Review: Breath of Fire

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Breath of FireBreath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #2) by Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 448
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“Harbinger of the end. Destroyer of realms.”

FINAL DECISION: Exciting and filled with adventure, BREATH OF FIRE represents the continued growth of Cat as she matures.  She and Griffith evolve both as a couple and in their dream of unifying the realms.  This book doesn’t conclude the story, but there is plenty new hear to keep readers more than satisfied.

THE STORY: In this second book of the Kingmaker Chronicles trilogy, Cat Fisa is running from her destiny. She has found the man she loves, a non-magical warlord, Griffith, who believes deeply in her, but the magical Cat has kept a secret.  She is subject to a prophecy that Cat believes means that she will destroy the world. As secrets are revealed, the characters begin their journey towards what might be the fulfillment of the prophecy.

OPINION: A world with magic and Gods that remains incredibly human, this second installment of the Kingmaker Chronicles finally reveals much of Cat’s past. Readers of the first book will know that Cat has gained the favor of the Gods and has incredible (if inconsistent) magic.  She falls in love with the non-magical Griffith who is immune from magic and conquered the realm of Sinta (one of the three realms).  Now the two have forged a partnership and Griffith sees the possibility of building a better world with Cat by his side.  As PROMISE OF FIRE ended, Cat still had secrets she was keeping.

Cat’s past and her secrets are revealed in this book.  Finally readers can understand her journey. Cat remains selfless, reckless and an amazing fighter. In this book, she matures with the support of Griffith.  I love their relationship because Griffith is entirely willing to be by Cat’s side and support her even if he struggles with his own need to protect her.  Even better, he is willing to stand by her while she learns to lead rather than taking the lead himself. Griffith is a rare and amazing alpha male character who is not threatened by a strong woman but rather is willing to be anything that she needs.

Cat remains her prickly, sarcastic, cynical self in this book even as the shell around her has broken as to Griffith.  Readers can be assured (mini-spoiler) that this book doesn’t do the expected by breaking these two apart during this book in order to create another romantic arc.  Instead, these characters go deeper into their connection with one another.  By the time this book ends, their relationship seems pretty unbreakable.

The development of the relationships in this book are more subtle than in the first book (although there are some pretty big and important moments that don’t disappoint) but there is also non-stop action.  From the very first page, this book thrusts readers into battles, and challenges and political struggles.  There is a lot of ground to cover here but by the time the book ends, the direction the characters will be taking is clear and much has been accomplished.  One of the things I really like about this series is that each of the first two books is a discrete adventure (with many sub-adventures) but there is still an overarching story that leaves much adventure to come in the concluding book in the series.

We also are treated to more information about the other characters in the series.  The members of Team Beta have their own journeys in this book (although Cat and Griffith remain the focus).  I am hoping that some of their stories will also be resolved in the concluding book because they are adorable as well.  By the time this book ends, the member of Team Beta are fleshed out and each has a unique romantic problem of their own.

A thrilling adventure from beginning to end, this book will definitely satisfy those who enjoyed the first book of the series.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book is part of an interconnected trilogy with the same characters.  This book does not resolve the issues in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  BREATH OF FIRE is the second book in the Kingmaker Chronicles.  This book is meant to be read as part of the trilogy and should be read after the first book in the series PROMISE OF FIRE.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

four-half-stars

Review: A Promise of Fire

Review: A Promise of FireA Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1) by Amanda Bouchet
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on August 2nd 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 448
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“Is this man my enemy?”

FINAL DECISION:  Fabulous first book in a series about Cat Fisa, the Kingmaker, and Griffith, the man who captures her and then captures her heart.  This book is successful at concentrating on the romance while building a fascinating and complex world along with a plot intricate and filled with adventure.

THE STORY:  Catalia “Cat” Fisa travels as a soothsayer in a circus, but she is actually the Kingmaker — with the legendary talent of being able to tell truth from lies. Unfortunately, Cat catches the attention of Griffith, a warlord whose family has taken control of Sinta.  Griffith wants Cat to use her as a weapon for the newly acquired realm.  Cat, however, has no intention of allowing herself to be used again.

OPINION:  This is a fantastic beginning for a series.  My only reservation on the book is that this story is not complete in and of itself and thus if the subsequent books are bad, this one will too.  (I might revisit my rating up or down after the other books in the series are published).

The best part of this book is that the worldbuilding is intricately intertwined with the romance.  No pages of descriptions or explanations.  Things are explained as needed through the story in a natural fashion.  It makes the story go faster and keeps interest throughout.

Cat is a heroine that centered this book and made me want to read more.  This is her journey.  More than a romance, it is the story of a woman coming into her own destiny.  Like many great heroes, Cat is hiding from her fate as the story begins. In danger because of her past and running from her future, Cat has made a place for herself in the circus.  When Griffith comes to upset her hideaway, Cat at first hates him and wants to escape, but he also begins to make her part of a team, a family, a place worth defending.

Cat has tremendous power. Her weaknesses become strengths, her powers become more enhanced and she is funny and flawed and a powerhouse.  Her cynicism is matched with a innocent heart that she denies but which leads her to care and love those around her.

Griffith is an interesting hero.  Great ambition matched with intelligence and a recognition of the necessity of limiting power. He is like water on stone with Cat. Determined, quietly himself. He is determined and incredibly honest and loyal.  He comes from a loving family — which is a mystery to Cat — which grounds him.  He does what he has to do, but tries to be his best self.

The mixture of magic, dragons, help by the Greek Gods gives this book a rich basis for its mythology. The story feels grounded and recognizable without being entirely derivative.  This book leaves readers with many questions which I hope will be teased out in the other books in the series.

This book shows such promise and I want to see that promise flower into something amazing.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is only the beginning of the series. The story is not complete and readers should be aware that wanting to know the end of the story necessitates committing to more books.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  A PROMISE OF FIRE is the first book in the Kingmaker Chronicles.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars