King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St Clair
King of Battle and Blood
by Scarlett St. Clair
Published by Bloom
Book 1 in the Adrian x Isolde series
Their Union Is His Revenge.
Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day 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.
King of Battle and Blood is the first book in Scarlett St. Clair's Adrian x Isolde series. It centers around Isolde, a Princess, and Vampire King, Adrian. Isolde doesn't know why King Adrian chose her as his consort. He can't sire heirs. He can't possibly love her. There is an undeniable chemistry and attraction between them, despite Isolde hating him and his kind. But when Adrian rides up to her kingdom intent on conquering it, she is left with a choice - marry him, and her father may remain king under Adrian's rule, or her people will be slaughtered when the battle begins. Despite her fathers objections, Isolde marries him, with the intent on killing him. When her attempt fails, he threatens her - try it again, and he will change her. Isolde has no choice but to learn how to survive the brutal vampire court. But as Adrian guides her in her new role as queen, and she gets to know the vampires around her, she starts to learn that everything she was brought up to believe was a lie. Can Isolde get over her guilt over her feelings for her people's enemy? Why did Adrian marry her?
King of Battle and Blood has been on my tbr since before it came out - but I held out and read it when my Bookish Box Adult Subscription came in. I figured I was getting it in a very pretty special edition, why not? I won't lie, seeing the Bookish Box's version of the book made me even more excited to read it. But enough with that - on to the actual book!
For the most part, I loved it! I loved the story. I loved the characters. I loved the pacing. I really enjoyed that the vampires are your "classic" vampires, where they can't go in the sun, drink blood, and are strong. How vampires came to be was also really cool. I did find the book predictable (I figured out early on - as I am sure other readers did as well - why Adrian married her), but it didn't ruin the experience for me. But as with the other work I have read from Scarlett St. Clair, I did have some issues. One of them being the same as her Hades x Persephone series. She sometimes has trouble transitioning from scene to scene, or even movement within the scene. A character can be in one part of the room, and all of a sudden, they are described doing something completely different in the very same scene. It's not a frequent issue, but when actions are not lining up or scenes are not smoothly transitioned, I notice. My other issue involves editing. I know, even books that go through publishers can have typos. If it happens once in a book, I can deal with that. But there were quite a few errors. Now, I know Scarlett St. Clair is self-published, but most self-published authors still hire an editor. It's expensive, but worth it, as they will catch things the writer misses. But I am left to wonder if Scarlett edits her own work, or she just doesn't have a good one, because a lot of the mistakes were obvious and avoidable. Does it ruin the book? No. But it takes the reader out of the story.
After I finished King of Battle and Blood, all I wanted to do was dive into the next one. I can't believe it doesn't come out until December. DECEMBER! UGH! But alas, I will wait, and I don't doubt it will be worth it. Scarlett St. Clair may not be the best writer, but she is a good one. She writes entertaining, romantic, sexy books, that leave readers wanting more. And I am one of them.
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Adrian: "Anger suits you, my sweet. I like it."
Isolde: "If you wanted a wife, why did you wait until now to ask for my hand?"
Adrian; "I did not know I wanted one until today."
Isolde: "Attraction hardly makes a marriage, King Adrian."
Adrian: "It makes a bearable one."
Isolde: "I am one person. I am not worth a slaughtered kingdom."
Father: "You are worth every star in the sky, Issi."
Isolde: "Will you take a wife for every house you conquer?"
Adrian seemed amused, his brows lifted, his lips pursed.
Adrian: "I think you will be challenging enough. Why would I wish for more?"
Isolde: "I don't understand."
Adrian: "What is there to understand?"
Isolde: "Why me?"
He stared at me, and I got the impression he did not know how to answer my question.
Adrian: "You assume I want a wife. But I came for a queen."
It was my turn to stare.
Isolde: "So our marriage will be one of pageantry?"
Adrian: "Oh, I think we are both too passionate for that."
Adrian: "Your blood is truly a homecoming."
I pulled my hand away, disgusted and suddenly afraid he would want more.
Adrian chuckled, as if he knew my thoughts.
Adrian: "Not to worry, my sweet. I will not feed from you. Not until you ask."
Isolde: 'I will never ask."
The Blood King's lips twitched, and when he spoke, his voice was reverent.
Adrian: "You will. You will beg for it."
Isolde: "Are you threatening me?"
Adrian: "No. I am offering the promise of pleasure."
Isolde: "Believe me, King Adrian. Nothing that comes from you will ever be a pleasure."
His lips lifted higher.
Adrian: "I accept your challenge, Princess."
Isolde: "Why are you here?"
Adrian: "Because you were made for me."
Isolde: "You could say that to any woman, just as I could say that to any man."
Adrian: "But would it be true?"
Isolde: "There is no truth where magic survives."
Adrian: "There is only truth if magic survives."
Killian: "Would you not rather live a long life with me than one with him?"
Isolde: "If it were my choice, I'd have neither of you."
Isolde: "You laugh, but he is not the only one who will feel the sting of my blade."
Adrian: "My sweet, I look forward to that."
Adrian: "All the stars in the sky."
The words made my heart race, and I halted as an answer that was not my own formed in my mind - are not as bright as my love for you.
Adrian placed a hand upon my face while he brought the bread to my lips. I opened for him, and as he pushed the food into my mouth, I bit down on his thumb.
