Thursday, 28 July 2016

Review: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

A PROMISE OF FIRE
by Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: August 2nd 2016
Source: ARC received for review
Rating: ★★★
Amazon - Barnes & Noble
Catalia "Cat" Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he's ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

After devouring nearly 450 pages of A Promise of Fire, my immediate reaction was "HOT DAMN! Give me the next book already!". Yes, folks, this book was that bloody brilliant for me. I feel like I inhaled every second of this book and there wasn't one scene that I didn't love with every fiber of my being. I knew going into A Promise of Fire that it would be a phenomenal book but I didn't realize just how much I was going to be obsessed. This is hands-down my favorite book of the year and I need more.

What made this book such a winner for me were the characters. The book is told through the POV of Cat, who was one very entertaining heroine. She was fiery, sassy and didn't mince her words and I just loved being inside her head. It's been a while since I've read about a heroine so witty and brazen and it helped that Cat was funny too. I've struggled with heroines like Cat in the past, who are basically tigresses, when it comes to personality, but Cat also had her vulnerabilities, that she slowly revealed throughout the book that made her down-to-earth and relatable. As a child, she was tortured and everything that she loved was brutally taken away from her by her cold, uncaring and ruthless mother, who had absolutely zero qualms for brutalizing her daughter in a such a way. Cat's history shaped who she was and explained why she was so stubborn and refused to let anyone in. Her fears and guilt made her sympathetic as a character and helped me understand why she was the way she was. Her hotheadedness certainly had a way of getting her in trouble, but I loved that even though she was this all-powerful being as the Kingmaker, with all kinds of abilities, she had her flaws and often made mistakes - they made her likeable. And she was so badass. I just wanted to be best friends with her.

Cat finds her match in Griffin and holy freaking swoon! This guy. THIS GUY. I seriously loved Griffin so so much. He was an alpha male to the core, who wasn't afraid to go after what he wanted. At the beginning of A Promise of Fire, he was this mysterious warlord who seemed to be hiding a lot, but as he slowly opened up to Cat, his personality started to emerge and I loved the guy even more. He was fierce, loyal and very very grumpy (especially around Cat). Despite him being this tough badass hero, he was also warmhearted and compassionate, when it came to his family - his love for them was pure and made me fall for him even harder. I also loved the secondary characters in A Promise of Fire. They were all beautifully fleshed-out and had distinct and loveable personalities. My favorites however, were Carver, Kato and Flynn, who were part of Griffin's team. These guys were a riot! Their bromance, their constant teasing of each other and just their pure devotion to each other was absolutely endearing. This is a friends group where the camaraderie was absolutely palpable. Add Cat to that group, and you can just imagine the mischief that they get into. Just thinking about them is making me smile at my computer like a fool! I also loved Griffin's family, especially his adorable sisters, who I'm crossing my fingers will end up with the guys on Griffin's team.


A Promise of Fire hooked me in from the opening scene involving the magical circus that Cat was part of. That first scene was described so vividly, I felt like I was right there watching Cat's friends' acts. That feeling of being so absorbed never dimmed and I think that really speaks to the incredible talent that Amanda Bouchet undeniably possesses. The world building was crafted and executed to perfection. While readers aren't privy to all the complexities to this world just yet as this is a trilogy, what we were provided with in this first novel was the perfect amount, neither making it underwhelming or overwhelming. I loved how the author weaved Greek mythology and magic into this fantasy world - it left me bewitched, and craving for more. Magic and politics aren't the only strong suits that A Promise of Fire had going for it - I loved all the creatures that Cat and her team encountered (there's a dragon!!), along with the Gods. This book was just so fascinating! Do you see why I was so obsessed? Also the villain? We haven't even fully met her yet in this installment and I have the chills just thinking about her. She's twisted and manipulative and I can't wait to see what she throws in Cat and Griffin's paths.

Though I LOVED every part of A Promise of Fire, my favorite has to be the romance. I will admit to being a bit scared at first because Griffin did kidnap Cat and I was worried that it would feel too much like Stockholm Syndrome, but I thought Amanda Bouchet handled it really well. I loved this romance. LOVED. It had one of my favorite tropes with it being antagonistic. Griffin and Cat fought like cats and dogs, but oh my gosh, every scene between them was laced with sexual tension and scorching chemistry. They both had very strong personalities, so they were constantly scuffling, but as you read through their scenes together, everyone but them knows that they also want to rip each others' clothes off and give in to that intense lust. Their romance was slow-burning because it took time for Cat to open up her heart to Griffin because she's terrified of losing him, but once they did give in, their romance was a great combination of sweet and sexy. I can't wait to have more of their romance in the next installments.

A Promise of Fire was an incredible fantasy romance. I could go on and on about all the love that I have for this book. I'm so so excited to read more from The Kingmaker Chronicles. If this first book is any indication, it's going to be an epic, magical and romantic ride. While I wait for Breath of Fire to be out in January, I will be re-reading my favorite scenes from this novel over and over again.

Are you excited to read A Promise of Fire? What are some of your fantasy romances?
Let me know in the comments below!