A Kingdom of Flame and Fury by Whitney Dean was such a rollercoaster of emotions I’m having a hard time figuring out where to start with this. I enjoyed it immensely after some initial uncertainty about where the story was going when I first started. Now to clarify, this isn’t because it had a weak start by any means, it’s more that it wasn’t quite going in the direction I anticipated from what I had gleaned about the book. But this was actually very much a concern that was removed throughout the course of this book for many reasons.
The first book in this series revolves around Raven, a Queen thrown rather unexpectedly onto the thrown upon the death of King Leonidas for seemingly no reason or explanation besides it being written in his will. Raven was very young as his death, and raised among peasants, therefore having no connection to said throne and has wondered about the reasoning behind it her entire life. Now in her mid-twenties when this book takes place, she has been the Queen for a majority of her life, but still wonders about these questions and about where she came from to have been crowned Queen.
She has also been hiding a secret from her people for as long as she has reigned over them. This being that she has dark powers, powers which have long been looked down on by the vast majority of people.
I have to say, this magic was so unique. Her magic is that if the elements, however it manifests itself through different physical forms for Raven. I thought this was such a cool touch, as not only can Raven use fire, ice, wind, or effect the earth, but she can switch between three different physical forms (besides her actual form) which each represent one of her powers.
Then enters Zeke, a mysterious man from another kingdom with intentions steadily revealed throughout the course of the book as to why he is coming to Raven’s kingdom. The book alternates between these two point of views, which I loved because you get to see into both of their minds which also serves to make certain things clearer as far as intentions and developing more story. The only part that threw me a little is that there tends to be some overlap when switching from one character to the other, as if there is anything important happening at the same time for each character, the following chapter will go back in time a bit to capture the moment over again from the other person’s point of view.
At first I thought this story was entirely romance centered, but there actually ends up feeling like there is so much going on by the end. In part this first installment in the series does feel like it was setting a lot of things up story-wise and world-wise that will built on more in depth in the sequels, but a lot of that comes together by the end so you can see just where it all might be going. In essence, it felt really well put together to bring all of that together and establish important relationships that will become so much more significant and meaningful later on and I really love how the story really felt like it came together in the end. I am so excited to see where the second book leads, especially with this one ending with Raven, Zeke, and Raven’s best friend Cade – who really fell mightily in my esteem from start to finish – in the neighbouring kingdom where Zeke is from, and with some pretty heavy reveals built up to by the end. I very much need to see where all of this will go because I think it’s about to get much more intense.
A last few side notes: Cade became really unlikeable for me and not even for the most obvious reason which is his role as the second person in a love triangle, but because he is a level 6 (out of 5) clinger and I could not handle how possessive he became by the end. And not possessive in the good way if you know what I’m saying. Another thought, I have to say Whitney Dean really does manage to rip your heart out with the relationship built up between Zeke and Raven. As much as it seems like it should be straightforward, it ends up being anything but, and it is by no means an easy road between the characters. There is so much pain and hardship for the two of them it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel at times, and it really brings both them and the reader through the ringer.
But with all said, I really do recommend this book and I cannot wait for more.