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.A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Published by Piatkus on 12th January 2017 (UK)
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
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.
Before I start, I’ve seen people online asking if A Promise of Fire is YA – it’s not. There is considerable adult content. Now that’s been addressed, let’s talk about the book.
Cat is with the circus, hiding from her old life when Griffin, Beta Sinta, finds her and well, basically kidnaps her. Her magic is powerful and Griffin realises this and recognises her for what she is – Kingmaker.
There are three nations in this tale – Sinta, Fisa and Tarva. Each has its own royal families – Betas, Gammas and Deltas who all fight one another to become Alpha. Griffin has done things a bit differently and put his sister as Alpha. He hopes that Cat will help them seal their positions in Sinta. But as you can imagine, Cat isn’t overly happy about being kidnapped!
There is much to like in this book, not least the incorporation of Greek Mythology, the depth of the world and its politics, as well as the action. However, I did have some issues with this book – namely the romance.
Okay, so it’s a fantasy romance so I should have been expecting it, but where the first half of the book was packed with action, snarkiness and sexual tension – the second part lacked these qualities. It was more about romance and quite frankly there was too much of it for me.View Spoiler »I also took issue with some of the ‘romance’ in this book. While Cat obviously vied with her feelings of attraction towards her captor, there were scenes that made me feel quite uncomfortable. The magic rope? « Hide Spoiler
However, let’s put a pin in the romance element and any issues I may have with it. The rest of the book? I loved it! I enjoyed Cat’s snarkiness and her developing relationship with Griffin’s Beta Team. There’s magic, fighting, secrets and friendships.
Quite honestly, I didn’t feel the need for so much romance when the rest of the plot was so intriguing and well built. I’m not saying NO romance, I would’ve just liked it scaled back somewhat, with fewer, erm, graphic scenes.
As a result, I’ve found it difficult to rate this book. Scale back / tone down the ‘romance’ and associated elements and I’d give it 5 stars. However, the second half of the book lost pace for me and as such this is more a 3.5 or 4 star read.
I will, however, be reading book two, Breath of Fire. The fantasy and creative element to this story has me hooked – and I’m hoping book two will be more action, politics and warfare than intimate relations!
NOTE – if you’re a UK e-reader user, you can now download Breath of Fire. I believe fans of paperbacks will have to wait until later in the year.