Review (and Squawk): A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Posted December 21, 2016 by Jessica in Fantasy romance, Jessica, Reviews / 6 Comments

Review (and Squawk): A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published on: August 2 2016
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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“Cat” Catalia Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods—and her homicidal mother—have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.
Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm—until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.

This book . . . *shakes head*

I received an ARC of A PROMISE OF FIRE early in the year, and I was excited about it too, b/c fantasy romance, I love it. And it’s rare. So new author, new series, hell yes, I will board that train.

Then I started reading it.

Two things:

1. First person, present tense. Which I HATE. It’s my least favorite perspective to read from.

2. Poseidon. What in the Sam Hill is Poseidon doing in a fantasy world, I ask you? Hmm??

The second is admittedly one of my weird quirks that probably won’t bother the rest of you, but it irks the fire out of me when real world people or religions (or, you know, other stuff) show up in high fantasy and/or make believe worlds. You can have Middle Earth or you can have Hinduism, and never the twain shall meet. #jessicasrules

Borrowing a real world religion is the tactic of a lazy author to avoid creating her own. Also, it breaks continuity.

Long story short, I DNF-ed it at probably less than 5% and hadn’t thought about it since . . . Until the Best Books of 2016 lists start coming out, and it’s on like four of them.

So I’m like . . . Okaaaaay . . . Did I give up too soon, or is the majority cray?

It’s somewhere in the middle, I think.

But it’s complicated.

Bouchet has created in her heroine, a womanchild who is occasionally hilarious, frequently courageous, and repeatedly irritating—Cat is as stubborn as she is inconstant.

Think about that for a second. Stubborn . . . yet inconstant.

If I’d encountered that description pre-Cat, I’d have been at a loss to imagine what it looks like. BUT. This is post-Cat, so it’s not a problem.



Context: I’LL NEVER TELL!!

Three pages later:


Context: I will tell you ALL THE THINGS! B/c ANGRY! Even though it’s dangerous for me to do so! *hiss* *spit*

This happens A LOT.


Unsurprisingly, the source of much of Cat’s inconsistency is her immaturity. By the midway point, Griffin (who is NOT a manboy, no siree, he is all MAN), has kissed her either two or three times, and each time she’s swooned, until she “comes to her senses,” which entails violence in the form or hitting or kicking, followed by angry exclamations of “Yuck!” or “Gross!”

Don’t believe me?


And that’s only the beginning of Cat’s juvenile behavior.

The trouble is that she’s also entertaining as hell. And the plot, once I got past the presence of the Greek pantheon, is equally entertaining.

That being said, no one will be surprised that this is Bouchet’s first novel. Her non-magic population is called the “Hoi Polloi.” YES, as in the unwashed masses, and she needs to embrace her genre for what it is—when someone narrows their eyes, it is not an “ocular threat” (*rolls eyes*). BUT. She shows clear promise, and I’m interested to see where the next installment takes us.

SO. Not really comfortable making a recommendation just yet . . . Do what you will. *shrugs awkwardly*

Kingmaker Chronicles:

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My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.



6 responses to “Review (and Squawk): A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

  1. The short version of my review was “It was the fact he basically kidnapped her and threatened her friends if she resisted. Then add to the fact she was tied to him with no chance of escape, it extols the virtues of kidnapping and makes me think of Stockholm Syndrome since falling for the person who has complete control of you 24/7 is more akin to mental abuse than romance IMHO ”

    I gave it 3 Stars because the plot IS very good but you need to read the teaser for book 2 and see if it makes you as crazy as it did me. The author seems to love abused spouses it seems to me.

  2. You are so cool! I don’t believe I have read something like that before.
    So good to find somebody with some original thoughts on this topic.
    Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This site
    is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality!
    Johnnie recently posted…Johnnie

  3. The only thing that was going really well for this book were fight scenes. She rocked them! Book two is worse, though. I am definitely not continuing with the series after barely finishing it.