampire is insatiable though he and Isolde share that quality. The steam is this book is perfected by this man who denies Isolde nothing. He’s protective without being super jealous and possessive. He’s battle tested and feared but he revels in Isolde temper tantrums and passionate hate towards him. The restraint he has in keeping the secret about Isolde blew my mind because of all the love he had behind it. I’m a big fan of Adrian.
Adrian’s past is still unclear but with the truth revealed about Isolde, I’m hoping to get more history of the two before the curse. Adrian has many years to catch Isolde up on since their tragic separation and I want all the details!!
Setting / World / Universe
Cordova is a medieval style place that feels very old. There’s no modern technology or vehicles. There are castles and small villages surrounding the main castles with markets nearby. Various areas that we travel to during this book are described and when Scarlett St. Clair wants you to feel and see your environment, it’s clear. I liked that she built up our surroundings as necessary. There is no extra fluff in the world building.
Genre & Tropes
- Enemies to Lovers
- Arranged Marriage
- He Falls First
- Close Proximity
“All the stars in the sky…are not as bright as my love for you.”
“Never forget, my queen, that goddesses are just humans with great power.”
“I can be anything. Your jailor, your savior, your lover… Your monster.”
“I do not pray,” he said. “But I begged for you”