Breath of Fire (The Kingmaker Chronicles #2)
Sourcebooks / January 3, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital
In the highly anticipated Breath of Fire, Amanda Bouchet does not disappoint. I had really high expectations for this book. I did a happy dance and texted photos to my husband when I received it in the mail. My expectations were so high I was almost afraid to read the book for fear of being let down. But let me just reassure you: it’s different than A Promise of Fire, but it’s SO GOOD. (Capital letters necessary.)
In the first book, we met about our heroine, Cat, and our hero, Griffin. In this book, we see their relationship deepen and develop as they shed secrets and build trust. Their relationship is beautiful. In the first book it was adversarial, but now they’re a team. The relationship is still at the core of this book and it’s a good one.
Here are a few other aspects that kept me turning pages, biting my nails, and sighing happily:
Character Development, not just for the hero & heroine!
Cat is still a total badass who is afraid of being a badass. Her reactions and emotions are believable because of the deep-seated fears Bouchet has built in from early in the first book. She goes back and forth between wanting to fight to protect everyone and wanting to hide in her castle and not hurt people.
When she’s strong, she’s strong:
“’You want to want to conquer Thalyria. That includes Fisa. What do you expect me to do while you’re at it? Ignore my Dragon’s Breath? My ability to turn invisible? To detect lies? To steal magic? Sit on my knowledge of creatures and royals and Oracles? Play with my knives instead of using them? Just wait for you?”’
When she’s afraid, she stronger:
“Does he think I’m not afraid? I’m terrified. Constantly. I just do things anyway and hope for the best. Admittedly, that’s not always the best strategy, but sometimes there really isn’t much choice.”
Beta Team (Griffin’s team of warriors)
Beta Team gets a lot of development in this book. We knew in the first book that they were strong and funny and sometimes flirty, but in this book we learn their weaknesses and motivations. It’s part of the team- and world-building that Bouchet employs as moves parts of the greater machine. If you like fantasy but are sometimes overwhelmed by a huge cast (Game of Thrones), this is a very well done form of cast development. Characters are introduced at a slow enough pace to allow the reader to care about them and at a quick enough pace to keep the story going and build intensity.
Oh, Griffin. He’s not a book boyfriend. He’s a book husband. He’s got the three S’s (strong, smart, sexy) and he’s also kind and becoming rather a feminist. Because of Cat, he’s learning to support the women he loves rather than shelter them and that is a powerful thing. I think we all need a Griffin in our lives to help us kill a monster and then have his way with us against a rock in a hot spring. Yeah? Yeah.
Monsters, Gods, and Magic!
SO MANY MONSTERS. If you like Greek mythology, you’ll like this book. If you like weird monsters and reading about characters coming up with new ways to defeat them, you’ll like this book. If you want a 28 page battle scene to start your book off (after an explosively hot sex scene), you’ll like this book. If you want to see just how many times Cat can almost die to be saved last minute by one of the Gods cheering her on, you’ll like this book. While reading, I said to my husband “it’s kind of like deus ex machina, the way the gods help her.” His response was “no, it’s just deus.” I don’t know how it doesn’t feel like cheating. Maybe because Cat gets the snot beaten out of her so thoroughly that by the time she doesn’t die, you don’t feel cheated out of a good fight.
Unexpected Twists, Allies from Unusual Places, and So Much Foreshadowing!
I’m not going to elaborate here because well… Go read the book.
In summary, this book is the sequel we wanted and needed. If you want a story about a powerful woman, her supportive and equally powerful man, and a team of well-developed characters facing all manner of monsters and challenges, this is the book for you.
Read it and rejoice.
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet, available January 3, 2017:
H&H Editor Picks:
When not reading All of the Things, Suzanne is raising two small valkyries and trying to open a bookstore. Book, comic, and assorted other tweets at@suzannekrohn.