This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
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.
♥ Quick Thoughts and Rating: Actual rating of 4.5 stars! I was excited about this book long before my friends gave it such high praise, and even with my expectations hovering somewhere near the ceiling, Bouchet only met them and then easily surpassed them as well.
A Promise of Fire had action from beginning to end, an intriguing plot that played beautifully front and center as well as wonderfully secondary to a crazy intense romance that had me glued to its progress from page one. All along the way, I was stuck in a weird limbo of following the natural pace of the book, racing along, and trying to slow down so that I could savor each word just a little longer. There’s no denying how much I really liked this book—probably even really loved since I’m still trying to navigate and digest my feelings about it—and I absolutely cannot wait for more.
♥ Review: This book was a spectacular debut! I knew from early reviews of people I trust on Goodreads that this novel was going to be something special. Even still, I think I was surprised by how quickly the author managed to make me fall in love with it, especially considering that typically when there’s so many great reviews for any one novel, my hackles immediately go up because I fear I’ll be the lone wolf to hate it. Well, A Promise of Fire proved those fears to be unwarranted, and only assured that I’ll be greatly anticipating the rest of the books in the series. (Seriously, is it possible to get my hands on the next book today?)
Easily, the shining stars of this novel are the characters Bouchet introduces us to in the beginning and the way she develops the relationships between them as the novel progresses. Whether it be Cat and the people of the circus she travels with or Griffin and his Beta team or his family or even the people of the Thalyrian realm and the Greek gods/goddesses sprinkled throughout, each person leaped directly out of the book and became real to me. The author does a magnificent job of making each character a presence on the page, and as the story moves along and their character development deepens and the relationships the form strengthens, I was only kept more engaged and grew even greedier. It would take me forever to go into specifics on each individual character and why I loved them so much, so I’ll stick to our main characters and say that a majority of the secondary characters felt like so much more than that, so much so that their depth of personalities and the importance of their roles in the main characters lives as well as their roles in the storyline made them feel significantly more like a main character right alongside Cat and Griffin. Speaking of our dynamic duo, I couldn’t have loved them any more than I already do. Cat is a bossy, snarky badass, but the author does a wonderful job of showing the vulnerability she keeps tucked below the surface because of her violent upbringing, which makes the complexity of her character very interesting. Equally her match in every way, Griffin is a stubborn, overbearing warlord with an intensity and loyalty that kept me increasingly eager to know more about him. Because they’re so alike and yet vastly different, they butt heads like you wouldn’t believe, but I’m sure you could easily imagine. The verbal volley between them made their connection spark early and gain momentum—and heat—more and more after each page. Their romance is definitely a slow-mover, but that doesn’t mean it won’t make you burn the entire time. Truth be told, there were several instances that I thought surely I was going to combust from the amount of sexual tension between them. Griffin made it clear from early on that he wanted Cat, but because of her past, she’s slow to give in and trust him, which was both a hinderance to their overall romantic arc and a chemistry fire-starter for the pages in-between. However, once she finally gave in, the more intimate moments is what absolutely pushed this novel beyond my YA-line and straight into New Adult territory, even though the characters ages should have been the first indicator. So, just as a forewarning and absolutely something that didn’t bother me at all,
WOOHOO SEX! there is sex in this novel that definitely has more explicit details. (And thank goodness for it, too! If there was any more UST- unsatisfied sexual tension- in this novel, I would’ve haunted the author after she choked me to death with it.)
There are three minor things that really kept me from giving this novel a full even five stars and almost had me rounding down to four, though I rounded up because I simply couldn’t set aside my feelings of complete enjoyment as I read along. The first of those issues is that while the world-building bones are very present and I appreciated that the author didn’t info-dump massive amounts of backstory and world development, there were still holes about the world that I really wanted to have filled in. There’s so much room for expansion on the politics between the three Thalyrian countries and how they’re governed, the Greek mythology and its presence in the story, as well as Cat’s biological family and the “plot twist” of who she really is—which is strongly hinted at throughout and easily decipherable, but never revealed to other key players like Griffin—that I’m interested to know about and even more eager to see how Ms. Bouchet presents in future installments. My second major complaint with the novel is Cat being twenty-three, but coming across a lot younger at times which affected other events in the story, like her relationship progression with Griffin. I won’t begrudge her this too much because I know it’s a direct reflection of the life she was brought up in, but I will admit that it became a little taxing after a certain extent. My final little issue is repetitive words/phrases. I don’t need you to whip out a thesaurus, but when certain phrases or words are used over and over again, to the point that I really notice it, I get a little aggravated. Sadly, there were many instances where select expressions or exclamations, particularly in Cat’s inner monologue, had me sighing heavily from overuse. That said, it’s probably something other people would be able to easily ignore, but I can’t say that it didn’t influence my review rating just a bit.
Overall, I truly enjoyed this book and the wild adventure that it took me on, and I didn’t even cover all the other magnificent elements of this story, like an abundance of diversified magic and dragons! It was one of those novels that I found myself easily mesmerized with and that fascination only heightened the more I learned about the characters and the world. The verbal sparring between Cat and other characters, especially the equally witty Beta Team, had me laughing quite literally in real life on several occasions, and books that make me cackle usually end up being favorites, which is unquestionably the case here. A Promise of Fire kept me on the edge of my seat and had me craving to get back to the pages when I had to step away for real life (like socializing, ugh why do people feel the need to interrupt my reading immersion!?). I absolutely will be stalking this author (in a non-creepy, perfectly acceptable manner) and the sequel so that I can pounce as soon as it’s available.
♥ Teaser Quote: One of my favorite things about this novel is the hilarious, yet sharp tongue of our heroine, Cat. She has great repartee with our hero and his band of friends that had me cackling out loud many times. Also, because I couldn’t decide on just one, you get two!
“What are you doing?” I demand.
“They’re following us. See the smoke?” He points at something that looks like a cloud. “I’m going to investigate.”
He smiles faintly, angling his body toward mine. His warmth burns a flush into my cheeks. “Worried about me?” he asks.
“What? No! I hope you die.”
-quote taken from the eARC of A Promise of Fire at 14%
His eyes drop to my chin again. “You handled that hit well. Like a man.”
“Is that supposed to be a compliment? The last thing I want is to be hairy and stupid.”
-quote taken from the eARC of A Promise of Fire at 13%
|Book Rating Breakdown|
|General Book Feels|
|Dirty Talk Ability|
|Brooding level of the hero|
♥ Rec It? Absolutely, especially if you love mythology and a good fantasy-lite story! A Promise of Fire left off in a good, natural stopping point, but that doesn’t mean that I’m any less eager to get my hands on the next installment. As a reader, you just know there’s still so much more to come and I can’t wait to see what adventure this author has in store for us next.
♥ A very special thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this title.
*Disclaimer: An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley invite in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.
Full of giggles, flails, snark and Southern endearments. Avid Reader. Lover of swoony boys, kickass heroines, yummy kissing scenes, and pretty prose.
I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥
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