He inhaled between his teeth, his hand tightening in my hair, and he brought my head close to his as if he meant to kiss me. There was movement around us as Adrian tugged his finger free of my mouth, his lips pulling away from his teeth as he smiled.
Adrian: "I am sure you meant harm. Lucky for you, I like teeth."
Killian: "Eat. You must be hungry. You barely slept."
It was his way of telling me he knew how I'd spent the night, and his jealousy was apparent. I narrowed my eyes.
Isolde: "I will eat when I am hungry, Killian. As it stands, I am rather sated."
Sorin: "Look, it's our queen - the one who stabbed you!"
Miha grinned and Isac glared.
Isac: "You say that as if I've forgotten."
Sorin: "I think you do not appreciate the gesture. Who else can say they were stabbed by their queen?"
Isolde: "Your king."
The trio exchanged both surprised and amused looks. Beside me, I felt Adrian's eyes on me.
Adrian: "I have met my match."
Adrian: "I do not miss the sun, not anymore."
Isolde: "And what if I miss the sun?"
Adrian: "Then I will find it for you."
Adrian: "You think these are your people, but they are not."
My brows lowered.
Isolde: "I was born of this land."
Adrian: "You will come to find that blood has no bearing on who you become."
Adrian: "Are you pretending to be pious?"
he asked, a small smile on his lips. Perspiration had formed on his face, and I felt heat building between us.
Isolde: "I don't know what you mean by pretending. I am a saint."
Adrian: Oh, Sparrow, no one who fucks like you is a saint."
Safira: "My, you certainly have adjusted well to your new position."
Isolde: "I was bred to be a queen. Just as I was bred to dispose of things that bother me. Will you continue to bother me, Safira?"
Sorin: "Safira is jealous. Though after what I heard last night, even I am jealous."
I raised a brow, glaring.
Isolde: "You were across camp."
Sorin: "Trust me, I know."
Sorin: "All I am saying is your cries of pleasure were heard for miles."
Isolde: "Does Daroc punish you often for your mouth?"
Sorin: "All the time."
he said with a wink, and then someone cleared their throat behind us.
His palm pressed to my cheek; his lips hovered neat mine.
Adrian: "One day, I will make love to you, and I look forward to that day."
Isolde: "Are you a dreamer, Your Majesty?"
A small smile curled his lips.
Adrian: "No. I am a conqueror."
King Gheroghe: "You would inherit so much more than a wife with a penchant for knives."
King Adrian: "I like my wife and her knives, and while I'd prefer your surrender over battle, I will gladly go to war nevertheless."
Isolde: "You wanted a moment with me?"
Adrian: "I want you for lifetimes. But I shall be content with now."
Killian: "You dishonor."
Adrian offered a shrewd smile.
Adrian: "In what way? By fucking her against a wall? It feels like worship to me."
Isolde: "Do not fight, my love. You are destined for this world."
Adrian whispered, then begged.
Adrian: "Please. Please. Please."
I shook my head, and spoke the words that ripped my heart in two.
Yesenia: "All the stars in the sky are not as bright as my love for you."
Isolde: "You took ne from my home to fill a place beside you that I could never fill n your heart."
Adrian: "Isolde -"
Again he said my name but firmer. I pushed on.
Isolde: "I did not want to love, because it has only ever meant loss, but I let myself do it anyway!"
I screamed, and it hurt so bad, I flinched. Everything hurt.
Adrian: "Are you finished?"
Adrian asked, a tinge of annoyance in his tone.
Isolde: "I hate you."
I said through my teeth. It didn't matter that I had just admitted to loving him.
He took a step toward me and then another.
Adrian: "You hate me because you love me."
he said, and it felt like a taunt as the corners of his lips lifted. The only thing I knew to do was fight. So I launched myself at him, but his legs tangled with mine, and I ended up on the floor with Adrian on top of me.
Isolde: "Don't you dare laugh!"
I struggled against him.
Adrian: "I would never laugh at you."
Isolde: "You are! You did! I wish I had never met you."
Adrian said, nd there was something in his voice that made me go completely still. He called my name, and it called to my soul. His eyes held mine as he brushed stray pieces of my hair from my face.
Adrian: "You have a place beside me because you fill my heart. I love you. I have loved you since the beginning. I have loved you forever."
Adrian: "I do not pray. But I begged for you."
Isolde: "Can a goddess be killed?"
Adrian: "That is blasphemy."
he said, though his eyes flashed at the prospect.
Isolde: "Are you pretending to be pious?"
Adrian: 'You are my light."
Isolde: "And you are my darkness."
Isolde: "You want me to pay for killing your son, is that it?"
Gesalac: "I want you to pay for coming here at all, for turning the king's eye away from his prize."
I clicked my tongue.
Isolde: "Oh, that rings of jealousy, Noblesse."
Gesalac: "Adrian may like your mouth, but I, for one, cannot wait to cut out your tongue."
Isolde: "Did he not warn you, that I am a warrior first and a queen second?"
Adrian: "Do you know why I call you Sparrow?"
I shook my head. I had assumed it had something to do with my vulnerability here among so many vampires, and right now, I felt every bit the mortal I was.
Adrian: "The sparrow is sought after by many monsters, but she is cunning and resourceful, and she always wins."
As he spoke, my throat tightened, and the tears burning my eyes were renewed once more.
Adrian: "You have the heart of a sparrow, even among wolves."
#secondchance #forbiddenlove #enemiestolovers #marriageofconvenience #mates #secretidentitiy #royal #trauma