Author: Amanda Bouchet
Genre: fantasy, romance
Series: The Kingmaker Chronicles #2
Published: expected January 3rd 2017
Source: publishers via NetGalley
SHE'S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD...
"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.
BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT
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.
Female-fronted fantasy series are somewhat hard to come by which is why I am sad to admit that after two books I don't think I will be continuing Amanda Bouchet's Kingmaker Chronicles trilogy. There things that these two books have done rather well (the creative world is one, and the great secondary characters are another) but there are more misses than hits for me with Cat and Griffin's plotlines. Like A Promise of Fire before it earlier this year, Breath of Fire is just as much a romance novel as it is a fantasy story. And also like with the first book, the relationship and power dynamics between the two love interests are major issues for me.
I think with the large, on-going issues with the core relationship at the heart of the trilogy.... I am done with this series. I personally am a fan of romance novels but the alpha male trope has never been a favorite for me, nor has it ever created a relationship I could invest in or care about. For two books running, Griffin has been a prime example of why this trope is problematic, at the very least. There are things to like about the character, but his proprietary, I-know-best attitude towards Cat and his anger issues (destroying their room over an OBVIOUS lie? For real?) makes him unpalatable for a love interest. I tried, for two books, and waited for an arc or personal growth for him but it looks like it's going to keep more of the same until the end.
Though I won't be continuing with the third and last book of the series, Heart of Fire, there were several elements of this story that kept me engaged and entertained. Like I noted in my review for book one way back in September, the secondary characters Bouchet has created are lively, fun, and well-drawn. Griffin's warband remains the favorites, though there are more family members of both genders emerging as players in the game. Cat remains a decent protagonist, for all that her plotlines are often quite predictable. Her story is central to the plot of all three books, but it's not the most inventive for anyone who's read more than a few fantasy books.
A fantasy-romance that never quite found solid footing, the Kingmaker Chronicles has had good bones and ideas in its so-far two books. The execution was too full of troublesome and outdated tropes for me, but readers who enjoy alpha male love interests might have a better experience.