Sunday, January 15, 2017

Review: A Promise of Fire

Title : A Promise of Fire
Series : Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Author : Amanda Bouchet
Edition : Kindle (Released August 2nd 2016 )
Publisher : Sourcebook Casablanca
Page counts : 448 pages
Language : English
Genre : Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, Romance
Average Rating : 4.22 (per January 16th, 2017)
Hotness Scale : 3/5
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Note : Read on 2016


“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.


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.

"I conquered a kingdom and found a treasure." His voice turns gravelly low. "I won't let you go. Not now. Not ever."

So. This is my first review on 2017. A Promise of Fire was on a recommended list and as usual, because I'm a big sucker of Greek mythology, I downloaded it. From the blurb, you can see this book will be slightly different from other Greek-myth books.

What did I expect? An enjoyable read. A nice smooth ride. Maybe, just maybe, romance that will make me sigh. What did I get? A whole lot of awesomeness. Even if there are parts that just rang 'typical' and made me sigh in exasperation.

"I never know what to expect with you. Worldly cynicism or blushing innocence. It's enough to drive a man insane."

In this world, there are three realms on Thalyria. Fisa. Tarvan. Sinta. The closer you are to the North Ice Plains, the stronger your magic is. There are two kinds of people, Hoi Polloi--non-magic people--and Magoi. People with magic, Catalia 'Cat' Fisa, a Magoi, ran away from Fisa and joined a circus mastered (or mistressed?) by a Magoi who also happens to be Hades's lover. And then enters this southern warlord. He's Hoi Polloi. He doesn't have magic. He also happens to just conquered the realm of Sinta, and he's looking for a new weapon. Cat is the perfect weapon for him, since she's a Kingmaker, a woman who can detects lie and divines the truth. Not to mention, her magic is strong and she's a chosen daughter of Poseidon.

Cat doesn't want to be used. She escaped a prison for a free life, not to be caged again. Even if her captor is unbelievably gorgeous. So Cat resists Griffin's efforts with her smartass remarks and attitudes. Whoooo, does she have a boatload of attitude. Griffin's solid determination and his faith in her, however, erodes her resistance. Because Griffin sees her not only as a weapon, a Kingmaker, but also a woman he cherishes.

"My kingdom's treasure. My treasure. So glad I found you."

Being with Cat will put Griffin in harm's way--because the girl is so full of secrets about who she really is. So now it's up to Cat if she could accept Griffin and defies her mother to keep him safe. Well, not to mention, now Griffin sets his sight to conquer all three realms, which makes Cat really annoyed because she will do anything as long as she gets to live with Griffin.

Speaking of Greek mythology, Poseidon has always been my favorite. This book, fortunately, mentions him a lot. The Greek myths in this book are well written and mixed with Amanda's own brand of fantasy. She still sticks to the traditional and mainstream aspects of Greek myths, but it's different enough that I liked the story, from the very start to end. She sure can write a highly fascinating version of Greek, and I applaud her on this. The plot is not so unpredictable, however. There are scenes and parts that fell flat and just elicited an 'eh' or 'meh' from me, stuffs that I found in countless fantasy books I've read and struck me as typical.

Now talking about the characters. The only thing I disliked is Griffin's needs to manhandle Cat. There are reviews that claim Griffin is physically abusive. Errr. Not so much, in my opinion. Yes, he kidnapped her and basically roped her with a magic rope *crying in the corner* He still takes care of Cat, despite her mouthy attitude. Griffin is imperfectly perfect, he manages to be patient but determined, strong without being such a bully about it, and arrogant to a fault. And I found myself wanting to kick Cat to think clearly, not petulantly or impulsively. But, for me, her impulsiveness is one of the things that endears Cat. She's such a faceted character. One time she's so vulnerable, the other she's kicking ass. And her mouth. I hope one day she doesn't get into trouble.

Also, despite the claims that said there are too many sex scenes in this book, I disagree. I can actually count how many times they have sex in one hand, and not long scenes at that. The physical intimacy are peppered around the books, especially in the second half of the book.

I also like the secondary characters, such as the Beta Team and Griffin's family. Flynn, Kato, and Carver are not passers-by, their characters and roles are developed nicely and created an atmosphere of family.  No one is a cameo, and I just liked it. The Beta Team are a dream team!

Anyway, I enjoyed the book immensely. The setting, the characters, and occasionally the plot gave me a nice ride. And yet, the book is not flawless, so I gave A Promise of Fire only four stars. Amanda Bouchet is a promising author and I can't wait to see what she would write next. It's a nice change from con-rom, my usual genre. I've read the second book, A Breath of Fire, and I think I'm gonna review it later. Later.

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