Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Breath of Fire by Amanda BouchetBreath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Series: #1 The Kingmaker Chronicles
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on January 3, 2017
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Buy: Amazon
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A blend of Greek myth and original fantasy romance makes this series a tasty treat.  The Kingmaker Chronicles launched hard and fast with the first book and I had high hopes for more gritty adventure and sparkling character interactions with Breath of Fire, the second leg of the story and I indeed got that.

At this point, I would caution anyone who wishes to read the series that it might be best to skip my review until after reading the first book as there will be some series spoilers involved in discussing this second installment which really shouldn’t be read out of order.

Breath of Fire leaps right back into the fray of Cat and Griffin’s tempestuous courtship when Griffin discovers the truth about Cat’s identity as the Lost Princess.  She fears her dishonesty might have pushed him too far on top of learning that the neighboring kingdom of Tarva has designs on conquering their own.  Cat and Griffin decide on a bold plan to defend Sinta so their Beta patrol group heads out on a quest to acquire the perfect border defense.  Their journey is fraught with danger as is the test the gods put to them.  Even more truths become known as the group learns more about themselves and each other.  Cat is terrified that each new revelation will be enough to drive Griffin away and he is strained, but mostly trying to keep her impulsiveness and lack of trust in check.

And then the real danger confronts them…

Wow, this one did not let up.  The action was palpable and had me holding my breath and flying through the pages as did the tension caused by Cat and Griffin’s circumstances and relationship.  More reveals and I could see how this one was like a chess game moving players into position for the end of the game.  The gods favor Cat and their group, but yet even their interference barely keeps them alive and pushing forward with the goal of uniting the warring kingdoms.

Those who read my review of book one, A Promise of Fire, know that I was somewhat on the fence about Cat because her behavior and personality felt younger than she really was.  This feeling continued and even grew stronger which made the abundance of sexy time feel weird to a certain extent.  Cat is more impulsive and pulls a lot of stubborn-stupids in this one.  She’s lucky more than right which I guess isn’t a big deal except others are affected by her choices, too.  The redeeming factor is that Cat is self-aware and learns from her mistakes.  There is also a reveal at the end that shows there is a valid reason for a great deal of Cat’s behavior and forced me to re-assess and lose some of my ambivalence toward her character.

As to Griffin and the others of their family and friends group, they are solid secondary characters.  Each has their own backstory and ongoing plot thread that weaves around Cat who is the focal point.  I love the cast of characters the author has assembled to go on adventures and journeys with Cat.  They work together as a team and they work as a motley crew of underdog friends.

The villains and conflict set against Cat and the others is powerful and tough so that there were no easy wins.  This series relies on the Deus Ex Machina literary device (a god or god figure introduced into a story to resolve the conflict) which generally is a no-no, but I actually thought it worked fabulously with this story in particular.  I think this is because the author doesn’t try to sneak it in just to cover a weak moment in the plot, but the reader knows all along as does Cat that she’s got big-time back-up when things go awry.  I grew to highly anticipate the danger moments just to see what the watching gods would do to aid Cat.

Cat and Griffin’s tested and tried relationship deepens.  I felt that there were probably more sex scenes than necessary particularly under the circumstances, but there were also pivotal moments when they make the choice to hold together and be a couple.  Cat wants to pull away and spare Griffin just as he wants to keep her out of danger, but both know deep down that they must push forward together.  There are changes in this one and I appreciated how strong and courageous Griffin had to be to not just fight, but sometimes to stand strong and let Cat fight and go it without him.  He stood beside her when the time came for her call the shots.

In the end, I am left well-satisfied with this installment and waiting (im)patiently for the next part of the Kingmaker Chronicles story.  Fantasy Romance fans who like spice and strong action really need to pick up this book/series.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Debbie Haupt

    hmm, well I took your advice and skipped the review because this series in on my want to read list. 🙂 Happy Monday!

    • Yeah, I want everyone to experience it with all the surprises intact. Look forward to your thoughts on the series, Debbie.

  • I really enjoyed this too, it wasn’t as strong as book one, and a couple of things bothered me..but I cannot wait for the next book

    • Yes, I thought book one was stronger as well and had some botherations, but like you, I need book three. 🙂

  • oh had a blast with this one as well!!! It was pretty packed with action wasn’t it? I definitely was breezing through the pages on this one.

    • Yeah, it puts a thriller to shame with all the action. 🙂 Definitely a fast read and left me ready for the next installment.

  • I agree that she comes across as younger. I totally forgot that she’s like 6 until she said so in this book. I love her personality for the most part though.

    • Yeah, the age thing kept throwing me off, but for the most part I was really into the story. It was non-stop. 🙂

  • It feels like I’ve been seeing this book everywhere lately with it’s pretty cover. And everyone seems to enjoy this one too. Makes me curious about it. It sounds like a good sequel. Those reveals and tension sounds well done. And I like the sound of the characters and how they closely work together as a team. Nice to hear the romance continues in this book and their relationship deepens. Great review!

    • I’ll bet. I know that I’ve seen it on four other blogs that I visit. I think a fantasy adventure romance is a popular one for people and the particular characters and adventure chosen for this series really appeals to a lot of folks.

      The romance took a while to come together, but yes, it’s pretty solid in this book.

  • I saw different reviews about this one but I’m happy to see that you had a good time! I have the first book but I still need to read it

    • Yes, there will be things in this one that might cause some trouble, but overall it was still good for me. I really liked book one much better.

  • RO

    Your review is great, and I love the cover. I probably wouldn’t pick this one up because it is a series, which I’ve been staying away from lately. Also, for some reason, I’ve been finding that I do much better with fantasy stories on the big screen. Hugs…

    • Thanks, Ro!

      There is a certain amount of commitment involved when one gets vested in a new series so I understand about the preference for standalones. I love seeing fantasy stories on the big screen. Sci-fi, too.

  • Thanks for the warning because I was about to be spoiled. I’m currently #3 in line for the first book on Overdrive, so I hope to read it soon, and get to this one. I forgot I even had the ARC, and I had planned to get the first book soon afterwards, but I’ve forgotten a lot of stuff that I was supposedto do back in 2016.

    • Yes, I do try not to spoiler in my reviews, but this one jumps right in off the other so it would have been impossible to summarize without hinting broadly of what went down in the first book.

      Oh good, you’re close on your turn for it. The first book is the better of the two in my opinion so I look forward to getting your thoughts on it.

      Ha! Yes, what is it about entering a new year and forgetting stuff that happened even a month ago. 🙂

  • I really enjoyed the first book. I’ve heard mixed reviews for this one. I’ve requested it for audio review. I hope I enjoy it as much as you did.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    • Yeah, the first one was my fav of the two. This one was troublesome with the heroine and the amount of sex scenes I think, but there was still a lot of stronger good stuff to carry it for me.