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King of Battle and Blood
a Book Review of the Novel by Scarlett St. Clair
It’s amazing that a book with such a steamy synopsis can be so boring. How did I finish King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair, you might ask? I have an iron will, capable of withstanding a million vicious blows made by a poorly wielded pen. This review will contain spoilers because King of Battle and Blood is just so bad that I must complain.
I purchased this book because of one of the book review tags they have at Books Inc. This one said something along the lines of: “An enemies to lovers romance with a HAWT vampire lead.” I’ve loved vampire romances since I read Twilight in 2005 along with every other tween girl. I walked out that book store excited (ew, don’t be gross). Sadly, the book review in Books Inc. was the best part about this novel.
King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair is about a young, cranky, and defiant woman named Isolde who lives in a castle where she is pampered by her maid and her father. Isolde’s father has recently surrendered the Kingdom to the Blood King to avoid a devastating war.
While Isolde is wandering around the castle, unescorted, (because she is a true rebel) she is attacked by an evil strzyga. Isolde defeats the beast with her sword because she’s a bad ass b***h, who learned to fight with all the boys in the castle. Isolde is a woman who can take care of herself and doesn’t need a sexy vampire man.
But as she’s bleeding everywhere from a poisonous scratch from the strzyga, a gorgeous blond man shows up and licks her wounds, magically healing them. I’m sure you can’t guess who it is. God, this plot synopsis hurts to write.
This secret sexy vampire man, shows up and reveals he is actually Adrien, the Blood King (I almost expired from shock here). Then he demands that Isolde become his wife or he will destroy Lara, the capital of her country. Isolde grudgingly agrees. She thinks Adrien is disgusting because he’s a vampire, but he’s also inexplicably sexy for some reason. And he keeps getting sexier, like it’s magic or something…
Before even leaving the castle or being married, Adrien and Isolde bang. To say that their relationship is unappealing is like saying eating an orange with its skin on is un-a-peel-ing (get it?). I like a steamy romance, but the writing is so cheesy. Adrien literally says, “‘I only wish to spoil you,’ he said. ‘Though you look beautiful in any form — covered in blood or writhing beneath me (pg 317).’ Ugh.
When Isolde gets whisked away to the vampires’ city in Revekka, she discovers everything she’s ever learned about vampires and witches is a lie. She slowly falls in love with Adrien, despite trying desperately to resist him. She even tries to assassinate him, because her father and her maid tell her she should — she tries once, with a tiny knife.
The author has a penchant for elaborate descriptions of outfits. Not only are the outfits described in detail, but it’s revealed that Adrien designed the dresses. On Isolde’s coronation day: “Violetta helped me into my dress, which was designed by Adrien. It was black, fitted from the bodice to my hips, where it flared into a full skirt. Appliques in a deeper shade of black curled like shadow in strategic places around my breasts, my hips, and the hem. The neckline was cut low and a collar necklace only drew more attention (pg 359).” Imagine that, but for every dress Isolde wears. Is this vampire king moonlighting on Project Runway?
Honestly, the “plot” twist was obvious from the first hint. “Your blood is truly a homecoming,” says Adrien, cryptically. There were so many obvious clues that Isolde was secretly a reincarnated witch from Adrien’s past. There is a difference between foreshadowing and lazy writing, Scarlett.
However, not all of the book was predictable — the last 100 pages were crazy and disjointed. I couldn’t predict what was going to happen because nothing made any sense. Scenes ended and began so quickly, it was like watching Tik Tok. For example, Isolde tells her dad that she is Adrien’s only weakness (which is supposed to be a big secret). Here’s a summary of the next six pages:
Isolde’s father tries to murder her and then Isolde commits patricide.
After Isolde cries over her father’s body for about 2 seconds, the the evil witch Ravena appears.
Isolde and Ravena battle and Ravena is defeated.
The scene ends with Isolde screaming really loudly.
I broke every mirror left in the hallway, and when I was finished, I made my way upstairs, to the top of the tower. There, I sank to the ground to rest beneath the red sky of Revekka, and I knew this was the pain that would make me into a monster. (pg. 378)”
Gag me with a spoon. At least it was short.
Romance novels are often predictable, which often makes them enjoyable and fun to read. This book made me cringe, it made me guffaw, and I slammed it closed multiple times in protest. I would never burn a book, but I might have considered it for a hot second. I’m proud of myself for finishing it.
The Don’t Call Me Ishmael Official Book Rating, Sponsored by the Whales for Ethical Treatment of Krill (WET-K):