September 16, 2022

REVIEW King of Battle and Blood (Adrian x Isolde #1) by Scarlett St. Clair

King of Battle and Blood (Adrian x Isolde #1) 
by Scarlett St. Clair
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Release Date: November 30, 2021
Format: eBook (Personal Library) + Audiobook (Borrowed from Library)
Publisher: Bloom Books 

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Isolde is the princess of Lara and a warrior maiden in her own right. Her country has been defending against the invasion of the Blood King and his vampires for far too long, and it’s a losing battle. By contrast, Adrian ‘The Blood King’ Vasiliev is a ruthless vampire warlord, known for sweeping through kingdoms with his army in the name of conquest. To save their people, her father offers the Blood King his surrender. However, Adrian demands Isolde’s hand in marriage to promise the safety of their people. Isolde accepts, considering it a death sentence and hoping to take Adrian with her, but their union ends up being far more than Isolde could have imagined (especially with their instant chemistry upon meeting). Now that she’s a queen, Isolde must navigate the vampire court and learn the truth of why Adrian claimed her as his consort before she loses her heart in the process. 

Like any other Scarlett St. Clair book, the chemistry between the main characters is hot, and the sex is steamy. The romance between Adrian and Isolde is enemies to lovers and the complete opposite of a slow burn. You dive into the storyline and their relationship relatively early on in the book, and that made it hard to stop reading. The other major trope in the book relates to how Adrian and Isolde’s marriage is somewhere between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage. Admittedly, because of the tropes and my familiarity with many of Scarlett St. Clair’s books, I feel like 90% of the plot was predictable. There was one major plot twist at the end I wasn’t expecting, and going back it was fun to see all the little easter eggs the author had included leading up to that reveal. 

Isolde is a badass Queen. I like that she was trained to be a warrior and that she never came off as a damsel in distress. No matter who she’s interacting with, she never changes who she is to fit into the perception of what others think she should be. I also appreciated how she and Adrian balanced strength and softness - Isolde killed a villager who tried to sell his child to achieve his own ambitions. Instead of berating her, Adrian simply nodded approvingly, cleaned the dagger she used, and returned it to her after. 

The mythology that Scarlett St. Clair used to craft this world was cool. If you read the author’s note at the end of the book, you’ll learn that she pulled from many different sources. For example, some of the references were from Theresa Bane’s Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology. There are also elements pulled from Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the story of Vlad the Impaler.

Overall, this was another entertaining read from Scarlett St. Clair. Audiobook narrators Lilly Drake and Curt Bonnem did a great job with their performance (Lilly was responsible for most of the book, while Curt Bonnem performed a bonus chapter from Adrian’s point of view). I’m excited to find out what’s next in Adrian and Isolde’s story when Queen of Myth and Monsters hits shelves in late 2022. If you enjoy romance books that blend fantasy and paranormal elements, then I think you would enjoy King of Battle and Blood. I do want to note that due to the explicit sex on-page in this book, I would recommend this to mature adult readers only. 

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Death/Violence, Sex (Graphic, including LGBTQ scenes), Assault, Toxic Masculinity, Murder, Death of a Parent, Poisoning

About the Book
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, 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.

About the Author

International and USA Today Best Selling author Scarlett St. Clair is a citizen of the Muscogee Nation and the author of the HADES X PERSEPHONE SAGA, the HADES SAGA, KING OF BATTLE & BLOOD, and WHEN STARS COME OUT.

She has a Master's degree in Library Science and Information Studies and a Bachelors in English Writing. She is obsessed with Greek Mythology, murder mysteries, and the afterlife.

If you are obsessed with these things, then you'll like her books. 

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