Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on August 2nd 2016
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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.
“A Promise of Fire” surprised me from the start: a mish-mash of Greek mythology (coming to life) that functions within a fictitious land of warring factions (that can be hard to keep up with) and in it, a budding romance between the second-in-line to the throne of Sinta and a mysterious runaway woman who has found refuge and family in a circus.
Yet for all the world-building basics that have been laid out in the 400+ pages of the book, very little actually happens in the story. Cat Fisa gets taken by Griffin, who’s desperate for a Kingmaker for the Sinta throne and most of the story is this roundabout trip to Sinta city with some adventures along the way. A petulant, hostile and somewhat childish abductee who made me think she was a rebellious teenager than a twenty-something woman, Cat spends most of her time antagonising Griffin and fighting the attraction building between them.
I didn’t mind the focus on romance and less hard-core fantasy here, but I did find that a lot of it frustrated me, especially when it degenerated into the jealous ex-lover drama in the end and a huge pile of lies/secrets that Amanda Bouchet hadn’t yet revealed by the time the last page was turned. As a result, it ended unfinished and on an unsatisfactory note, with a sheen of HFN that you know is merely temporary.
It’s not a bad read at all though. The first-person narrative, the world-building and the unique take on mythology makes “A Promise of Fire” a special combination of NA/paranormal fantasy that’s definitely accessible to fans of these genres, though I can imagine hard-core fans of either or all of them might find something to complain about.