Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (Kingmaker Chronicles #2)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Reviewed by: Erin
What to expect: The continuation of one of the most exciting fantasy romance series I’ve read in a while. It’s like Mercedes Lackey with explicit sex and flipped gender roles. Who doesn’t want that?
SHE’S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD…
BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT
“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 warrior queen 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 risk sacrificing everything they’ve fought for. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom…or die trying.
Warning: Breath of Fire contains a scene of sexual assault that is described in detail from the victim’s POV.
This is going to be something of a quick review, not because Breath of Fire isn’t good (it is) or complex (it’s that too) but because it’s very much a second book in a trilogy. It’s hard to explain how the plot progresses without going through and describing the first book all over again, and it’s hard to talk about what happens without spoilers. Breath of Fire takes the characters we met in A Promise of Fire and takes them on a journey, both literal and figurative, setting them up for the big, explosive finale. I’m incredibly excited to see where this series is going and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book.
That said, there are some issues with the pacing. The first scene starts pretty abruptly from the end of the last book and it left me scrambling to catch up, emotionally. I’d suggest rereading the first books and going right into this one. The emotional tone and intensity felt a little out of the blue. Again, I think this book works best in the context of the trilogy, not as a standalone.
One I things I love about this book and this series is that Cat and Griffin are both badass warriors, but Cat has powers Griffin can’t dream of. She has more blood on her hands than he can imagine. She’s haunted by her past and her capacity for violence. Griffin is noble, comes from a supportive, loving family, and represents all that is good and right and worth fighting for. His role is to convince Cat that there is power in love, in family and domesticity.
…in other words, a complete 180 from most other romance novels out there. Hell, it’s a reversal of most literature out there. The only comparable relationships I can think of are Katniss and Peeta in the Hunger Games and Mako and Raleigh in Pacific Rim. Griffin’s role is as her supporter, and I am not going to get sick of that anytime soon.
Breath of FIre moves fast, with so many fantasy tropes and battle scenes, that I almost wished the book was longer, to pace it out a bit. And I never feel that way! I’m always on the side of edit, edit, edit, chuck the descriptive paragraphs, give me action, and yet with this book, it definitely feels likes something could have been cut or there could have been more thrown in. I think it’s paced like a romance, but I want it to be a bigass doorstopper fantasy book, with a romance running through it? Eh, I think this is pickiness on my part.
Pickiness or no, this series is one of the more exciting things I’ve read over the past year, and I am so excited to see it continue.
What you might not like: As stated above, there is a detailed scene of sexual assault that was very uncomfortable. You might want to give this a miss if it’s a trigger for you.
What you’ll love: A romance that flips traditional gender roles upside-down, a heroine who can rain vengeance and blood and destruction down on your head, and the sweetest bear of a hero you’ll ever meet.
Erin is a full time contributor to Binge on Books. She is a voracious reader and reviewer who has been been reading romances since she stole them from under her neighbor’s mom’s bed while she was at work. You can read all her reviews here.
Connect with Erin on Twitter: @booksandjoe