Author: Amanda Bouchet
Genre: fantasy, romance
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Published: August 2016
Source: ARC from NetGalley
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.
2.75-3 stars because there was some A Promise of Fire that worked really well both in a fantasy sense and in a romance sense, but there were was just as much that fell flat, was too rushed, or was left too open-ended.
This has some really creative aspects to it especially when it comes to the worldbuilding, but Cat and Griffin's relationship is problematic afffffff and kept me from really feelings the feels or shipping the ship. I liked each of them individually, though they bothfell very very close to expected romance stereotypes, just in a fantasy setting. But speaking of problematic: I wanted more outright consent on Cat's part when it came to their interactions. I understand she's a feisty and fiercely independent character but the imbalance of power between her and Griffin dampens any spark they create.
My issues with the main two characters aside, I readily admit to adoring the secondary characters Bouchet has accompany her mage and her hero. Kato and Carver and Flynn are great foils and companions for both and challenge each in different ways. I did wish for more present, active female characters for Cat to interact with because this is a very male-dominated story. Griffin's family comes into play later in the story, but none of those late-in-the-game faces add much to the plot or relationships established.
A Promise of Fire was an uneven start for the series, but good enough to pique my interest and curiosity for the forthcoming sequel. The idea behind the novel was intriguing and if the execution was imperfect, it still kept me reading and invested in the characters and the resolution.