A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Book One of the Kingmaker Chronicles
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Rating: 5 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
What I Liked:
OH MY GOODNESS HOW I LOVED THIS BOOK! I had a feeling I would enjoy it, but I really really liked it. This is EXACTLY my type of romance novel! Fantasy romance is definitely a favorite of mine, and I'm really excited that Sourcebooks Casablanca's first fantasy romance novel was a real hit for me.
Cat has been part of the circus for months, as a soothsayer. She's actually really powerful, able to discern lie from truth, to turn in invisible, and numerous other things, but she is hiding in the circus. Until one day, a warlord finds her, figures out what she is (the Kingmaker), and abducts her. Cat fights him at every turn, even if she's starting to feel some kinship towards the other three warriors with the warlord. Even if she's starting to feel the stirrings of powerful attraction between her and the warlord. Beta Sinta - or Griffin - may need her as the Kingmaker, but he isn't her enemy. Cat realizes that the Sintans are not as cruel as they seem, but Griffin is as stubborn as she is.
Gosh I loved this book. It's been so long since I've read a good fantasy romance. If you like this one, try The Winter King by C.L. Wilson. Or if you liked The Winter King, try this book. Both books have AMAZING hate-to-love romances, between two very powerful people.
The tone of this book is hilarious! The book is written in first-person, solely via Cat's perspective. Nope, we never get in Griffin's head. Cat's voice is so fun! She is funny, stubborn, spitfire-y, honest, and refreshing. She's extremely clever and strategic, and she's powerful. She wields her magic well.
Griffin is a warlord - specifically, Beta Sinta. Beta meaning second, and Sinta being where he is from. The Sintans have recently dominated lots of territory. So Griffin - Beta Sinta - is the second in commend, after his sister, Alpha Sinta. Griffin is equally as stubborn as Cat, equally as intelligent, very fierce and protective and SUCH an alpha. I wish I had my own Griffin. He's very dominant and likes being in control... too bad Cat is basically a female version of him. He is a fiiiiine specimen, that's for sure. I have a visual image of him in my head and holy guacamole! *fans self more*
They are seriously perfect together! Their relationship starts out really hostilely - as one would expect, since Griffin kidnaps Cat. He needs her to help his sister (Alpha Sinta), because the newly crowned Sinta royal family are not experienced in ruling. They used to be a warlord family. Cat and Griffin have so much animosity and tension between them! Cat is constantly spitting fire at him (figuratively speaking), and defying him, and punching him. Griffin is constantly ordering her around and keeping her close to him. And yet, both of them instinctively act to protect each other, in dangerous situations along the way to Sinta City. This "hate" thing and banter go on for more than half the book, which was SO fun. Hate-to-love romances are my favorite!
I can't remember when they share their first kiss but *fans self*. Whew! Griffin initiated that, and Cat turned invisible for several days after that kiss (she was embarrassed). There are so many subtly steamy scenes before any kissing happens, which is really well done by the author. There is lots of kissing in the second half of the book. The sex doesn't come until three-fourths of the book, maybe a little after, but the author definitely knows how to right some steamy scenes, and ramp up the intensity. So much tension!
I like how complex the authors makes the characters. Cat has a complicated history, one that Griffin is not fully aware of. Cat's mother is actually insanely and heartless. We don't get all the information about Cat's past all at once. I like how there is a slow reveal, gradually happening throughout the story. Everything is not revealed to Griffin by the end of the story, so I hope the author will address this in future books.
This book is an awesome fantasy book! The world-building is so well-written, in my opinion. Initially, I thought it was set in a contemporary world with some fantasy elements, but nope. Purely fantasy world, totally created and very well crafted. There are Greek mythology references left and right, and there is a dragon!
Girl power is strong in this book. Cat is physically tough, but mentally and emotionally so as well. She isn't always emotionally tough - she has to work through some heavy stuff, especially before she lets Griffin in. I liked seeing Cat's progression in development.
I can't imagine not having convinced anyone of my love for this book by now! I am so pleased with this story and I can't wait to read the next book. Initially I was concerned about how the ending felt incomplete, BUT I learned from the author herself that this series is NOT a companion series (which is typical of romance series), and will continue to follow Griffin and Cat over the next two books. While this book did not end with a cliffhanger, I do have questions and it looks like they will be answered in the two future books. Hurray!
What I Did Not Like:
Originally, when I wrote this review, I mentioned how the ending felt incomplete, because I was expecting a showdown between Cat and her mother, and between Cat and Griffin (when Griffin finds out certain things about Cat). But, the author said that the series will continue Cat and Griffin's story, so the ending is no longer a complaint of mine!
Would I Recommend It:
I HIGHLY recommend this book. If you read adult romance novels, do yourself a favor and do NOT miss this book. Do it for Griffin! Sexy warlord! The banter! The hate-to-love dreaminess! The conflict, the overarching plot, the strong characters. And how about that kickbutt cover? So much to love!
4.5 stars -> rounded up to 5 stars. This is easily a new favorite romance novel! If I compare it to The Winter King by C.L. Wilson, then you KNOW it must be good (I am so in love with The Winter King! And now, A Promise of Fire). I cannot wait to read the next book in this series!
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