Monday, January 9, 2017

Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #2) by Amanda Bouchet

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"Cat" Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat's tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what's a girl to do when she knows it's her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.


Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world-for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin must embrace their fate together. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom...or not at all.

Source: advance e-galley provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Considering that A Promise of Fire is my favourite book of 2016 and how successful it's been, Breath of Fire has a lot to live up to. You know how it goes: you enjoy the start of a series and eagerly await the next book. If you're lucky, it meets or even exceeds your expectations. I'm happy to share that it has exceeded anything I could have hoped for!

Bouchet has us picking up where we left off in APoF with Cat and Griffin still together, Cat resigning herself to the fact that she is needed in Sinta to assist with the "smooth" transition of power of the new royal family. Knowing how things went previously, it won't be simple. There is too much ill-will about with power-hungry, opportunistic people aiming straight for them. Did I forget anything? Oh yes, Cat's homicidal mother whose maternal instincts are non-existent. Not to mention that Cat is descended from Greek gods. Those guys are complicated enough so naturally it's far worse when they're family! They're not exactly the most stable of people, amiright? 

The main struggle in BoF is Cat coming to terms with her destiny. She's kept this shameful secret to herself not wanting anyone to know that she could potentially be their ruin and downfall. How can she share such a damaging revelation when she's barely even accepted it herself? Not even with Griffin. He does sense that she's withholding something from him but reluctantly gives her the space until she's ready. At this point, Bouchet shows us how Cat has matured in allowing intimacy and friendships in her life though her screwed up childhood continues to haunt her, especially now. She feels an immense responsibility for everyone's safety and well-being resting solely on her shoulders, and guilt for anything that goes badly. The drudged up memories of her beloved sister go a long way in explaining her mental state. If anything, this entire second book feels like a "trust fall" exercise with magical creatures involved.

All the ingredients that made APoF so brilliant are in BoF. Once things start ramping up - thanks to a quest that leads them outside of the safety of Sinta - they don't stop. Relentless battles and trials swiftly reign down on Cat and crew. There's almost no break so thank goodness for the funny moments that serve as a welcome relief from the stress and action. It's nice to see that Cat and the rest of the Beta Team don't lose their humour or wicked charm. Their unwavering bond is what holds all the pages of this story together. Speaking of charm, Cat and Griffin are as on fire as ever. I love these two as a couple because they're equals in intellect, ability and passion. After being solo for so many years, Griffin offers Cat an alternate perspective that challenges her tendency towards skepticism. And their private moments speak volumes to their connection. They are the ultimate power couple. 

I happened to see this series described on Twitter as a "romantasy" and it's a perfect description. You want an epic, breathless adventure with a beautiful love story in there? You've got it right here with Breath of Fire as your next read!

~ Bel

PSSST!! ... check out the Breath of Fire Spotlight Tour. Read an exclusive excerpt, see which one of the Beta Team Hunks is your ideal match and also enter the giveaway to win 1 of 10 copies of A Promise of Fire and a signed bookplate! (Giveaway courtesy of Sourcebooks Casablanca.)

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