by Amanda Bouchet
Series: The Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Published on August 2, 2016 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
KINGDOMS WILL RISE AND FALL FOR HER…
“Cat” Catalia Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods—and her homicidal mother—have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.
BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT
Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm—until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.
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Have you ever read a book that you questioned the genre? Because A Promise of Fire had me wondering exactly what is the focus of this book. After reading the description, I expected a romance (fine by me) yet when I started reading, the fantasy world took over. That’s right, folks, I found a fantasy-romance that succeeds in both building a strong world perfect for diving into and a relationship between two characters built on more than just lust.
I’m thankful I was the only one awake while reading this book because, goodness, I couldn’t stop laughing! It’s not a comedy but the main character, Cat, is hilarious. Her sarcasm had me hard-pressed to keep the laughter volume in check. She has a comeback for everything and isn’t afraid to call her companions out. A Promise of Fire is from her point of view and you’re not only treated to vivid descriptions of the character and world, but also her inner thoughts that are entirely too relatable and enforced her stubborn and none-too-modest personality. You’ll be adding Cat to your list of BAMFs after reading this book.
And the world-building… I mean, I love fantasy for the worlds. I also love reading romances. I enjoyed having a blend of both where one wasn’t sacrificed for the other. Bouchet weaves a balance of story and sexual tension that keeps you hooked. Plus, the romance is hot without being overbearing. I struggled to put this book down even when exhaustion hit. I won’t say this is the most amazing fantasy book I’ve ever read because it’s not, but it held all the elements and stands on its own as a good start to a series. My only comment on the plot is that the plot twists were too predictable and a tad cliche.
By far my biggest issue with this book is Griffin, alpha male love interest extraordinaire. The rest of the cast held their own and I wanted more! Give me the spin-off stories with the circus members. Tell me about Kato and Flynn and Carver, men who promoted the idea of male/female friendships instead of holding strictly romantic roles (which is fantastic, by the way). But Griffin I have a problem with. At first he’s kind and treats Cat as a person no matter how many punches she throws, no matter what she says to him. He’s never cruel, always respectful. Then the romance picks up and by the time it hits the peak of her acceptance, he’s a demanding alpha who makes decisions for her without giving her the option of voicing her own opinion on the matter. He talked big about there being a choice for Cat at every turn (except the option of escaping him because, regardless, he plans to use her like an object instead of a person “for the good of Sinta”).
Thank goodness Cat calls him out on all of his bullshit but then turns around and is still falling for her abductor/captor. That particular aspect soured their romance for me a bit despite the intervention of the gods that made it near impossible for them to NOT be together. My hope is that she puts him in his place in the next book. I think they could have a good relationship if he stopped trying to make her do something without talking to her (because every time he does in this book, he ends up screwed and needing her help anyway).
End alpha male rant.
I think this is an excellent read for anyone who enjoys either the fantasy or romance genres (or both!). It surprised me and I can see this series going places. Y’all should go pre-order a copy before the release.